We Love Reading is proud to announce that the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) has today named it as a 2014 WISE Awards Finalists. This year’s list of Finalists represent some of the most inspiring and visionary work undertaken by non-governmental and charitable organizations, cultural institutions and in the private sector. Inaugurated in 2009, the WISE Awards identify and promote unique and novel solutions to real-world education challenges.
Research has shown that reading aloud is key in fostering the love of reading. Parents, teachers or librarians in the Arab World lack reading skills and habits. We developed an innovative model that provides a practical, cost efficient, sustainable, grassroots approach that involves women and the community to increase reading levels among children 4-10 by focusing on the read aloud experience to plant the love of reading. The program constitutes training local women to hold read aloud sessions in public spaces in their neighborhoods where books are routinely read aloud to children. This is our “library”. Training more adults to read aloud will lead to the creation of informal and sustainable networks of readers who will inspire children and their communities to read, and ultimately reap the educational benefits. We also develop children's books to be read in our libraries to raise awareness on particular themes. Our hypothesis is that children's behavior can be changed indirectly through stories.
The model has become a movement spreading throughout the Arab world and beyond in 15 countries. In Jordan, we have trained 700 volunteers on the art of reading aloud, and 40000 children were impacted by our program.The community starts to respect women and supports their roles as leaders and future change agents even within mosques. The community invests in the collection, building ownership and responsibility of the library.
This year’s Finalists from around the world showcase creative approaches to issues of access, quality and employment. The projects combine conventional tools with a range of technologies to achieve results in a variety of areas including addressing special needs, encouraging a love of literature, running a small business, and reaching marginalized communities.
The WISE Awards Finalist projects, evaluated by a Pre-Jury of internationally recognized education experts, demonstrated innovative thinking and concrete impact on communities and societies as well as the ability to be replicated in other contexts and regions.
Rana Dajani, Founder and Director of We Love Reading said:
“We are proud that we have been recognized as one of the 2014 WISE Awards Finalists. This is a testimonial to the innovation and impact of our program that is spreading as a movement around the world. This high level international acknowledgement is indeed an honor and an incentive to work even more to achieve our vision of every child in the world to have the opportunity to enjoy reading so that they can become change makers in their communities and to empower even more women to become leaders in their communities.”
The six winning projects will be announced in September and celebrated at the sixth World Innovation Summit for Education, November 4-6, 2014, in Doha, Qatar. Each will receive $20,000 (US).