The Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program honors organizations that have made outstanding contributions to increasing literacy in the United States or abroad. The awards also encourage the continuing development of innovative methods for combating illiteracy and the wide dissemination of the most effective practices. They are intended to draw public attention to the continuing need for literacy services and to increase awareness of the importance of literacy. By recognizing current achievements, the awards seek to inspire organizations, foundations, and other private sector groups to become involved in combating illiteracy.
WLR is one of 26 semifinalists for Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program for year 2013. The Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program: Best Practices report offers a summary about each of the 26 finalists and classifies them according to their approach in tackling the illiteracy problem, since it is a big one that involves several factors. WLR was classified under Reading Aloud and Storytelling.
The following is a summary about WLR according to the aforementioned report:
Rana Dajani, the founder of the We Love Reading (WLR) program, which originated in Jordan and has expanded to more than a dozen countries on several continents, developed an innovative model that draws on the volunteer service of women in each of the local communities served. The women, trained by WLR experts, voluntarily give of their time to focus on the read-aloud and storytelling experience to plant the love of reading among children in their neighborhoods and communities.
Working in the Middle East, where traditionally reading has not been viewed as a pleasurable activity and steadfast in her belief that reading aloud is the key to fostering a love of reading, Rana Dajani, the founder of We Love Reading (WLR), uses this activity in her program to help children achieve success in learning to read. Her innovative, grassroots literacy intervention program involves training women to hold readaloud sessions in neighborhood spaces such as mosques and community centers. WLR has changed attitudes about reading and has inspired parents and children to read for pleasure. The result is that participants increase their educational and professional opportunities through the improvement of reading skills.
Dr.Rana Dajani speaks about the Journey of WLR at DISRUPT,which is a bi-annual speaker event organized by NC Eisenhower Fellows, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and the Research Triangle Foundation, DISRUPT brings truly world-shaping innovators from around the globe to North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park.Watch speech.
Dr Dajani gave a talk about We Love Reading at the Arab Development Initiative conference in Montreal. The audience was enthusiastic and full of energy.
Doha, Qatar, 15 September 2014
The World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), a leading international initiative driving innovation and collaboration in education, has announced the six 2014 WISE Awards winning projects.
Since 2009 the WISE Awards have identified and promoted some of the most effective practices in tackling urgent global education challenges.
We Love Reading is a Jordan-based initiative which recognises that literature is essential for the development of children’s personalities, imaginations and cognitive skills yet children do not read for pleasure in the Arab world, not for lack of books but because their parents did not read to them. We Love Reading aims to encourage children to read for pleasure by training women to read aloud to children in their neighbourhoods. These read-aloud sessions are the project’s libraries. The model is innovative because it is simple, cost-efficient, grassroots and sustainable. WLR has trained 700 women and opened 300 libraries in Jordan, impacting more than 10,000 children. The model has spread throughout the Arab world and beyond. The six 2014 WISE Awards winning projects address an array of education challenges linked to employment, creativity, access and literacy:
We are proud of the recognition of We Love Reading on the international arena by receiving the WISE Award 2014 from the Qatar Foundation.
We celebrate today the success of the women and men readers and volunteers who are We Love Reading.
From one library in Jordan to a worldwide movement, the success of We Love Reading is a testimonial that every little good deed counts because we believed that nothing is impossible.
We are the butterfly, that flutters its wings in Jordan resulting in a hurricane in other parts of the world.
This marks the beginning of a new stage in the journey of We Love Reading to spread to every child in the world the thrill of whole new worlds opened through reading, as well as the limitless opportunities reading makes possible so that they can become change makers in their communities.
We ask everyone to join us to become part of the movement in making a difference in the world.
Dr. Rana Dajani, Founder and Director commented: “Reading is essential for the development of children’s personalities, imaginations and cognitive skills yet children do not read for pleasure in the Arab world because their parents do not read for them. By simply encouraging the habit of reading aloud to both parents and children, we can help install a love of reading which is invaluable to their own development and success.”
A Jury comprised of education leaders, chaired by H.E. Sheikh Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani, Chairman of WISE, selected the winning projects from a shortlist of 15 finalists, chosen from hundreds of applications.
H.E. Sheikh Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani remarked: “These initiatives demonstrate how transformative educational programs not only bring real change to the classroom, but can also have a wider influence in communities and society.”
The six 2014 WISE Awards winning projects will be celebrated at a Gala Dinner during the sixth World Innovation Summit for Education, November 4-6, 2014, in Doha, Qatar.
For further information about WISE and the WISE Awards, please go to www.wise-qatar.org or http://www.wise-qatar.org/wise-awards
Taghyeer runs many programs, among them is the Empower Her project funded by LitWorld.
Empower her is a project that positively impact girls in the age of 14-16 throughout Jordan and the Arab world, by creating change agents, empowering girls to become community leaders and by creating a generation of females that love, respect and believe in themselves . This mission is carried through by training girls how to find their challenges and solutions as well.
Who can participate?
Youth girls between the age of 14-16 years old
Has interest in teamwork
Specifications of Project ideas:
To present a solution to one of the challenges facing youth girls
The idea can be applied in Jordan
Written clearly in terms of ideas and action plan
Participant can clarify the project by answering the following question: what is the idea of the project and how can it be applied?
Rules and regulations:
Participant has to attend the workshop
Each group presents only one idea
Coordination within the team is through the team leader
Stage 1 (The workshop): finding solution for the challenge you have chosen to solve after the workshop and submitting a proposal in two weeks with the help of the mentors
Stage 2(proposal day and the implementation if the project): admit your proposal to the judges and then they will choose two projects to win and each group will take 500 Jd to apply their project on reality in one month (the other teams can join the winning teams in their project so everybody can benefit from the attempt )
Stage 3(Final day): general discussion on lessons learned and challenges overcome among all attendees ,Members, mentors and advisors will participate in the discussion giving feedback and advice then celebration will follow afterwards
We Love Reading has recently partnered with “Women Against Indoor Smoking” in Jordan in order to raise awareness in young children of the dangers of smoking and second hand smoke.
Taghyeer Organization has launched the Scientists and Social Initiatives competition.
To apply for the competition, please fill the following application for and submit it before the deadline Septembrer 31st, 2014.
Three winners will be chosen. Each winner will receive $ 1000.
Dr. Rana Dajani met with students and faculty from Arab nations at the American University of Sharjah to speak about We Love Reading and to spread Taghyeer’s message of change.
On the 18th of June, Carol Sakoian , Vice President of Scholastic, visited We Love Reading offices and was highly impressed by our recently published books. There were also talks for possible collaborations between We Love Reading and Scholastic.
The Ruba Al-Atfal library in Aqaba is the first We Love Reading library in Aqaba. It was established as an entrepreneurial action from one of our volunteers RanaSadaqawho wants to expand the circle of children who benefit from the program to the entire Aqaba region.
On the 14th July 2014 community leaders and mothers of children who attend reading sessions at Rana's library gathered to the opening of the first physical library at the Ja'far mosque in Aqaba showing support for the remarkable effort that MsSadaqa is doing to motivate their children to read for pleasure.
The Center for Education Innovations (CEI) promotes innovative programs that increase the availability of quality, affordable, and equitable education opportunities in developing nations. CEI has highlighted WLR on their website.
The Parthenon Group is a worldwide provider of strategic advice to CEOs and business leaders and they were here in order to evaluate We Love Reading and to deliver a message to our stakeholders.
Beatrice Cernuta from the Parthenon Group also visited the Za’atari camp with Dr. Rana Dajani.
We Love Reading is proud to be featured amongst others in their publications.
UNESCO’s Effective Literacy Program recently profiled We Love Reading.
The Effective Literacy Program helps promote the exchange of knowledge and experience in order to improve the literacy rate across the world.
Pam Allyn, director of LitWorld International has visited Amman on the 21st of May,2014. She has observed a reading session at a library in the Sports City Area of Amman, in addition to meeting Syrian women to discuss empowering women to fulfill their potential.Litworld itself is a global literacy initiative that works by building literary experiences that create connections and experiences.
Za’atari is the main refugee camp for Syrians fleeing from the violence caused by the civil war. Since May of 2014 and over the course of several more visits We Love Readingwith financial help fromLitWorld has been implementing the WLR program by teaching ladies and others at the camp how to read out loud to young children in order to improve the quality of education available to young children there.
In addition to We Love Reading, Za’atari was visited by French professional photographer Agnes Montanari who took some very beautiful photos of the conditions in the camp while working with us.
WLR has been chosen by the Columbia Pangea Advisors (the pro bono advisory group of the International Development Club (IDC) at Columbia Business School (CBS)). They will be helping We Love Reading with its three year strategic plan. The team members bring an array of skills to the project including consulting, strategy, finance, and operations. They will be visiting Jordan at the end of March. Welcome to Jordan Kiley, Rob, Magda and Octavio! Note: Each semester, Pangea Advisors pairs groups of 3 MBA students with organizations that are working to improve lives across the developing world. They are dedicated to adding value through high impact consulting projects that address the most pressing challenges their clients face.
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).
March: Rana Dajani gave a talk on the 16th of March,2014 to 8th grade students at Um Summaq school in Marj Hammam. She talked about women scientists and reading.
March: Rana Dajani chosen as one of the most powerful 100 Arab women!
March: WLR now in Gaza! Our friend Nadia has sent us the following message. Thank you Nadia, we wish you all the best! Nadia says,”My name is Nadia Madhoun from Gaza, Palestine. I held today my first read aloud session for children in Beit Lahia area, where several children gathered and I read a story. The children were overjoyed and expressed their will to attend every session!”
WLR has been chosen by the Columbia Pangea Advisors (the pro bono advisory group of the International Development Club (IDC) at Columbia Business School (CBS)). They will be helping We Love Reading with its three year strategic plan. The team members bring an array of skills to the project including consulting, strategy, finance, and operations. They will be visiting Jordan at the end of March. Welcome to Jordan Kiley, Rob, Magda and Octavio! Note: Each semester, Pangea Advisors pairs groups of 3 MBA students with organizations that are working to improve lives across the developing world. They are dedicated to adding value through high impact consulting projects that address the most pressing challenges their clients face. follow link
March: WLR has signed an agreement with LitWorld International to train 20 women in Za’atari refugee camp on the art of reading aloud to children and how to open libraries in the camp
. Radio Irbid (95.4) has hosted Dr. Rana Dajani (founder and director or WLR), Aidah, Hanan and Kholoud (volunteers with WLR for over two years) where the discussion was moderated by Dr. OMarch Jaradat. The girls talked about their reading in an orphanage in Irbid, and Dr. Rana talked about WLR and about Dr.Lana Mamkegh’s (Jordanian minister of culture) support for cultural initiatives in Jordan. To listen to the show, please click follow link
March: WLR and many book lovers all over Jordan and the Arab world have celebrated the World Read Aloud Day on the 5th of March, by reading aloud to children, holding book club discussions and starting to read new books!
February: WLR held a closing ceremony for the project Library in Every Neighborhood on the 6th of February in the Royal Cultural Center in Amman and was attended by over 150 people. The volunteers had the opportunity to talk about their experience as storytellers or about the social projects that they initiated to serve their communities. The celebration was held under the patronage of the Minister of Culture and attended by the US ambassador in Amman.
January: Rana Dajani chosen as one of twenty influential women in the field of science in the Islamic world
January: WLR visits the Library in Every Neighborhood volunteers in their libraries for the second time. We have noticed the children’s increasing love for reading and the volunteer’s increasing enthusiasm in reading to kids!