New Books for Gaza Children Encourage Reading
Maisoun is a preschool teacher on a mission: to help Gaza children learn to read.
Seated on a child-sized chair in her Gaza classroom, teacher Maisoun Abedmoeti says her priority is to make story time fun for children. And, she wants to share her tools and know-how to accomplish that with parents who then can help their children learn to read. Maisoun teaches a preschool in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza, where a group of teachers took Anera’s preschool teacher training session on teaching children to read. She says it was both a motivating and an engaging experience.
“It has fueled me with positive energy,” Maisoun smiles. “Life in Gaza has made us lose that sense of inner optimism and the teacher training helped me dig deep inside myself and restore it.” Reading, she says, puts her in a different mood. “We can dive into a world that is rich with endless imagination.”
Maisoun is thrilled with Anera’s gift of colorful book bags that are filled with story books, coloring books and crayons. There are also useful brochures for parents and teachers that contain valuable tips on how to maximize the resources on hand.
She says reading was a powerful tool to help her own five children overcome their fears during the 2014 Gaza war. And, she found their love of reading and their connection to the stories they read have continued months after the conflict ended. “I hope all children can continue to read at preschools and homes.”
Hanadi Azeez echoed the teacher’s delight with the book bags. She has seen how reading has helped expand her five-year-old daughter’s vocabulary. “I am sometimes surprised by the words she uses and how she can name things so clearly and correctly.”
She says Jomana becomes more excited when they read together a story that she had listened to in her school’s reading session. “I see clearly how important it is to read with them at home and also when our children can read to us,” she says.
Jomana says her favorite book is the hilarious story of “Busy Beaver.” Jomana holds tight to her mother’s hand while she reads aloud until she gently falls asleep.
Jomana’s older brother, Khaled, who had attended the preschool a few years earlier, has a passion for reading. He borrows books from the school library and reads to his younger sisters. After school, Khaled and his sibling often gather in a quiet spot at home to exchange stories from school and flip through the pages of their favorite books from their book bags.
Hanadi says she likes to read to her children and use the stories to convey good habits. “I am so pleased. What better gift than books to help my children learn.”