Since We Love Reading’s founding,  we have consistently partnered with top institutions to conduct rigorous research on our read-aloud program. We strive to assess its effectiveness and to continuously improve our approach to better serve our beneficiaries



Ongoing Research

Save the Children, in collaboration with Pearson and UNHCR: WLR has been chosen as a case study for the Promising Practices in Refugee Education initiative.

Brown University: Assess the influence of WLR program on children’s cognitive development during the critical preschool years. 

UNICEF and Qatar University: Evaluate the changes in attitudes of children towards reading and evaluate the willingness of children and their parents to attend school. 

Harvard University: Measure the impact of the We Love Reading program on the relationship between children and their parents.  

University of Chicago and UNICEF: Measure the behavior of children towards social inclusion by studying empathy. 

RTI: Measure the impact of the We Love Reading program on academic performance among children.

Dajani, R. (2012) How women scientists fare in the Arab world. Nature.

Dr. Dajani discusses her experiences and perspective on the role of women in science, and the role of women scientists in the Arab world.

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Reading and Empathy (2014)

Research shows that reading fiction positively affects empathy. This year WLR conducted research designed by the Department of Psychology at the University of Chicago to assess our model’s ability to increase empathy in children. The study showed positive results. 

Partners: Fetzer Institute

Yazji, S. (2014), Final Report: The Impact of the We Love Reading Pilot Program on the Psychosocial Health of Participating Children in Zaatari Refugee Camp. Yale University.

We Love Reading was introduced in Za’atari camp for Syrian refugees through a pilot project in the summer of 2014. A psychosocial study designed by Department of Anthropology at Yale University was conducted on the storytellers and children who attended the read aloud sessions at Za’atari. The results in the test of resilience taken by children in Za’atari are close to the results shown by children in the US who took the same test. Reading for children in Za’atari has strengthened their eagerness to return to school (there is a high rate of school dropouts in Za’atari for a variety of reasons). In addition, children learned to love reading and to think independently.

Partners: LitWorld, International Relief and Development (IRD), Yale University

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Banihani, M. and Abu-Ashour, K. (2015). The Role of Jordanian Schools in Encouraging Students’ Outside Reading. Journal of Education & Social Policy.

Banihani and Abu-Ashour highlight We Love Reading as an example of an initiative that successfully encourages children to read, and helps parents to understand the importance of reading. The article investigates the role of schools in encouraging students’ outside reading habits, and the challenges involved in promoting outside reading for children. 

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Wener, R. (2016) Evaluating Resilience in Syrian and Jordanian Youth. Yale University

“This paper uses baseline data collected from the Child Youth Resilience Measure (CYRM) that was administered to a sample of 603 Jordanian and Syrian adolescents living in Northern Jordan during Fall 2015 as part of a broader evaluation of the impact of a mental health and psychosocial wellbeing intervention… While a significant positive relationship was identified between child education level and resilience, demographic variables were not collectively found to be strong predictors of resilience levels, as compared with measures of stress, mental health and wellbeing.”

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Dajani, R. and Awad, A. (November 2016). We Love Reading – A Women’s Literacy Program in the Arab World. Ohio ASCD Journal.

This research culminated in the highly interactive WLR training program, which covers a wide range of topics ranging from leadership and entrepreneurship to communication and confidence building. The program aims to empower women as leaders in their community to implement positive changes.

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Mahasneh, R.A., Romanowski M.H. and Dajani, R.B. (2017). Reading social stories in the community: A promising intervention for promoting children’s environmental knowledge and behavior in Jordan. The Journal of Environmental Education.

This study reports findings from WLR programs using stories about environmental problems in various Jordanian communities. Results indicated the effectiveness of this informal educational intervention, showing an increase in children’s knowledge of environmental issues and a positive change in their behaviors.


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Panter-Brick, C., Hadfield, K., Dajani, R., Eggerman, M., Ager, A. and Ungar, M. (2017), Resilience in Context: A Brief and Culturally Grounded Measure for Syrian Refugee and Jordanian Host-Community Adolescents. Child Development.

We Love Reading founder Dr. Rana Dajani collaborated with researchers from Yale University to develop a brief and reliable survey tool to measure resilience in children and adolescents who have been displaced by the brutal conflict in Syria. The tool was designed to be culturally relevant, and is available in both English and Arabic. They found that higher levels of resilience were asscoated with lower levels of stress and fewer mental health problems. They also found some differences within the populations surveyed regarding the significance of structures such as religion, education, and family, as well as identified sources of resilience.

Partners: Yale University

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