Promoting Youth Reading in the Arab World

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Across the region, youth reading habits are poor. We propose a program to motivate children in grades K-6 to read by rewarding reading accomplishments with praise, recognition, and tangible awards.

Across the region, youth reading habits are poor. We propose a program to motivate children in grades K-6 to read by rewarding reading accomplishments with praise, recognition, and tangible awards.

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  • 1. Youth Reading Incentive ProgramAbout Us Tahseen Consulting is an advisor on strategic and organizational issues facing governments, social sector institutions, and corporations in the Arab World. You can read more about our capabilities at tahseen.aePublic Sector We propose a program to motivate children in grades K-6 to ▲Social Sector read by rewarding reading accomplishmentsCorporate ResponsibilityCONFIDENTIAL AND PROPRIETARYAny use of this material without specific permission of Tahseen Consulting is strictlyprohibited www.tahseen.ae | 1
  • 2. A youth reading incentive program will encourage life long reading, reinforce reading inArabic, and embed reading as a core family value The Need: Few statistics on childhood reading exist; However, a study from Egypt highlights several trends likely applicable across the region A study of 440 Egyptian children from 6 to 15 revealed the following: Goal and Strategic Objectives Reading Habits Poor: • 49% of the children do not read books; Goal: Motivate children in grades K-6 to read by rewarding • 22% of children read books regularly (Kandeel, 1997) reading accomplishments with praise, recognition, and tangible awards. Social Background Influences Reading Habits: • Middle and upper-class children are more frequent readers than Strategic Objectives working class children ; • Upper class and children in urban areas have access to more media • Offer a free program in classrooms that allows teachers to than do poorer children and those in rural areas set reading goals to complement curricula and build reading skills High Book Prices Reduce Reading Levels: • Expose students to the power of reading at an early age to • Although the amount of books for children has increased recently, the encourage life-long reading high price of books make it difficult to buy them (Labib 1994) • Cement Arabic language reading skills at an early age Reading Habits Can be Addressed at School and In the Home: • 44% of children read alone, 22.2 % with friends, 21.9% with family • Train adults to transform children into readers and book members, and 11.6% with a teacher (Labib 1994) lovers. Lack of Children’s Book Writers: • Provide a family-oriented experience to embed a reading • Specialized writers for children are very few and most are not up to and learning culture as a family value standards or comparable regions (Kandeel, 1997) • Link learning outcomes to incentives that decrease household consumption thereby reducing parental choice of Internationally children working over pursuing additional schooling • Children who don’t have books and who don’t read are among the most vulnerable – they are less likely to succeed in school and life • Poor childhood nutrition leads to delay in primary school enrollment, repetition, and lower cognitive development and outcomes | 2
  • 3. Trends in childhood literacy in the United States have been researched extensively and may provide additional strategic directionChildren in Poverty are Most at Risk• There is a lack of age-appropriate books especially in low-income neighborhoods• Children from low-income families are exposed to an average of only 25 hours of one-on-one reading time compared to an average of 1,000 to 1,700hours for children from middle-class families• The gap between children from low and high-income families on reading comprehension scores is more than 40 points• Children from low-income families have far fewer literacy and language experiences at home than their classmatesThe Impact on Children, Families, and Communities• Large numbers of adults in correctional institutions cannot read or write at all• Juvenile offenders often have reading problems.• Illiteracy and low literacy in adults can be linked to almost every socioeconomic problem in the United States and abroad. Low literate adults: • Do poorly in the job market • Lack the skills to help their children be successful in school • Are more likely to suffer from poor health • Are more likely to receive public assistanceAccess to Books is Essential to Reading Development• Having access to a wide variety of reading materials is essential if a child is to grow and develop into a strong reader• For many children, the home environment is the place they are introduced to books and reading.• Children exposed to a number of reading experiences learn to love books and stories - a love that they often take into adulthood.• Children from low-income families have no books in their homes or classrooms, as a result, direct access to books is extremely limited for these children•The only behavioral measure that correlates significantly with reading scores is the number of books in the home• The more types of reading materials there are in the home, the higher students score in reading proficiency• Students who do more reading at home are better readers and have higher math scoresSource: Staff Analysis | 3
  • 4. Publishers, teachers, parents, and strategic partners will share the common goal ofincreasing childhood reading; students will be incented to read with rewards and recognition 4 Target children in grades K-6 (ages 5 -12) Parents read aloud to children to involve the family and establish an at-home reading routine; also receive read aloud tips and refrigerator reminders 1 2 3 6 Result Publishers provide free Students assigned reading More lifelong Teacher sets goals; class books to teachers and 3-5 reading, parental guides goal s and incented for learners, readers, books per student meeting targets and book lovers 5 Incentive partners provide awards and vouchers for meeting reading goals, password to unlock games on reading portal | 4
  • 5. The low-income countries in the Arab World with sizable youth populations could be initial target beneficiaries of a reading incentive program Income 2007 GDP Country Population (millions) Though no Group Per Capita Somalia $600 9.56 concrete statistics Mauritania $931 2.961 exist, international Population Age <15 (%) Low Income Yemen $972 22.29 trends suggest that Palestine $1,067 2.8 children from these Tunisia Djibouti $1,099 0.765 low-income countries likely Algeria Comoros Islands $1,100 0.73 have little direct Morocco Sudan $1,242 37.159 access to books in Egypt Egypt $1,739 73.574 either classrooms Jordan Syrian Arab Republic $1,946 19.405 Lower Middle or at home Morocco $2,389 30.732 Syria Jordan $2,795 5.728 Djibouti Tunisia $3,398 10.304 Mauritania Iraq $3,600 28.22 Sudan Algeria $3,825 34.4 Iraq Lebanon $6,569 3.751 Comoros middle Upper Libya $9,372 6.089 Saudi Arabia $15,481 24.289 Palestinian Territory Oman $15,584 2.57 Somalia Bahrain $25,731 0.764 Yemen Income Kuwait $33,634 3.31 High United Arab Emirates $42,934 4.486 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% Qatar $72,849 0.93 Potential Approach: Initially target countries with large youth populations and low incomes Phase 1 Target Countries (2009 and 2010) Phase 2 Target Countries (2011 and beyond) Egypt (24 million children) Iraq (12 million children) Palestine (1 million children) Sudan (15 million children) Syria (7 million children) Comoros (306,000) Morocco (9 million children) Total children <15: Somalia (4 million children) Djibouti (298,350) 68 million Algeria (10 million children) Tunisia (3 million children) Yemen (10 million children) Jordan (2 million children) Total children <15: 28.5 millionSources: IMF, CIA World Fact Book, Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, PRB 2007 World Population Data Sheet
  • 6. Initiative Overview Suggested roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders Partnership-based business Students Teachers Parents model to scale rapidlyBook Donations from Publishers Regional Advisory Board – Offer Read Aloud to Children - read Book ownership: Children have– seek large-scale donations of expertise to suggest books and aloud to their child to involve the the opportunity to choose and keepnew books directly from publishers. age appropriate reading lists, family and establish an at-home five books per year at no cost to develop read aloud tips, train other reading routine. If parent is the children or their families. • Exploration of book teachers, provide lesson plans. illiterate, leverage older children as marketplace to offer volunteers. Meet Reading Challenges – subsidized books Participation Strive towards reading challenges • Annual enrollment takes place Monitor Child – Ensure that child issued by teacher. • Literacy website on before start of school year; is meeting reading goals. Arabic Book portal that principals sent enrollment packets; Track Reading Goals - Every generates money from Encourage Summer Reading – child must track reading goals advertising to fund books – • Teachers provided books and in based on book list developed by under guidance of teachers and www.literacysite.com class materials; Overview of advisory board, encourage summer parents. reading in which students reads 5+Two Critical Touch Points proposed books and are eligible to enter a Summer Reading – Teachers • Teacher sets reading goals for children in the class; initiative contest to win prizes. assign summer reading list from• Classroom: Teachers read to which students choose 5 books tochildren in their class at least 60 Collect Books At Libraries – One read over the summer. • When child meets monthly possible distribution point for booksminutes a week in addition to other reading goal, teacher rewardsclassroom activities and awards. is neighborhood libraries which Online Reading Tutorials – Via accomplishment with praise, could complement in class book recognition, external incentive; book portal, offer interactive distribution. content that enrich reading• At Home: Teachers provide toolsfor parents to use at home when experience • Potential to engage older childrenthey read aloud to their child. other organizations to mentor younger students who haveOther Strategic Partners illiterate parents;• Distribution Partner – On the • Young Readers Day - an annualground marketing and distribution event in which local “celebrities”of books to classrooms. read aloud a favorite book to classrooms;• Incentive Partners – Contributefree consumer products/services • All star readers contest - everythat incent children to read and student in the class has to meet allincrease family incomes. monthly reading goals.
  • 7. • For Further Information About This Initiative ‫للمزيد من المعلومات عن هذه المبادرة‬ • To get a copy of the full presentation or to ‫للحصول على العرض التقديمي الكامل لهذه المبادرة يرجى‬ discuss the findings, please contact Walid Aradi ‫االتصال بـوليد العرادي على العنوان‬ walid.aradi@tahseen.ae walid.aradi@tahseen.ae• For Inquiries About Our Services and ‫• لالستفسار عن خدماتنا ولعرض أفكاركم علينا‬ Requests for Proposals ‫لالستفسار عن خدماتنا أو عرض أفكاركم علينا يرجى االتصال‬ To inquire about our services or submit a request ‫بنا عبر اإلنترنت باستخدام النموذج أدناه أو إرسال بريد إلكتروني‬ for proposal, please contact us using the online fikra@tahseen.ae ‫إلى‬ form or send an e-mail to fikra@tahseen.ae• For Organizations Interested in Alliances ‫• بالنسبة للمنظمات التي لديها اهتمام بالدخول في اتفاقيات شراكة‬ ‫وفي تحالفات مع شركة تحسين لالستشارات‬ We are interested in opportunities where our technical skills and expertise can be used to ‫إننا مهتمون بالفرص التي يمكن من خاللها استخدام مهاراتنا‬ complement or diversify those of potential ‫وخبراتنا الفنية لتكميل أو لتنويع مهارات وخبرات شركائنا‬ partners to pursue specific government funding ّ ‫المحتملين بما يمكن من السعي للحصول على تمويل حكومي أو‬ opportunities, commercial contracts, or RFPs. To begin a discussion about entering into an alliance ‫عقود تجارية. لبدء نقاش حول الدخول في تحالف مع شركة‬ with Tahseen Consulting, please contact Walid ‫تحسين لالستشارات يرجى االتصال بوليد العرادي على العنوان‬ Aradi at walid.aradi@tahseen.ae walid.aradi@tahseen.ae• For Members of the Press or Media ‫• بالنسبة للعاملين في الصحافة أو في وسائل اإلعالم‬ For media inquiries, please contact Wes Schwalje ّ ‫لالستفسارات المقدمة من قبل وسائل اإلعالم يرجى االتصال بـ‬ at wes.schwalje@tahseen.ae wes.schwalje@tahseen.ae ‫ويـزلي شـوالييه على العنوان‬