The We Love Reading (WLR) programme from Jordan received the UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize in 2017, and since then, it has gone on reaching children in 55 countries around the world.
WLR is a grassroots community Programme which prides itself to fostering the love of reading among children and youth; empowering youth and adults to become change makers through reading aloud in their communities; and creating resilience among children, youth and adults through reading.
And rightfully so, the WLR programme has proven to reduce stress and anxiety in the past and boosting mental health and resilience among vulnerable populations such as refugees or people with low socioeconomic status.
The programme aims to tackle the fact that the majority of children around the world don’t read for fun. It builds on the logic that without reading for pleasure, children won’t reap the real benefits of reading, such as widening their imagination, increasing their vocabulary, heightening their empathy, confidence and resilience.
Since the beginning of COVID-19, the programme launched a specific ‘We Love Reading plan for Corona’.
“The plan for Corona is about local volunteers reading aloud to children in their neighborhoods or at home in the context of COVID-19. Reading aloud is a way to motivate them to love reading and in this way become lifelong learners,” explains Ms Rana Dajani, the Founder of We Love Reading.
“All these benefits become especially important when education is compromised. Reading for pleasure becomes a placeholder until learning goes back to normal. Maybe it is the only way of learning during this crisis,” says Ms Dajani.
Other initiatives of the programme during the COVID-19 crisis have included posting free audio and textbooks online in English and Arabic; recordings of WLR ambassadors reading stories aloud, and WLR ambassadors posting inspiring social media messages from around the world to testify how they are coping and dealing with the crisis.