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Updated Sep 09, 2019

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We Love Reading

We Love Reading is a grassroots community based program to encourage children to love reading for fun.

http://www.welovereading.org/
Ranadajani

Rana Dajani

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Stage 6: Sustainable Scale

WLR's model is formulated in such a way that it can be tailored to fit many different cultural contexts. Children's Reading Day in Turkey was developed after receiving training from WLR. WLR is spreading village to village in Uganda as a result of local radio announcements. In the United States, Arabic read-aloud sessions are taking place in public libraries in an attempt to encourage immigrant parents to read to their children. In Thailand, WLR is being run by a nurse in an AIDS orphanage. We Love Reading (WLR) started in 2006 with one library serving 20 children. As of December 2018, there are more than 4300 libraries all over the world. WLR has trained more than 7300 individuals to read aloud in these libraries and is impacting 10,000 children directly and 50,000 children indirectly.

Registered in Jordan.

Focus Areas:

Entrepreneurship, Refugees, Social and Behavior Change and 5 MoreSEE ALL

Entrepreneurship, Refugees, Social and Behavior Change, Education, Literacy, Parent & Family Engagement, Teacher Development and Training and Human Centered DesignSEE LESS

Implemented In:

Lebanon, Palestinian Territories, Tunisia and 48 MoreSEE ALL

Lebanon, Palestinian Territories, Tunisia, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Greece, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Algeria, Bangladesh, Egypt, Germany, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Oman, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United States, Hong Kong, Argentina, Bolivia, Canada, Congo, Democratic Republic of the, Ethiopia, France, Sudan, Australia, Kenya, Sweden, United Kingdom, Costa Rica, Pakistan, Qatar, Somalia, Yemen, Central African Republic, Cyprus, Indonesia, Mali, Iran, Macedonia, Norway, Sierra Leone, Syria, Vietnam, Denmark, India, Panama and ItalySEE LESS

5
Key Partners
51
Countries Implemented In
7,300
Customers
15
Employee
$4,000,000
Funds Raised to Date
Verified Funding
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Problem

Reading is essential to the development of children’s personalities, imaginations, and cognitive skills. Children must learn to love and enjoy reading to reap its benefits. By instilling the love of reading, we contribute towards a culture of awareness, education, and lifelong learning. Such a program helps foster a generation of changemakers that can identify challenges and develop solutions that are local, sustainable, and practical. In fact, through the program, we are alleviating many of the challenges to start with because of raised awareness, improved cognition, and executive function. Many programs that attempted to encourage reading by providing books have failed. Research has shown that reading aloud is key in nurturing the love of reading. In the more economically developed countries, reading aloud is institutionalized and is part of school curricula and literacy programs, and this involves the efforts of parents, teachers, and librarians. Although these roles are present in other less economically developed countries, the culture hasn’t embedded a sense of enthusiasm for reading aloud, and many lack the reading skills and habits.

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Solution

Therefore, we have developed an innovative model that provides a practical, cost efficient, sustainable, grassroots approach that involves women and the community to increase reading levels among children 0-10 by focusing on the readaloud experience to plant the love of reading. WLR program constitutes training local women, men and youth to hold readaloud sessions in public spaces in their neighborhoods where books are routinely read aloud to children. 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, WLR empowers women, men and youth 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 through reading books on the particular themes. The model can be replicated anywhere. It uses an existing common public space e.g. the mosque or community center. It doesn’t need a bookshelf since all books are given out, requiring only a collection of books that are read again and again. The woman who reads aloud doesn’t have to be highly educated and trained. The women receiving training are required to “pay it forward”, by sharing newly acquired knowledge and training to another woman to become a reader creating a domino effect. The trained reader is welcomed because she is from the neighborhood. The community starts to respect women and supports their roles as leaders and future change agents. The community also starts to invest in the collection, building ownership and responsibility of the library. Reading has traditionally been considered boring or a waste of time outside of academic or religious contexts. WLR is changing attitudes and letting people know that reading is fun. WLR is achieving impact at scale because WLR is a simple effective product that appeals to its market of mothers and children. WLR depends on networks of women who already resemble a movement to bring about social change through reading. WLR aims to develop long term cultural change. WLR isn’t delivering services which need support systems, it’s creating capabilities in thousands of local women enabling them to be creative for themselves. Organizations need hierarchs but movements need causes, shared values, common goals to pull them together and give them a purpose, reading is the means but the cause is to get young children to realize they can and should think for themselves. The model is formulated in a way that each person can tailor the model to fit their culture, their needs while maintaining the essence of the model, aiding in building ownership to the movement and sustainability. The We Love Reading model has evolved into a framework to nurture social entrepreneurship. Young men and women are discovering the potential inside them to become changemakers in their communities through the library they establish in their neighbourhood. They have started their own initiatives serving their communities by identifying the problems that bother them and coming up with grassroots solutions to develop their country. WLR has tangible outcomes to transform, 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.

Target Beneficiaries

Adult local volunteers: men, women, youth who can read a child’s book in the native language of the child Children: 1- 12 of age We Love Reading works with all ages. As long as the adult is trained in how to read aloud, chose books and has been given the support to feel empowered. The biggest challenges are keeping the volunteers motivated which is solved by using the Global ambassador network. This keeps the volunteers connected and supported. The app uses gamification but is not designed to be competitive, but rather collaborative. One issue posed was how to gather information without making volunteers feel like they are being monitored or having to report through the app. This has been addressed by designing an interface and features that make the user feel like they are partaking in a social movement

Mission and Vision

Vision: is to foster the love of reading in children all over the world Mission: is to provide a complete, sustainable accessible cost efficient grassroots flexible “read aloud program” to foster love of reading among children empowering communities through activism of local volunteers from the MENA and rest of the world.WLR, a Jordanian initiative has developed a ‘read-aloud’ program and lending system of books delivered through training local volunteers to run libraries in local neighborhoods.

Innovation Description

We Love Reading (WLR) promotes an appreciation for learning by establishing community libraries and training local women to lead read aloud sessions for young children.
How does your innovation work? WLR evaluates its training sessions and the psychosocial status and leadership skills of trained readers before and after the program by issuing questionnaires. It follows up with trained readers during the implementation of the program via phone and email and evaluates children through questionnaires administered by the trained readers.

Competitive Advantage

1. we occupy a unique niche in the social needs landscape. We address the challenge of lack of love of reading aliracy. No other organisations works on this problem. 2. we have developed a simple easy practical cost efficient sustainable, grassroots model to address the challenge. The model is formulated in a way that each person can tailor the model to fit their culture, their needs while maintaining the essence of the model, aiding in building ownership to the project and sustainability. 3. We have adopted a focused approach on this issue, not allowing ourselves to be distracted or diluting what we do with other secondary activities. 4. Our program is a continuous development through interaction and feedback from the volunteers themselves. 5. Our program is based on academic research that we perform in collaboration with prestigious universities such as Yale and Harvard to ensure that our model is being evaluated and developed all the time. to make it stronger more robust and real. 6. We have developed a sustainable business model that does not depend on grants but on creating partnerships with other NGOs empowering them to implement the program. 7. We are scaling by empowering partners to become a movement that is spreading all over the world. WLR depends on networks of women who already resemble a movement to bring about social change through reading.

Planned Goals and Milestones

WLR has shared its model at various speaking events. Specifically, WLR has been present at events at the Queen Rania Teachers' Academy, Yale, USAID, Cambridge University, the World Bank, Arab Bankers USA, and the Ruben Foundation. WLR encourages its trained readers to pay it forward and train someone else. This, coupled with WLR's presence at events and in the media, has allowed WLR to expand into 52 additional countries outside of Jordan and impact a total of 440,000 children worldwide.Parents have reported that children exhibit higher self confidence and academic performance and that they are likely to buy and read books rather than toys.

Milestones

Aug 2019
New Country Implemented In
Italy
Apr 2019
In the News
TITLEFor Refugee Children, Reading Helps Heal Trauma
Mar 2019
Recognition ReceivedVERIFIED
May 2009
Recognition ReceivedPENDING
TITLEFinalist, Ahel Al-Himmeh Award
ORGANIZATIONQueen Rania’s Award for Community Champions “Ahel Al Himmeh”
Feb 2006
Created
Date Unknown
Recognition ReceivedVERIFIED
Profiled on CEI

Supporting Materials

WLR-Special-Edition-EN.pdf
Promising-Practices-English.pdf
Fall-2017-1001-story-times.pdf