Planting the Love of Reading
Rana Dajani, Founder of the We love Reading (WLR) program has developed an innovative model that provides a practical, cost efficient, sustainable, grassroots approach that involves youth, women and men and the community to increase reading levels among children by focusing on the read aloud experience to plant the love of reading. We Love Reading started in Jordan, and has spread to 35 countries, becoming a social movement.
The WLR program constitutes training to local youth, women and men to hold reading sessions in public spaces where books are routinely read aloud to children in their native language in their neighborhoods. To date WLR has trained 3,460 youth, women and men, established 1,570 WLR libraries all over Jordan and enriched the lives of over 50,000 children. WLR conducted more than 100,000 reading sessions and printed and distributed over 300,000 children’s books all over Jordan.
Rana Dajani receives one of ten 2018 Klaus J. Jacobs Awards for social innovation and engagement. With the award money of CHF 100,000 Rana Dajani plans to upgrade the online training course on how to start We Love Reading in your community by introducing the latest technology and pedagogical tools and offering additional languages.
“Reading can unlock children’s hidden potential to become change makers.”
The WLR program does not require any infrastructure, simply a volunteer and some books. The model can be implemented at low cost and on the spot and has the potential to reach many more children across the world. WLR chooses books that are age appropriate, attractive, neutral in content, in the native language of the child. In addition to promoting the experience of reading, it empowers youth and women readers to become leaders in their communities, builds ownership in the children and community members and serves as a platform for raising awareness on issues such as health and environment by reading stories about such issues.
In 2018, the Jacobs Foundation bestows 10 awards to social innovators and change makers in the field of child and youth development. Each award will come with an amount of CHF 100’000. The recipients provide solutions for positive child and youth development at low cost, which are sustainable and can be easily implemented on the spot. What the ten awardees have in common is their wish for social change and their restless personal social engagement. They are beyond talking – they act.