Jordanian We Love Reading has been chosen as the recipient of the 2017 UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize under the theme of ‘literacy in a digital world.’ The prize, consisting of a sum of US $20,000, a medal, and a certificate, honors outstanding contributions made to literacy, with special consideration given to the use and dissemination of mother-tongue languages.
The prize have been presented at an official ceremony at UNESCO’s Headquarters in Paris on 8 September, International Literacy Day where Dr. Rana gave a speech about the importance of reading.
Founded in 2006 by Dr. Rana Dajani, We Love Reading (WLR) is an innovative model that provides a practical, cost efficient, sustainable, grassroots approach that involves women, men, youth and the community to increase reading levels among children by focusing on the read aloud experience to plant the love of reading.”Why? Because reading is the most important action as humans that we can do and the most important help/ advise/ guide we can give others if nothing else.” – from Dr. Rana speech at the UNESCO cermony.
The We Love Reading (WLR) program constitutes training local women and youth to hold read aloud sessions in public spaces in their neighborhoods. WLR chooses books that are age-appropriate, attractive, neutral in content, and written in the mother tongue language of the child. Using this framework, WLR has developed 30 Arabic-language children’s books focused on themes like environmental conservation, gender, refugees, non-violence, disabilities, and social inclusion. This has begun developing a culture of literacy among the children – they discuss and recommend books and authors to their friends, and parents say that their children exhibit higher self confidence and academic achievement, and that they are likely to buy and read books rather than toys.
In addition to this, WLR empowers women, men and youth readers to become leaders and social entrepreneurs 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. “We Love Reading is a movement to create change makers through reading to make this worls a better place for future generations of humanity” said Dr. Rana in her speech at the UNESCO cermony.
WLR has trained 2000 women and men, created 1500 libraries, directly impacted 40,000 children (60% girls) and indirectly impacted 100,000 individuals in Jordan. It has partnered with local and private businesses and government organizations to spread the WLR model across 33 countries including Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Iraq, Tunisia, Turkey, Thailand, Mexico, Malaysia, Uganda, Germany and Azerbaijan.
WLR has tangible outcomes in transforming, in a short period of time, a whole generation of children into readers who love, enjoy, and respect books through the establishment of a library in every neighborhood in the world, whose impact on development of society is immeasurable.
- WLR won the Stars award impact 2015
- WLR won the Open IDEAO 2015 best idea for education for refugees.
- Winner for the WISE award 2014
- We love reading has been chosen along with MIT open courseware to be a case in the book Innovation in education commissioned by WISE Qatar foundation by Charles Leadbeater. It was published in 2012
- Complimentary membership to the Clinton Global Initiative 2010
- One of the Library of congress literacy awards best practices 2013
- Included in UNESCO lit database
- Awarded the King Hussein Medal of Honor 2014
- Awarded the 2009-2010 Arab world Social innovator from Synergos for the project “We Love Reading”
“We Love Reading started in Jordan as a solution to a local challenge and now it has spread to33 countries and counting… Who will go home today and start We Love Reading in their country?”