In 2018, Results for Development (R4D) conducted a series of interviews with organizations working across the literacy space to understand gaps and needs with regards to measurement in literacy programs. The organizations consulted included governments, multilaterals, NGOs, and funders, working from pre-literacy to adult literacy, and across the globe.

One of the key themes that came out of the consultations was a need to expand the discussion around measurement in literacy programs with a more holistic focus.  The stakeholders we spoke with indicated a genuine interest in being able to better measure progress in establishing behaviors and supportive environments that enable reading, a holistic approach to measurement.

The idea for this framework came out this finding, and was developed during 2019 with the help of a steering committee of individuals from leading literacy organizations. Additional organizations and individuals across the literacy space provided feedback and inputs. The development of this framework was supported by Pearson as part of its Project Literacy campaign.

Our Definition
of Literacy

Reading literacy is defined by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) as "understanding, using, reflecting on and engaging with written texts, in order to achieve one’s goals, develop one’s knowledge and potential, and participate in society (1)."  The framework emphasizes the understanding, use and reflection components of literacy-- the ability to understand and make use of what one reads. It touches on speaking and writing as well, given their interconnectedness with reading literacy, but does not include other types of literacy (such as digital, emotional, etc).


While the dimensions listed in this framework are well-documented with regards to their relevance to literacy education and development, less research and guidance exists for some of them. As such, you will find that some of the dimensions do not list many relevant resources. This highlights the need for additional research, guidance, and tools in specific areas of literacy. Additionally, while the dimensions listed here are generally relevant across populations, many of the available resources are geared towards organizations doing work in the early literacy space. Again, this indicates a need for further research, tools, and guidance around measurement in programs targetting intermediate and advanced readers, and adult learners.

(1) OECD (2018), "PISA for Development Reading Framework,"