Getting kids to read – Qatar Reading Campaign Character Village

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We all know the importance of reading to babies and kids. We have heard time and again how reading to kids at an early age is important to build stronger relationships, speech skills, mastery of language, logical thinking and cognitive development. However, it’s common nowadays to just play a cartoon or edutainment video on the tablets for the kids while the parents are busy with their own smartphones. I myself am guilty of doing this with the kids (they don’t get screen-time but yeah I do let them get bored while I browse on my phone)

Nevertheless, I have always tried my best to instill a love for books. Since my eldest daughter was a baby, I have bought her books and we have now a small collection of baby books, board books, coloring books and preschool books in both English and Arabic, which I am trying to home-school her a little bit in before she starts school while keeping my toddler son engaged with some activity (although he will want just that one pencil and the same book his sister is using).

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Although I have a long way to go in terms of reading to them regularly and consistently, I have seen the effect. They love being around books, even if they don’t read, they would just scribble, grab some stickers and stick all over or just get excited seeing the pictures. I have myself grown up reading a lot as my parents focused on it. Our dad used to regularly take me and my siblings to one of the few libraries in Doha back then and I loved it as much as kids love going into a candy shop.

Qatar National Reading Campaign

An initiative of the Qatar Foundation, launched this year, is a welcome move to make the public aware of the importance of reading and to create the interest in reading among young children.
More information can be found on their website here.

Character Village at Education City

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This weekend from 24-26 of Nov, they are having the amazing Character Village event at the stunning Ceremonial Court in Education City. A fun, engaging and colorful event with lots of books, storytelling sessions and loads of arts and crafts activities. I was so very excited when I first heard of it and made it a point to visit on the very first day today. Here’s a quick roundup of what’s in store:

Upon walking in all kids are registered, given an ID band and a passport in which they collect the stamps for all the activities that they do.

  1. Alice in Wonderland. The kid’s are given an enthralling and engaging ride through this classic story by characters and a fantastically designed set complete with the insanely attractive garden, the shrunken room and all. There are two groups – one in English and Arabic. Its the most popular of all the attractions and everyone has to queue up as they finish batch by batch. Totally worth the wait and in the end they take pictures which are printed out instantly outside the set. Don’t forget to collect yours!

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2) A story maze and also a life sized jigsaw which the kids will need help lifting

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3) Arts and crafts activities including letter writing on black scratchpads laid over colorful paper (the kids are absolutely delighted to just scribble over it), card making, and spoon puppet making.

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4) A reading van and another reading area with comfy bean bags. There are not many English books, more of Arabic, but the volunteers are very friendly and can help you find suitable books for your kid’s age. They are also expecting more English books to be included over the next two days

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5) A storytelling session every half an hour in both English and Arabic.

6) Lots of photo props of famous characters like Sindbad, Red Riding hood and Pinochio and photo ops with characters walking around too.

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It was an evening well spent and thoroughly enjoyed by the kids. Make sure to stop by for a visit over the next two days with the little ones.

More information, photos and snap stories can be found on the social media channel of Qatar Reads here:
Instagram  |  Facebook event

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