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IRA Member Helps Make Strides in Mexican Literacy Education

by Sara Long
 | Oct 28, 2013
Joy Koller
Joy Koller

Based on her experience in literacy education, International Reading Association (IRA) member Joy Koller was recently appointed the official liaison and project director for all activities related to the Little Learners Initiative in Mexico (LLI-MEXICO), a collaboration of the Early Education for Every Child Foundation (EEECF) and JkGlobal Connections. Koller and Helene and Victor Alihaud of UniverMaya worked together to build and coordinate LLI-MEXICO.

The Little Learner Initiative (LLI) is a global campaign to empower schools and teachers with the tools needed to provide children with high quality early education, irrespective of their socio-economic status, language ability, or geographical location. The LLI is made possible through generous ongoing grants of early learning programs and curricula by BrillKids Inc. EEECF will offer their English Little Readers Software programs, a premade English curriculum, to young learners in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico.

LLI MexicoThe theoretical framework of LLI-MEXICO grew from discussions regarding the state’s initiatives to improve Early Education Development (ECD) and the need to provide and implement quality English programs in the basic public education sector. One of the goals of the State of Quintana Roo, Mexico is making ECD a priority in public policies’ social development. The state achieved considerable progress on issues of care for vulnerable children with the implementation of the Mission Girls – Children 2011 program. Specific objectives are now in place to build and adapt spaces for the ECD program over the next six years. The new Integrated Early Childhood Centers will offer an innovative approach with the design and construction of the necessary infrastructure and the implementation of programs of teaching and pedagogy.

Koller and her colleagues recognize that several local public schools continue to struggle with a lack of resources, materials, funding, and implementation of quality English programs, so building on the state’s initiatives, they launched LLI-MEXICO in the Mayan City of Coba in the fall of 2012. Their goal is to make a difference in early education and English literacy development by providing innovative curriculum and learning opportunities to our young learners. Their objectives are:

  • To offer literacy programs for young English language learners using a proven, systematic, premade English reading instructional software program.
  • To provide teachers with an opportunity to observe the learning outcomes of research-based reading instruction.

Their hope is to empower schools, teachers, parents, and leaders in educational policy with the knowledge and tools needed to encourage early learning and English literacy instruction.

“We are passionate people, educators with a proven program that expands early learning services by providing access to an innovative English curriculum,” says Koller. “Providing a chance for our children to succeed in life and school is our only motivation and this drives our desire to launch strategic alliances with foundations and sponsors to enable the growth of this program for children from low-income communities in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. We are committed to the success of this program because we know it can change lives and we know that the growth of a child can help change the world.”

LLI Mexico

For more information on LLI-MEXICO and sponsorship grants for the basic Little Reader Kit visit

This article was orginally published in the April/May 2013 issue of Reading Today. IRA members can read the interactive digital version of the magazine here. Nonmembers: join today!

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