Reading in Preschools – Let’s Read!

July 9, 2013 ANERA
Early Childhood Development, Education
Palestinian children reading in a Bethlehem, West Bank preschool. ANERA's early childhood education program encourages a love of reading.

The Reality in the West Bank and Gaza

The benefits of reading to young children are numerous. Research shows that children who are exposed to stimulating and high quality reading materials are likely to have lasting benefits on their cognitive, social and emotional development. Those who read in their homes have much better language and literacy skills when they grow up. They also are better prepared for further schooling. Sadly, though, Palestinian children have little access to quality books and reading materials, either at home or at school. Many teachers and parents lack “reading aloud” skills and an understanding of just how vital reading is to development.

ANERA’s Response

Encouraging the love of reading and storytelling is one key component to ANERA’s early childhood development work with Palestinian communities in the West Bank and Gaza. The Let’s Read! (Hayya Naqra!) program ensures that young children can access, use and enjoy quality books and learning materials. It also increases teacher and parental awareness of the importance of reading aloud and making the experience fun and interactive.

How It Works

Step 1: Develop and distribute bookbags to preschoolers filled with children’s books and resources.

Step 2: Install in preschools special, comfortable, book-filled spaces just for reading and storytelling. 

Step 3: Equip teachers and parents with “reading aloud” skills that make reading interactive.

Step 4: Enhance the Palestine’s publishing capacity to produce quality children’s resources.

Meet Right Start! Teachers in Gaza:

Reading at El Shatee Preschool in Gaza, now a regular part of their education routineAbeer Saleha, director of the El-Shatee Preschool in Gaza: “Reading now has become part of our daily routine and our colorful reading corner is lined with shelves filled with colorful books and educational materials where the children can go and pick what they want to read.” Read more >>

Tahreer, a summer camp supervisor in Gaza, sits with come kids as they paint.Gaza community worker Tahreer El Dbeeki, after three-day training with ANERA: “When I started the reading corner I had only 15 children but the number quickly grew to 38. They came to listen and read…it is great to see how well the children interact with the activities and with each other” Read more >>

A preschool teacher with her students in their classroom.Randa El Ijlaa, teacher at a Gaza preschool teacher: “We had a child who was violent and used to rip books into pieces. This year he simply loves school and likes to tell me stories about his home and siblings. I believe this change comes from the new reading corner, where he spends lots of time.” Read more >>