06/10/2009 08:56 AM
Sharjah: The government initiative Knowledge Without Borders, which aims to instill the reading habit in children, held its second reading session featuring a celebrity on Tuesday.
"The initiative does not force children to read and give up their other activities, but celebrates and shows them the joys of reading and how it can be such a simple, yet exciting and interesting hobby to add to their young lives," said television personality Azza Zaarour.
"In doing so, it serves to build their imaginations and improve everything from their general knowledge ... to their verbal and reasoning skills."
Azza, a presenter with the MBC3 television channel, sat down with over 30 pupils from grade four at the Victoria International School of Sharjah (VISS) and read stories to them in Arabic and English. The Knowledge Without Borders campaign was initiated on the instructions of His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Sup-reme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and is headed by Shaikha Budoor Bint Sultan Al Qasimi.
Jan Senior, principal of the Junior School at VISS, said: "One of the goals in teaching students is to make them become avid readers. Every time they see an adult reading, it will get them to see how important reading can be."
At the end of the reading session, the children received books in Arabic and English that were donated by the Sharjah-based publishing house Kalimat.
"This is a multicultural school and we want the children to value both languages, as it is a real skill to have," added Senior.
The Knowledge Without Borders campaign was launched last November, and captured the popular imagination by providing every Emirati home with a library of books.
Families living in remote villages in Sharjah have been among the first to benefit from the initiative. These hamlets include Shais Village, Nahwa Village and Wadi Hilu. Each family receives 50 titles from various genres and aimed at various age groups with the subjects including religion, science and health besides works of fiction.
"We are in the process of distributing libraries of Arabic books to between 22,000 and 24,000 families to encourage reading within the family," said Marwan Jasem Al Serkal, deputy head of the Organising Committee for Knowledge Without Borders.
How early in life did you start building your personal library? Which style of literature do you most prefer to read? Have you tried to encourage reading habits among your children? How difficult was it?