Evelyn Johnson, professor of special education and executive director of the Lee Pesky Learning Center, has been awarded a Fulbright grant to implement a program called ‘Every Child Ready to Learn’ in Doha, Qatar, this spring. The program was developed at the Lee Pesky Learning Center in Boise.
With Johnson’s assistance and funds provided by the Fulbright grant, experts at Qatar University in Doha will lay the foundation for translating the program to Arabic. Johnson will also teach in Qatar University’s special education and teacher preparation programs.
“The goal is to better understand how literacy in Arabic develops and how it is best taught to children at risk for poor literacy outcomes,” said Johnson. “With the increase in Arabic speaking people coming to Idaho, it will be so important to have education programs that meet the needs of families and children.”
According to Johnson, estimates of reading disability in Qatar are high, ranging from 18-30 percent, with a significantly higher percentage of women experiencing reading disabilities. “If we can begin literacy intervention early, we can address some of these issues,” Johnson said.
The ECRL program is already in use by English- and Spanish-speaking students in Idaho; Arabic will be the third language.