The impact of the We Love Reading pilot program on the psychosocial health of participating children in Zaatari refugee camp (2014) Sarah Yazji, Yale University Catherine Panter-Brick, Yale University
We Love Reading was introduced in Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan through a pilot project in the summer of 2014. A psycho-social study designed by Yale University (USA) was conducted to assess the social and mental state of both the reading ambassadors and the children. The results in the test of resilience showed that the children who were read to had a greater ability to recover and return to a normal state after undergoing difficulties. There are a large number of children in Zaatari camp who are not enrolled in school for various reasons and reading aloud to these children encouraged them to go back to school. In addition, the children learned to love reading and to think and make decisions for themselves.
Reading about people’s feelings increases empathic concern and generosity in children (2014) Jean Decety, University of Chicago Jason M. Cowell, University of Chicago Rana Dajani, Hashemite University
In 2014, We Love Reading, in collaboration with the University of Chicago (USA), conducted a study measuring the impact of the We Love Reading model on increasing children’s ability to empathize with others. It showed that integrating the values of empathy into children’s stories increased children’s generosity by 100%. In addition, it increased children’s interest in and concern for others. Importantly, the intervention did not affect what is called “affective empathy” or pain sensitivity. These changes were not observed in children who were not read to and who did not participate in the reading sessions.
Reading social stories in the community: A promising intervention for promoting children’s environmental knowledge and behavior in Jordan. Published in The Journal of Environmental Education 48, no. 5 (June 1, 2017), p. 334–46 Randa Ali Mahasneh, Qatar University Michael H. Romanowski, Qatar University Rana Dajani, Hashemite University
The results of this research, conducted in collaboration with the University of Qatar, indicated that through reading aloud, children’s knowledge about environmental issues increased significantly. Children who attended reading sessions became more aware of issues and a positive behavior change was noted in relation to electricity and water consumption and littering, as reported by parents. The We Love Reading model was more effective and sustainable than traditional methods such as television and billboards, and it works to improve environmental problems at the grassroots level.
We Love Reading – A women’s literacy program in the Arab world. Published in Ohio ASCD Journal, (Winter/Spring 2017), p.15-24 Rana Dajani, Hashemite University Abdullah Awad, Cambridge University
Around the world, women have been marginalized. Advances in their lives and status have been slow and difficult. Poverty, politics, culture, and conflict have stood in the way of empowerment and opportunities for women. While many programs in today’s world address women’s issues in an effort to empower women and improve their livelihoods, an area that has not been fully explored, and that will have a tremendous impact on the lives and well-being of women, is the importance of reading among women. This article highlights the role that the We Love Reading program can play in empowering women as leaders and change-makers in their communities.
Evaluation of the effectiveness of implementing the We Love Reading Program on children’s reading attitude and practices (2018) Randa Mahasneh, Hashemite University Rana Dajani, Hashemite University
UNICEF Jordan conducted an evaluation of the We Love Reading program and the findings showed that the intervention significantly increased the reading practices of children aged 4-12 years old. All children who participated in the WLR program increased their reading practices, by an average of 34%. This increase in reading practices was evident across the board, regardless of gender or geographical location. Furthermore, there was a significant increase in children who reported that they liked to read after participating in the reading sessions.
Exploring a newly developed measure to assess children’s interest in school in Jordan. Presented at the 63rd Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society in San Francisco (2019) Antje von Suchodoletz, New York University Abu Dhabi Randa Mahasneh, Hashemite University Rana Dajani, Hashemite University
The research is presented at the CIES conference in San Francisco. To date, a majority of research has focused on the cognitive domain of learning whereas the affective domain, such as values and attitudes toward learning, has largely been neglected. However, students’ values and attitudes influence how they approach and organize learning on a day-to-day basis. This study developed and tested a short self-report measure of school interest in Jordan. A regression analysis, controlling for family background variables, showed a significant association with age, confirming the hypothesis that older children report lower levels of school interest. In addition, gender was significantly associated with school interest, indicating that boys had lower levels of school interest.
Improvement in children’s executive function and emotional regulation through the We Love Reading Programm (2018) Rana Dajani, Alya Al-Sager and Dima Amso
This research is presented at the MIT Linc 2019 Conference. The We Love Reading model was implemented in a school in Salt, Jordan, to children aged 6 to 8 years old. The teachers read aloud to the children for fun once a week for a period of three months. The children and parents were assessed at two-time points, before and after the program. The parents also kept a log of activities and the results showed that children who were symptomatic for anxiety and depression showed improvements in executive functions, emotional regulation, and preliteracy function. Improvement in executive function in this age range is a predictor of lifelong educational and socioeconomic achievement.