Learning to read is transformative and impacts a child’s lifelong opportunity to reach their full potential. However, around 250 million children of primary school age around the world are unable to recognize basic letters and numbers, even though half of them have spent at least four years in school. Despite the importance of books in boosting foundational literacy skills, there is a global shortage of books for children in many mother languages. For the estimated 19 million children globally that are blind or have low vision or the millions of children with other print disabilities, the shortage of quality books in accessible formats is even more severe.
Current technologies provide the potential for publishers to produce books that are accessible and designed for reading by everyone including those with print disabilities, but these are not being leveraged at scale.
All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development (ACR GCD) and Pearson’s Project Literacy are launching the Book Boost: Access for All Challenge to drive innovation in the publishing space to solve for these gaps. The challenge seeks business models that are rooted in optimizing and increasing the number of accessible books in the title development phase of the book value chain.
The competition partners believe solutions in title development will improve the overall book value chain, resulting in a more cost-efficient process. An efficient value chain will increase the number of new, quality, accessible titles, available to stakeholders involved in book distribution.
 UNESCO. (2014a). Teaching and learning: Achieving quality for all. EFA Global Monitoring Report.
 WHO. (2014). Visual Impairment and blindness.