In keeping with its goal to foster a culture of reading within the Emirates, the UAEBBY organised a workshop for librarians and elementary school Arabic teachers titled ‘A story is the starting point’. The workshop was organised as part of the ‘Read, Dream, Create’ campaign that aims to encourage interaction between the young and books, and build their capacity in reading, writing, innovation and creativity through children’s stories.
The two-day workshop, which was held on the side lines of the Sharjah International Book Fair, aimed to instruct librarians and teachers on how instil a love for the Arabic language through children’s books and literature. During the first day of the workshop, HE Humaid Mohammed Al Qutami, Minister of Education visited the workshop and was introduced to the its aims and the tools that is being used for improving the participants skills.
The workshop was an opportunity for teachers and librarians to gain valuable experience and aimed to guide participants on how to identify specific goals when setting up a library. The workshop also explored effective methods to implement a range of strategies for book displays. In addition Rania Zaghir – trainer of the workshop – emphasised how important it is for librarians and educators to know the books that they are displaying in their libraries, in order to be able to guide young readers to choose suitable reading materials. She stressed the vital need for teachers and librarians to gain a true understanding of the various types of stories available and to stay up to date with the range of publications that exist. During the workshop, Rania also guided the participants through various exercises aimed at broadening their reading activity skill sets.
Speaking about the workshop’s aims, Marwa Obaid Al Aqroubi, President of the UAEBBY Executive Board, said, “In today’s information driven world, creating a culture of reading is a vital undertaking in any society that wishes to continue to develop and progress. We are currently seeing a major surge in the creation of Arabic books for children and young adults and our goal with this workshop is to equip librarians and teacher to use these wonderful new titles to inspire a love for reading and the Arabic language among the younger generation.”
Rania Zaghir commented, “Let’s expose our young readers to new and unique books which are very different from the usual traditional children ones, which for years have focused upon education without providing the right keys to decipher complicated codes of modern life. Let’s select books with a smart, thoughtful language that links them to the present. Let’s join efforts to make reading Arabic books FUN.”
A renowned author and founder of Al Khayyat Al Saghir, Rania Zaghir is well-known for her innovative and unique writing style that is very different from the typical style found in traditional children’s books, which often focuses on education without imagination. Ms Zaghir has won several national and international awards for her original and creative children’s books.
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