About the Project
Context and Issue
Solution and Impact
Parents, teachers and librarians in the Arab world lack reading skills and habits. The WLR model provides a practical and sustainable approach to increase reading levels among children aged 4 to 10 by encouraging a love of reading. The program trains local women to hold read-aloud sessions in public spaces in their neighborhoods. WLR has trained 700 women and opened 300 libraries in Jordan, impacting more than 10,000 children. The model has spread throughout the Arab world and beyond.
WLR is changing attitudes by creating fun around reading. The project depends on networks of women who form a movement for social and cultural change through reading. In the short term, the program stimulates creativity in children -especially in girls who generally have fewer opportunities to participate in social events. It boosts women readers’ confidence to manage the libraries, empowering them to become community leaders. In the longer term, the program advances a skilled and creative generation of girls who will become empowered mothers. It will redefine women’s roles and enhance independence, ownership, advocacy and respect.
We Love Reading received the 2009 Synergos award for Arab world social innovators. The project was mentioned in Innovation in Education, published by Qatar Foundation in 2012. WLR has spread throughout Jordan, the Arab world and internationally.
In the upcoming years, the project seeks to:
- Use the model to raise awareness of the importance of reading in the Arab world and worldwide with the help of a comprehensive online, multilingual training toolkit and a video for readers with guidance on starting a neighborhood library.
- Evaluate the impact of the model on children in collaboration with JPAL poverty action lab/MIT for training evaluators.
- Explore funding to implement the model in the Syrian refugee communities in Jordan starting with a pilot project.
- Explore the project libraries as platforms for changing behavior by developing culturally sensitive children’s books that focus on peace and conflict.