A small professional development project on reading and critical thinking began in Romania in early 1996 as an initiative of the International Literacy Association and the Romanian Soros Foundation. Later that year, the project joined forces with the USAID-funded Orava Project in Slovakia and took the name Reading and Writing for Critical Thinking, as a “network program” of the Open Society Institute.
The project first trained master teachers in nine countries in Central Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. RWCT master teachers offered workshops for teachers around their home countries. Over the next four years, RWCT spread to 15 more countries.
In 2000, an international consortium of local project leaders formed to coordinate the movement, and over the next ten years, trainers from the original 24 countries took the project to 20 more.
Just as the teaching methods of RWCT were carefully chosen from promising teaching practices around the world, RWCT methods have worked their way into hundreds of thousands of educators’ repertoires of best teaching practices.
National RWCT projects continue to draw support from donors such as the World Bank, USAID, Government Affairs Canada, and the European Community. They also form alliances with other development agencies.