In belated recognition of International Literacy Day (September 8, 2017), we would like to tell you about SIL LEAD’s involvement in the Ghana Partnership for Education: Learning. Learning is part of the USAID Partnership for Education project. This project supports the early grade reading and literacy improvement activities implemented by the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service. Through this project, the work of SIL LEAD consultants may benefit over one million children and 30,000 teachers in eleven different local languages.

Earlier this year, seven SIL LEAD consultants led a 9-week materials development workshop in Tamale, Ghana. This workshop focused on the development of Kindergarten (KG2) Term 1 and Grade 1 (P1) Term 1 reading instructional materials comparable to materials developed during the Dagbani reading prototype. These materials were developed in 11 official Ghanaian languages and will be used in a national scale-up prototype program. The workshop included 44 mother-tongue authors, eleven illustrators, seven SIL LEAD reading consultants, and five experts from Ghanaian partner organization GILLBT. We are pleased to report that the workshop was very successful and that the materials development goals were accomplished.

Hard at work in Tamale, Ghana

Hard at work in Tamale, Ghana

A second 9-week workshop is now underway in Tamale and another will be held in early 2018. During these workshops, SIL LEAD consultants will facilitate the development of the remaining pupil and teacher materials for KG2, P1, and Grade 2 (P2). In addition to scripted lessons, new pupil books (including both decodable and leveled texts and exercises) and supplemental teaching and learning materials will be developed.

In other news related to this project, the first ever Spelling Bee in a local Ghanaian language was held in July. Competitions among 20 schools prior to the Spelling Bee resulted in 77 children qualifying to compete. These top spellers gathered in the town of Yendi and competed in 11 rounds to determine a winner, runner-up, and a third place winner. Prior to the start of this project, Dagbani children could not sound out more than three letters in a minute. During the Spelling Bee they were asked to spell four to eight syllable words. Now that is progress!

To learn more about this project please see:

Dagbani Prototype Brochure
Ghana Learning Brochure

You can also watch the video below to learn about the Dagbani language pilot project which served as the basis for the materials currently being developed.

AuthorChris Weber
Bloom training workshop in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Bloom training workshop in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

SIL International’s innovative Bloom software eases the process of bookmaking so that more people can participate – if you can type on a computer, you can create a book in Bloom.

Bloom users can create an original text or select a template, called a “shell book,” and insert culturally appropriate pictures and local translations of text. The books created can then be saved as a PDF and distributed in printed or electronic form.  It is also possible to use Bloom to create EPUBs and “talking books.”

SIL has been developing and using Bloom since 2011. For the All Children Reading Enabling Writers competition, SIL added features to let Bloom users create decodable texts and leveled readers. Literacy specialists can create “Reader Templates” that help writers create texts for specific languages that are decodable at various stages of learning and conform to leveling guidelines.

SIL International has also created 31 Bloom Training videos.  The videos are narrated in English but subtitles are currently available in Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia, Bangla, English, and Swahili.  For example, Why Bloom is a 10-minute video which explains the role Bloom software can play in aiding literacy development. It also gives an overview of the key features of Bloom.

Click on the screenshot above to watch this video on YouTube. Once the video is playing, click on the gear icon to enable subtitles and/or to change the subtitle language.

Click on the screenshot above to watch this video on YouTube. Once the video is playing, click on the gear icon to enable subtitles and/or to change the subtitle language.

Bloom Subtitle Languages.jpg

Additional videos can be viewed on either Vimeo or YouTube.


  • Bloom has been launched on Internet-connected computers more than 100,000 times in 117 countries, with a high of more than 12,000 times in one month alone.
  • Of those 117 countries, Bloom was launched more than 1,000 times in 10 different countries (USA, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Cameroon, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Haiti, Bangladesh, Nigeria) and more than 300 times in an additional 10 countries (India, Kenya, Mexico, Australia, Senegal, Chad, Nepal, China, Burkina Faso, Mali).
  • currently contains 1,211 books (as of August 29, 2017) and new books are being added all the time.  The library currently contains books in 86 languages.
  • The USAID-funded Enabling Writers Workshop Program with awardees in Bangladesh, Haiti, Indonesia, Nepal, Nigeria, and the Philippines will result in about 3,000 books being added to in 15 languages.

SIL LEAD conducts Bloom training workshops as one of the services it offers.  A Bloom training workshop can be held on its own or in combination with a SynPhony training workshop.

SIL LEAD also offers a Bloom Trainer Certification program.

Veteran and aspiring Bloom users are invited to join SIL LEAD's Bloom User Group (BUG) on Facebook.

Please contact us for more information.

Certified Bloom Trainer 2.jpg
AuthorChris Weber
Enabling Writers authors in the Philippines.

Enabling Writers authors in the Philippines.

SIL LEAD has assisted the Enabling Writers Workshop Program through the provision of Bloom training workshops, Bloom Trainer certification and support, and through the localization of Bloom software and training videos.  It is wonderful to see the amazing progress being made by this program! Please read the following article from our friends at the Global Reading Network, reproduced here with their permission.

Succeeding months ahead of schedule, local authors in five countries working with the Enabling Writers Workshop Program (EW) have created nearly 2,000 different books for children in grades 1, 2 and 3. Written in the language the youngsters hear at home and illustrated with culturally sensitive imagery, the titles are being field tested for use in schools and under review for adoption by the Ministries of Education in the Philippines, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Indonesia, and Haiti. Negotiations for a sixth project in Kiswahili/Kenya have been put on pause over budgetary limitations.

Funded by All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development (ACR GCD)-a partnership of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)World Vision and the Australian Government-the Enabling Writers Workshop Program supports the Global Book Alliance's goal to transform book development, procurement and distribution to ensure that no child is without books. The objectives of the program are to develop substantial sets of high-quality decodable and leveled books for adoption by ministries of education and use by schools in developing countries, develop sustainability for local capacity to continue creating quality decodable and leveled books beyond the scope of the funded project, and to produce a large set of quality books, using the Bloom book-writing software, for sharing via the Global Digital Library and other online e-book access points.

Participants in the Enabling Writers workshop in Bangladesh display their creations.

Participants in the Enabling Writers workshop in Bangladesh display their creations.

AuthorChris Weber

An interview by Malynda Tamang

Ms. Ruth Munguti has begun the process of becoming one of SIL LEAD's first Certified Bloom Trainers. We would like to introduce her and let her tell you why she is passionate about Bloom training.

Ruth working at the recent Mozambique Bloom training event, which she facilitated.

Ruth working at the recent Mozambique Bloom training event, which she facilitated.

Ruth: I was born and brought up in Machakos County in the Eastern part of Kenya. Having lost my father at the age of 9, I grew up with normal struggles like many other children. After my secondary education, I came to the city (Nairobi) and worked in the informal sector for three years.  It was during that time that one of my employers identified my talents and paid for me to pursue a diploma in Information Technology and Management. This was a two-year program and it was what opened my doors to formal employment. My first formal job was with the National Museums of Kenya (NMK), where my primary duties were to create and manage Access databases. I was involved in training staff in computer applications and created websites for one of the departments.

After two years with NMK, I got a job with SIL as an Administrative Assistant in the Project Management Office where I continued to use Access database for SIL Africa Area projects. I have worked in this department since 2002 in various capacities and am now the Project Funding Coordinator for SIL Africa Area. Besides my Project Funding role, I work as the Finance Officer for the SIL Advocacy and Alliance Building (AAB) department. I am also involved in mother-tongue materials development. While working with SIL, I completed my Bachelor of Commerce degree in Accounting/Business Administration and Management and an M.A degree in Project Planning and Management.


I am married with three children, Imani (9.5 years), Baraka (7 years) and Fadhili (5 years).

Malynda: Why did you want to become certified as a Bloom Trainer?
Ruth: I have a keen interest in technology and capacity building and therefore like taking such opportunities. Having worked with Bloom before, I want to train others to use it, to enable them to produce more books for learners.  I want to take part in giving the learners the tools that will enable them to become more competent.

Malynda: What do you value most about Bloom?
Ruth: Its simplicity and availability to those who would like to make use of it. The books available in Bloom that can be downloaded for children to read as well as to be translated into other languages.

Malynda: What sort of difference do you see Bloom making?
Ruth: There are writers, young and old, who have stories written or memorized. They do not know how to get these stories to a wider audience. Bloom allows them to make these stories into books and gives them the opportunity to publish them to the Bloom Library. They can also print them out for distribution. After a Bloom training workshop that I led in Mozambique, one of the participants said, “Now I can make my own books!”

Malynda: How did the Bloom Trainer Certification process help you?
Ruth: I learned more about Bloom as I went through the certification process. There were certain aspects that I didn’t know, I had the opportunity to ask and get the answers on how to do things I wasn’t familiar with.

Malynda: How do you feel about the Bloom Trainer Certification process?
Ruth: It is important to master our skills before we start training others. When we go out to train, it is necessary to have the answers to the questions that the learners will ask. The certification process really helps equip us for the task.

Malynda: Who do you anticipate training to use Bloom?
Ruth: A number of the staff in AAB are interested in learning Bloom. I would be glad to train any other groups that have an interest in learning Bloom and using it. Bloom has been gaining popularity and it is my hope that more training opportunities will come up.

Malynda: Tell us about some exciting ideas you have about how Bloom can be used in your context.
Ruth: A few years back AAB conducted research in a number of schools in the Eastern Region of Kenya. The purpose was to find out how some Mother Tongue (MT) books were being utilised in the schools. We also wanted to asses the impact on student reading competencies.  We observed that in most of the schools that we visited, the MT books were primarily what was available for the children to practice reading.  There were few other books available, except for curriculum books. Children who had continuous exposure to MT books were gaining fluency in reading. However, most children lacked reading competency. Part of the reason for this was that they did not have enough reading materials to practice reading. Bloom is a resource that can be used in such contexts to allow children and literacy workers to write books, print them, and make them available for reading. Books available in the online Bloom Book Library can also be printed and used by these children. Community authors and literacy workers can also use Bloom to come up with simple multilingual vocabulary books for use in their communities.

Malynda:  Thank you, Ruth.  Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Ruth: I am grateful for the privilege to be part of the Bloom training team. Having gone through the certification process, I look forward to participating in future trainings and to pass on the knowledge to others.  

If you are interested in participating in the Bloom Trainer Certification, contact us at