A Guide for Strengthening Gender Equality and Inclusiveness in Teaching and Learning Materials

 

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This guide advances global efforts toward greater gender equality and inclusiveness in education. It provides guidance on how to develop and evaluate materials that are free of bias and that promote equality and inclusiveness.

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A GUIDE FOR STRENGTHENING GENDER EQUALITY AND INCLUSIVENESS IN TEACHING AND LEARNING MATERIALS OCTOBER 2015

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EdData II: Data for Education Research and Programming (DERP) in Africa Cover Illustration: Jerry Rosembert Moise RTI International. 2015. A Guide for Strengthening Gender Equality and Inclusiveness in Teaching and Learning Materials. Washington, DC: U.S.  Agency for International Development. The authors’ views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S.  Agency for International Development or the U.S. Government.

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Contents Foreword iii Acknowledgment iv Introduction Theme 1.  Equal Frequency of Representation What Issues Do We Face? What  Are the Consequences? How to Develop Gender Equitable and Inclusive Materials? 1 4 4 4 4 Theme 2. Gender Equitable and Inclusive Illustrations What Issues Do We Face? What  Are the Consequences? How to Develop Gender Equitable and Inclusive Materials? 6 6 6 6 Theme 3. Gender Equitable and Inclusive Language What Issues Do We Face? What  Are the Consequences? How to Develop Gender Equitable and Inclusive Materials? 8 8 8 8 Theme 4. Gender Equitable and Transformational Roles What Issues Do We Face? What  Are the Consequences? How to Develop Gender Equitable and Inclusive Materials? 10 10 10 10 Annexes Annex 1. Instructions for Completing the Worksheet Annex 2. Sample Worksheets Annex 3. Checklist for Evaluating Teaching and Learning Materials for Gender Equality and Inclusiveness 12 13 14 20 References Bibliography 23 24 Illustration: Jerry Rosembert Moise Kenya PRIMR Initiative

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Foreword The Guide for Strengthening Gender Equality and Inclusiveness in  Teaching and Learning Materials was produced for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in 2015. It was informed by a literature review conducted by Nina Etyemezian of RTI International. It was authored by Jennae Bulat, of RTI International, and Michelle Lapp, an independent consultant, as part of the Data for Education Research and Programming (DERP) project with USAID’s Bureau for Africa. Guidance was provided by Julie Hanson Swanson and Koli Banik of the Education Division of the Office of Sustainable Development, Bureau for  Africa. In support of the Agency’s Education Strategy and Policy on Gender Equality and Female Empowerment, this guide advances global efforts toward greater gender equality and inclusiveness in education by providing guidance on how to develop and evaluate materials that are free of bias and that promote equality and inclusiveness of all marginalized, disadvantaged, and underrepresented groups. Illustration: Jerry Rosembert Moise iii

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iv Illustration: Jerry Rosembert Moise Acknowledgment The authors would like to thank the following individuals for the generous input and revision given during the development of this guide: Paola Canales (USAID), Matthew Emry (USAID), Lubov Fajfer (USAID), Kalene Resler (USAID), Reverend Dr.  Tomi Thomas (The Catholic Health Association for India), Helen Abadzi (University of  Texas at Arlington), Ernestine Ngo Melha (UNICEF—Global partnership for children with disabilities, education task force), Emily Klinger (Special Olympics International), Bryson Childress (Special Olympics International), Annemarie Hill (Special Olympics International), Donald Wertlieb ( Tufts University, Partnership for Early Childhood Development & Disability Rights), Sian Tesni (CBM International), and Candace Cable (CandaceCable.com).  We would also like to thank the participants in our session at the 2015 Comparative International Education Society (CIES) Conference who helped in the piloting of this tool.

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Introduction 1 Equal access to quality education for all children is an important part of the international discourse surrounding education. As more countries meet goals for providing access to education for the majority of their children, international focus is aptly shifting to making access equitable for all children and improving the quality of the education that is provided.* Initiatives such as the Millennium Development Goals and the Dakar Framework for Action exemplify this shifting focus from academic access to academic quality, attempting to make explicit the interconnections between equitable and fully inclusive access to education and the quality of educational outcomes. The World Conference on Education for All in Jomtien and the Salamanca Statement contributed to the conversation on providing inclusive education for persons with disabilities and provided a framework for action. The Dakar Framework for Action is also playing a lead role in expanding the discourse on areas of discrimination and stereotyping, shifting the focus in these areas from educational parity to the more ambitious and transformative agenda of achieving full educational equality and inclusiveness. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) shares this growing international concern for promoting educational experiences that are fair and respectful to all children, including children who are marginalized (e.g., due to sex, disability, racial or ethnic status) and children who are in conflict situations.† In addition, USAID recognizes the role that equitable teaching and learning materials can play in overcoming social bias and stereotypes. As the literature shows, much work still needs to be conducted to improve the implementation of equitable and inclusive teaching and learning materials. The Guide for Strengthening Gender Equality and Inclusiveness in Teaching and Learning Materials * For an illustrative example, see the Inter-Agency Commission for the World Conference on Education for All. 1990. Meeting Basic Learning Needs: A Vision for the 1990s. World Conference on Education for All, Jomtien, Thailand, March 5–9. Available at http://unesdoc.unesco.org/ images/0009/000975/097552e.pdf † For more information, see USAID’s Checklist for Conflict Sensitivity in Education Programs. Available at http://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/ documents/1865/USAID_Checklist_Conflict_Sensitivity_14FEB27_ cm.pdf Photo: Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) Plus: Liberia, EdData II. (henceforth referred to as the Guide) attempts to advance the global efforts toward greater gender equality and inclusiveness in education by providing guidance on how to develop and evaluate materials that are free of bias and that promote equality and inclusiveness of all marginalized, disadvantaged, and underrepresented groups. The Power of  Teaching and Learning Materials Because school plays such a central role in the lives of most children and because a child’s experiences in school are centered around teaching and learning materials, the messages transmitted by such materials— whether explicitly or implicitly—can have a strong and lasting impact on a child’s attitudes and perceptions. There are many ways in which education systems—and the broader social contexts in which they exist—can exclude and marginalize subpopulations of children. Bias based on a child’s sex is one obvious form of exclusion. In one study of the impact of gender-biased teaching and learning materials,1 the researchers reported that exposing children in Grades 4, 7, and 11 to non-traditional gender roles in narratives led to increased perceptions of the number of men or women who can and should participate in non-traditional roles. Similarly, another study2 on the effects of bias showed that exposing children in Grade 5 to gender-equitable roles led to more positive perceptions of gender roles and expectations for boys and girls. In addition, after exposure to gender-equitable roles, students acknowledged the importance of gender equality and the effects that gender stereotyping can have on people’s ambitions, interests, and behaviors. However, other equally pervasive forms of exclusion exist, whether they are based on the presence of a physical or mental challenge; one’s socio-economic

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2 Introduction Photo: EGRA Plus: Liberia, EdData II. status, class, ethnic background, political orientation, sexual orientation, sexual identity, or language; or any other factors that cause a subgroup of society to be undervalued and underrepresented in society, civic activities, and/or education. In many societies, individuals with physical, cognitive, or sensory and/or multiple disabilities tend to be excluded from many social, civic, and even educational activities. Worldwide, between 10 and 15 percent of children aged 18 years and younger are born with a disability or become disabled as a child.† However, in many countries, fewer than 10 percent of children with disabilities are enrolled in school.‡ Although countries may provide schools designated for children with various disabilities, many countries do not, and even when they exist, designated schools can be too expensive or too far away for many families to access. In addition, existing materials often lack representations—much less positive portrayals—of students with disabilities. Although the number of children with cognitive disabilities worldwide has been estimated at approximately 1 to 3 percent, cognitive disabilities in children can be difficult to identify; therefore, such disabilities often go silently unrecognized. Children with cognitive disabilities are often erroneously perceived in a negative light, and the stigma of cognitive disabilities poses barriers that make inclusion and participation in all spheres of life difficult. As a result, for many children living with cognitive disabilities, there is very little sensitivity about the potential that exists in such children and the need to support them in realizing this potential. Positive, nonstereotypical depictions of individuals with cognitive differences as productive members of society are † The use of various definitions of disabilities, measurement methods, and instruments make the percentages difficult to pinpoint. ‡ The number of children with disabilities who attend both regular and special schools is approximately 10 percent. The number of children with disabilities who are in regular schools is closer to 5 percent or less in most lower and middle income countries. virtually nonexistent. However, such depictions are particularly important because they can raise awareness and sensitivity in the classroom and provide positive role models for such children. In addition, within any given context—particularly in areas where multiple ethnic backgrounds, cultural customs, and languages co-exist—specific subgroups of society can be marginalized and even discriminated against because of group affiliations. Children of such subgroups can feel undervalued, misunderstood, and even invisible in social and educational arenas. Ensuring that teaching and learning materials intentionally represent members of all social subgroups in equally positive and contributing roles can go far in helping to weaken biases and stereotypes of this nature. Teaching and learning materials play a central role in either perpetuating or transforming stereotypes. Through negative and often outdated stereotypes in teaching and learning materials, members of disenfranchised social groups (e.g., girls, children with disabilities, or ethnic and language minorities) are not depicted as powerful or central role models. Similarly, if members of privileged groups (e.g., boys or ethnic and language majorities) only see themselves depicted in specific occupations or in narrowly defined roles (e.g., occupational, but not familial roles), then this also limits their aspirations and future opportunities. Because teaching and learning materials have the power to either maintain the status quo in a society—thereby reinforcing stereotypes found outside the school—or transform them, more frequent and positive portrayals of characters from different subgroups in these materials can spur change by empowering individuals to see themselves and others in more positive and inclusive ways. Definitions Definitions and uses of terminology can vary; therefore, for the purposes of this guide, the following definitions are used. Disability. Long-term physical, mental, intellectual, and/or sensory impairments, which, in interaction with various barriers, may hinder full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.3 Gender. The socially defined set of roles, rights, responsibilities, entitlements, and obligations of girls

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3 and women and of boys and men in societies. The social definitions of what it means to be girls and women or boys and men vary among cultures and change over time.4 Gender Equality. Concerns women and men and involves working with men and boys and with women and girls to bring about changes in attitudes, behaviors, and roles and responsibilities at home, in the workplace, and in the community. Genuine equality means more than parity in numbers or laws on the books—it means expanding freedoms and improving overall quality of life so that equality is achieved without sacrificing gains for boys and men or girls and women.5 Gender Identity. An individual’s internal, personal sense of being a boy or man or a girl or woman. For transgender people, their birth-assigned sex and their own internal sense of gender identity do not match.4 Inclusion. A process of addressing and responding to the diversity of needs of all learners through increasing participation in learning, cultures, and communities and reducing exclusion within and from education. Inclusion involves changes and modifications in content, approaches, structures, and strategies, with a common vision and a conviction that it is the responsibility of the education system to educate all children.6 Inclusive Education. A process of strengthening the capacity of the education system to reach out to all learners and can thus be understood as a key strategy to achieve education for all. As an overall principle, inclusive education should guide all education policies and practices, starting from the fact that education is a basic human right and the foundation for a more just and equal society.6 Sex. The classification of people as boys or men or as girls or women. At birth, infants are assigned a sex based on a combination of bodily characteristics, including chromosomes, hormones, internal reproductive organs, and genitalia.4 Universal Design for Learning. A framework for curriculum development in which materials are designed to allow all individuals equal opportunities to learn. The curriculum materials should be adapted to accommodate individual learning differences rather than using the same materials, teaching methods, or assessments for all learners.7 Photo: EGRA Plus: Liberia, EdData II. The Structure of  This Guide The purpose of this guide is to provide guidance on how to represent members of all subgroups of a society in teaching and learning materials in equitable and non-stereotypical ways. Reviewers can use the strategies proposed in this guide to evaluate existing teaching and learning materials across primary and secondary levels. Authors or developers can employ the strategies to inform the development of new materials. This guide is organized according to themes that emerged from the review of relevant literature. Each theme reflects a particular type of bias that should be considered when evaluating or developing teaching and learning materials. The four themes discussed in this guide are as follows: • Equal frequency of representation (e.g., proportionate frequency of the representation in text of one group as compared to another) • Gender equitable and inclusive illustrations (e.g., the representation of non-stereotypical character traits in text illustrations) • Gender equitable and inclusive language (e.g., the use of alternating pronouns [“he” or “she”] to identify a character whose sex is unknown) • Gender equitable and transformational roles (e.g., the variety and types of occupations attributed to one group versus another). For each theme, a brief summary of existing literature is presented. This guide also includes explanations of considerations related to the type of bias, examples of bias-free representations, and checklists that can be used to evaluate existing materials for each type of bias. Included in this guide are tools for evaluating teaching and learning materials for equality and inclusiveness (see Annexes 1 through 3). Throughout this guide, it is assumed all materials will be designed using a universal design for learning approach; specific guidance regarding universal design is not, therefore, incorporated into this guide.7

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4 Theme 1. Equal Frequency of Representation What Issues Do We Face? Throughout most cultures, specific subgroups (e.g., boys and men, members of a dominant racial or ethnic group) are represented in teaching and learning materials much more frequently than others (e.g., girls and women, members of a minority racial or ethnic group). For example, studies revealed the following statistics: • Approximately 15 percent of the world population has some form of disability,8 and yet it is rare to see a child with a disability represented in teaching and learning materials.9–10 • In Pakistani textbooks for English, Urdu, mathematics, science, and social studies, girls and women represented only 23.1 percent of all characters.9 • In Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Togo, and Tunisia, girls and women represented only 33 percent of the characters in the textbooks.10 What  Are the Consequences? The characters represented in teaching and learning materials used in schools can be powerful role models for children. Students are most likely to identify with characters in books if those characters are similar to them—whether they are the same nationality, speak the same language, are the same sex, or have the same physical characteristics. If, in teaching and learning materials, a child does not see characters with whom he or she can identify—whether by language, ethnic group, sex, or other physical characteristics—then the child is likely to learn the implicit, but strong, message that he or she is less important than others. Ensuring the equal representation of children in teaching and learning materials can help expose children to positive messages and provide powerful role models. How to Develop Gender Equitable and Inclusive Materials? The characters in teaching and learning materials should accurately reflect the range of characteristics in the specific society in which students will use them. Most societies are made up of approximately 50 percent girls and women and 50 percent boys and men; therefore, the characters in teaching and learning materials should reflect this distribution. In contexts where multiple languages are spoken and ethnic groups are present, characters in teaching and learning materials should reflect the distribution of these languages and ethnicities that exists in the broader social context. Because all societies include individuals with various physical, cognitive, and sensory disabilities, characters facing these issues in books should reflect these differences in positive and inclusive ways. In areas where social or political conflicts have resulted in widespread physical violence, characters can be used to address this reality and serve as role models for how to handle resulting trauma. Given the prevalence of inequality in many aspects of society, ensuring equal representation in teaching and learning materials will take conscious effort and planning. When developing these materials, thought should be given to many considerations to ensure equitable representation of all groups. Frequency of characters from different subgroups in society • Characters from different subgroups in society should appear with the same proportional frequency as they do in the population. For example, on average, 15 percent of people worldwide have a disability. Therefore, approximately 1 out of 7 characters in the stories and images should be children or adults with a physical or cognitive disability. Similarly, there should be a proportional representation of children and adults related to the ethnic and religious makeup of the country.

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DERP IN AFRICA—GENDER EQUALITY AND INCLUSIVENESS GUIDE 5 Frequency of female and male characters • In teaching and learning materials, female and male characters should appear with equal frequency. Although a particular story may be focused on a male or female character, there should be equal representation of both genders across all stories and text in materials. Naming of male and female characters • If some characters are not identified and do not have names, those characters should be equally representative of each sex. The majority of unnamed characters should not be predominately one sex. BIAS-FREE EXAMPLES Alternate the introduction of female and male characters. Gender-Equitable Story Titles Cat on the Mat Beth and Her Math Test The Fox in the Box Dan and His Hat The Blue Whale Ata and His Pet The Dog in the Well Massa and Her Drum Include characters from different ethnic or religious groups in stories. Illustration: USAID/Uganda School Health and Reading Program Ensure that non-human characters are both female and male. Kenya, Primary Math and Reading (PRIMR) Ensure equal representation of male and female characters. Kenya, Primary Math and Reading (PRIMR)

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6 Theme 2. Gender Equitable and Inclusive Illustrations What Issues Do We Face? Illustrations have an even higher profile than text in teaching and learning materials because of their relative size on a page, their frequency, and their relative attractiveness for children (especially if the illustrations appear in color). A study of teaching and learning materials in Kenyan English11 found that male characters were more often represented than female characters in illustrations (i.e., 55.8 percent for male versus 44.2 percent for female characters). Similar reviews of Romanian12 and Turkish13 textbooks also found male characters to be more frequently represented than female characters in illustrations, particularly in textbooks for higher grades. Illustrations also tended to portray gender stereotypes. In Turkey, for example, 13 percent of the male characters were illustrated in roles of authority (e.g., an executive, a decision maker, an inspector), compared with only 4 percent of female characters.13 Additionally, characters with disabilities are underrepresented.  A study of 500 award-winning books in the United States found only 2 percent of books reviewed included characters with disabilities. Of those 10 books, only 6 featured a main character with a disability.14  When characters with disabilities are featured in texts, a majority of the time they are portrayed with negative stereotypes (e.g., a burden, unable to fully participate in everyday life).14 In these materials, even illustrations of posture can be used to communicate different expectations for different subgroups. A study of early grade readers in New Zealand found that girls and women were often shown seated with their legs crossed or bent over talking to a child, which are both positions of subservience and vulnerability. However, boys and men were shown with one foot resting on an object or sitting with both feet on the ground, which are both positions of power and confidence.15 What  Are the Consequences? As with all types of stereotyping, biased and other stereotypical portrayals of characters in illustrations perpetuate notions of roles that are narrow and restrictive. Such illustrations do not acknowledge or encourage a range of activities or interactions between or among members of different subgroups, much less challenge social norms. Additionally, the impact of illustrations can be even greater than that of text, particularly on young children, because illustrations are so prevalent in young children’s materials and illustrations are, by design, much more visible and attractive than text. How to Develop Gender Equitable and Inclusive Materials? When teaching and learning materials are being developed, thought should be given to the following considerations to avoid stereotyping in illustrations. Size and placement Illustrations of characters representing all social subgroups should be of the same size and should appear with approximately equal frequency. The characters should also appear in similar roles. More specifically related to one’s sex, female and male characters should appear in open and enclosed places with approximately equal frequency (e.g., both in the house or classroom, both outside in the village or field). Inclusiveness Approximately 15 percent of illustrations should be of characters with disabilities, ideally with a range of types of disabilities portrayed (e.g., individuals with mild to severe physical disabilities). Illustrations should proportionally represent characters from different ethnic and religious groups.

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BIAS-FREE EXAMPLES DERP IN AFRICA—GENDER EQUALITY AND INCLUSIVENESS GUIDE 7 Portray female characters engaging in activities that are usually restricted to boys. Illustration: Masud Ramadhan Abdi and Apollo Erik in Reading English Learner Book Include illustrations depicting female and male characters in comparable roles. Portray characters from different ethnic or religious groups. Illustration: USAID/Uganda School Health and Reading Program Illustration: Kenya, Primary Math and Reading (PRIMR) Depict male and female characters appearing in open, as well as closed, spaces. Include characters from marginalized groups in stories. Illustration: USAID/Uganda School Health and Reading Program Illustration: Jerry Rosembert Moise

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8 Theme 3. Gender Equitable and Inclusive Language What Issues Do We Face? Historically, and within many languages, the pronouns “he” or “him” are used to refer to boys and men, specifically. These words are also generically used to refer to an individual when the sex of a given person is unknown and are often used to refer to mixed-sex groups. Using a male pronoun to refer to girls and women and to mixed-sex groups in many cases is convenient, but this can have a negative impact on girls and women. Using a male pronoun generically in texts implicitly attributes greater importance to boys and men, which is a message that both girls and boys can internalize at young ages. Additionally, people with disabilities have historically been identified in negative ways. Most of the language used places the disability before the person (e.g., a deaf person, a handicapped child). However, this practice causes readers to focus on the label, the disability, and not the person as an individual. What  Are the Consequences? Similar to the prevalence of depictions of different groups, the language used to refer to characters in teaching and learning materials can have a subtle but strong impact on children. Using gender exclusive language (e.g., using male identifiers to refer to a population of individuals that may include female, as well as male, characters) limits the ways in which girls and women view themselves and the opportunities that can be open to them. Using negative stereotypes or language that places children’s primary focus on a person’s disability can also shape the way in which children view disabilities within society. Referring to individuals with disabilities by using the word “disabled” before anything else (e.g., “disabled children” instead of “children with disabilities”) places a generic label onto a person, causing readers to view those with disabilities as a homogenous group. Focusing first on the disability rather than on the person brings to light a person’s limitations instead of his or her identity and capabilities. How to Develop Gender Equitable and Inclusive Materials? When teaching and learning materials are being developed, thought should be given to the following considerations to avoid stereotyping in illustrations. It is important to note that the use of gender in nouns or pronouns is language specific depending on the language’s pronoun system and how gender is or is not encoded in that system. Examples that follow assume a language that does encode gender in its pronoun system. Use of nonrestrictive gender pronouns • When speaking about a non-specific character, the use of “he” or “she” or “him” and “her” should be alternated rather than consistently using male pronouns. • When speaking about a particular character, the appropriate personal pronoun should be consistently used to refer to that character (i.e., “she” or “he”). • When specific groups are mentioned, appropriate masculine and feminine forms of roles (e.g., sportsmen, sportswomen, postmen, postwomen) should be used. • The neutral form of a title and function should be used when possible (e.g., chairperson, rather than chairman). Use of “relational” definitions • If female characters are identified by familial relationships, then male characters should be identified in the same manner. If male characters are identified by broader social roles, then female characters should be identified in the same manner. For example, if a female character is referred to as “the mother,” then the male character should be called “the uncle.” Conversely, if a male character is called “a teacher,” then the female character should also be referred to in an occupational role, such as “the Parent Teacher Association member,” or “the farmer.”

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DERP IN AFRICA—GENDER EQUALITY AND INCLUSIVENESS GUIDE 9 Use of “person-first” language • Language used to describe individuals with disabilities should promote a positive image of the person and not use any negative stereotypes or labels. • When people with disabilities are mentioned, “person-first” language should be used (i.e., “a girl who is blind” instead of “a blind girl”). BIAS-FREE EXAMPLES Use a female pronoun—or alternate between female and male pronouns—when a character’s sex is unknown. Use the appropriate role such as “woman” instead of “mother” and “council member” instead of “councilman.” Gender-Neutral Language: “When a student asks a question, answer her clearly.” “The woman went to the city to meet with the council member.” Yesterday, there was an accident at Mamfe. A bus tried to overtake a car. It crashed into a nearby tree. Luckily, nobody was sitting under the tree at that moment. But a kiosk was completely destroyed. A policeperson came there and said,“Everybody should be careful on the road!” Make unnamed characters both female and male. Use neutral forms of titles and functions. Baby wants to play in the sand. She puts sand in her hands. She puts sand on her legs. She puts sand in her hair. She is very happy. Then her brother sees her. He says, “Baby sister, you are dirty!” He gives her a bath. He puts a clean pink dress on her. Adapted from Kenya, Primary Math and Reading (PRIMR) Source: Let’s Read and Write, English Class 2, Ministry of Education, Science and Sports Ghana Education Service

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