Swiss photojournalist Saskia Bory Keeley spent 10 days documenting We Love Reading’s work in Jordan. Her article “Photojournalism: Creating Brighter Lives for Syrian Refugee Children” chronicles her two-day visit to Azraq Camp and how the reading sessions are bringing meaning and joy to refugee children. The article was published in The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, the student-managed foreign policy journal at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, US.
We Love Reading was discussed in the chapter titled “Refugee Camps and the (Educational) Rights of the Child” by Rajini Srikanth of the University of Massachusetts Boston, US. The book Interdisciplinary Approaches to Human Rights is a collection that brings together analyses of human rights from multiple disciplines and from across the world.
Dr. Rana Dajani and We Love Reading were featured in the Forbes magazine in the article This Entrepreneur Got A Funder To Say: “Here’s $1 Million. Do Whatever You Want”. The article highlighted the scientific approach that We Love Reading has taken in refining its program and approach, and how this has led to receiving significant grants from large donors like UNICEF and USAID.
We Love Reading was featured in the Stanford Social Innovation Review’s Fall 2017 issue. The article is titled “1,001 Story Times”, written by Corey Binns, and highlights We Love Reading’s mission to bring the love of reading to children across the world.
We Love Reading was chosen as a case study for the initiative Promising Practices in Refugee Education. This initiative was launched in February 2017 by Save the Children with support from Pearson and UNHCR. It aimed to identify projects that provide education to refugees with the intention of documenting and promoting them. This would then inform policy and advocacy efforts in the field of refugee education. Projects chosen as case studies were those with the most promise of contributing to wider change.
We Love Reading’s Director, Dr. Rana Dajani, was invited to present at a conference on Early Childhood Development for Social Cohesion and Peacebuilding at Queen’s University Belfast on 31 May 2017. At the conference, Dr. Dajani spoke about We Love Reading and its impact in promoting sustainable development and building social cohesion. The conference drew together international experts in early childhood development (ECD) and peacebuilding from institutes like UNICEF, Harvard, and Yale to discuss theories and practices on how early childhood development can promote social cohesion and peacebuilding; lessons that can be learnt from those currently providing ECD services in countries affected by conflict; and how to monitor and evaluate whether those ECD services are having a measurable impact on the lives of children and families and in contributing to broader social cohesion.
We Love Reading was featured in the book Integral Innovation: New Worldviews by Odeh Rashed Al-Jayyousi as an example of social and cultural innovation. Integral Innovation discusses the evolution of technology and innovation from a cultural and historical perspective. Al-Jayyousi analyzes the role of innovation and technology in sustainable development and presents a number of case studies from around the world (including WLR) which exemplify the social learning processes for knowledge, co-creation, and innovation culture.
We Love Reading was featured as a case study in Melodena Stephens Balakrishnan’s book Social Entrepreneurs under the category “Women: Spearheading Change”. Social Entrepreneurs uses case studies from around the world to examine several different methods of social entrepreneurship under headings such as community-led activism, scaling solutions through technology, and preserving, encouraging, and inspiring cultural heritage.
We Love Reading was mentioned in the 2016 Arab Reading Index as an example of Arab initiatives to promote reading. The Arab Reading Index was released by the Arab Knowledge Project, in partnership between MBRF and UNDP, with the goal of providing an objective assessment of the state of reading in the Arab region. It is hoped that the index will highlight the importance of reading in the contexts of knowledge and development, and inform policymakers on how to best promote reading in the Arab region.
We Love Reading became a Center for Education Innovations (CEI) profiled program after winning the 2014 World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) Award. CEI provides a network of systematic and easy-to-access information and evidence about innovative programs working to increase the quality of education for children in low-income communities.
We Love Reading was highlighted as a case study in Charles Leadbeater’s World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) sponsored publication, Innovation in Education: Lessons from Pioneers Around the World. In this book, Leadbeater visited sixteen education initiatives across the world to create an accessible international reference guide for innovation in education. The WISE book aims to contribute to understanding the ways in which innovations happen, and how they can be taken to scale.
We Love Reading is listed on the UNESCO Effective Literacy and Numeracy Practices Database. LitBase was created to be a source of examples of effectively designed and executed programs which serve as models for the development of new and improvement of existing literacy initiatives. It also serves as a database for the collection and dissemination of information about effective or promising literacy programs for youth and adults.
We Love Reading, a local organization that trains adults to read aloud to children in dedicated public spaces and provides books written specifically for the context they’re going to be read in, with messages and images that the children can relate to. “It’s through these stories that kids learn to deal with their challenges,” from gender inequality to migration, said Rana Dajani, the founder of We Love Reading.
As a scientist, Dr.Dajani knows the importance of observation and research in coming up with solutions to problems. She observed that many children in the Middle East region do not read for pleasure and tend to associate reading with schoolwork. She knows the essential role reading plays in instilling a love of learning and in creating a brighter future for children and their societies, so she set out to find a way to get children to enjoy reading.
GIE’s mission is to help scale the most promising global development innovations by utilizing its ever-growing database of information to serve as a reliable fundraising resource for social entrepreneurs in low-and-middle-income countries, as well as a source of credible innovation data for the international development community including funders, scaling partners and other ecosystem players.
How a Jordanian scientist spreads the love of reading around the world…
To help kids in her neighborhood fall in love with reading, Dajani sought to replicate her own experience. So in 2006, she picked a ubiquitous public space for a reading circle: her local mosque. “It’s got a bathroom, it’s carpeted, it’s accessible, it’s safe, it’s empty in the mornings,” she said.
Donning a funny hat, she would offer animated readings of age-appropriate stories to the kids who showed up.
Jordan and Ethiopia were selected as We Love Reading case
studies for this paper. Jordan is where We Love Reading was
developed and pioneered, and both Jordan and Ethiopia are home
to large refugee communities, with a high number of children out of
the formal education system and suffering from the trauma of war
For the Love of Reading
Back in Amman in December 2005, Dajani noticed that despite Jordan’s 98-percent national literacy rate, it was rare to see children or adults reading on buses or in public. Libraries were few and their hours were short; none offered activities for children.
The International Jury of the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes met in early to July to deliberate the nominations submitted to UNESCO from around the world related to this year’s theme ‘Inclusive distance and digital literacy learning’, with a particular focus on youth and adult literacy.