Reading Time: 5 minutes

Initiative celebrates the theme: “What is your Footprint?”

All Kindergarten to Cycle 1 public and private schools take part in the initiative which runs from April 16th – May 2nd 2017

As part of the Abu Dhabi Education Council’s (ADEC) 2016-2017 Abu Dhabi Reads initiative, all Kindergarten to Cycle 1 schools across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi are taking part in reading related initiatives starting today under the theme “What is your Footprint?”

In its 5th year, this year’s Abu Dhabi Reads links with the idea that reading results in learnings and the broadening of ideas, enabling people to create their marks and make history.

As part of the Abu Dhabi Reads initiative, schools are organizing scheduled events for their students from April 16th 2017 to May 2nd 2017 as well as workshops for teachers and parents.

To mark the event, ADEC organized an Abu Dhabi Reads 2017 launch for approximately 200 public and private school leaders, where a welcoming speech was delivered by His Excellency Dr. Ali Al Nuaimi, ADEC’s Director General. “Each year, Abu Dhabi Reads plays a pivotal role in highlighting the importance of reading amongst our youth and the community in general. Reading has become a daily habit for many of our students due to the different reading related activities and interactive events organized, as well as updates in technology that have made reading and writing way more accessible and enjoyable. Nowadays, one can read anywhere he/she goes, which correlates with ADEC’s mission to facilitate reading for students and encourage reading as a daily routine and habit.”

Dr. Al Nuaimi highlighted the important role school leaders, teachers and parents play in encouraging students to read, regardless of where they are. “Cafes, home, schools – reading must be a daily habit that a student takes on. Our strong partnership with schools and parents is exactly why we are confident that we will succeed in turning our students into well equipped, reliable youth, who are able to contribute in building up the economy thanks to their knowledge and strong literacy background.”

Commenting on the this year’s Abu Dhabi Reads initiative, Dr. Sara Al-Suwaidi, Abu Dhabi Reads Committee Head and Acting Division Manager of the P-12, Curriculum & Assessment Division, said: “ADEC has provided all schools with a list of events that will help the school community to participate in fun-loving reading related initiatives. Each individual school is free to decide on an event to kick start Abu Dhabi Reads, just as long as they engage students, teachers and parents in different reading and writing activities.”

As part of this year’s reading activities, schools are encouraged to Drop Everything and Read (D.E.A.R) where all students and staff are engaged in ten minutes of sustained reading in their school at the same time.

The Mannequin Challenge encourages pupils to re-create a moment from a book using props and costumes, and freeze in place creating a moment from the book. The moment is filmed and shared on social media.

“All activities are age appropriate and entertaining. The whole point is to encourage an overall passion for reading in a non-forceful manner, while engaging teachers and parents alongside students in order to add more enthusiasm to the campaign,” explained Dr. Al Suwaidi.

A reading schedule has been created to invite parents to read their favorite book to a group of students as part of Parent Reading Day. Teachers and school leaders will advertise their favorite books on Favorite Book Day, by decorating their door with the theme of the book. On the selected day, students will choose which book they would like to listen to. Teachers and leadership read their book and complete an related activity.

Additionally, schools are expected to organize a Booknic either in their designated schools or in a local park. Parents are invited to bring along a picnic lunch and a favorite book to share with their child. Participants sit on blankets and share food and stories.

“Children begin learning at home before they ever reach the classroom, which is exactly why it is of pivotal importance that parents are involved in reading to their children. Also, through this year’s Abu Dhabi Reads initiative, we hope to strengthen parent-teacher partnerships which have been proven to boost academic and social-emotional skill development and academic success for students,” said the Abu Dhabi Reads Committee Head.

On a separate day, students from different grades and/or schools are expected to take part in Buddy Reading by getting together and reading in pairs. Students can then feedback to their classmates about the book that they shared.

Children are invited to take part in celebrating Dr. Seuss, at Dalma Mall on April 19th and 21st 2017 and then again at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair at ADNEC on April 26th to May 2nd 2017. The event will allow children to engage in a shared reading session of Cat in the Hat and complete activities related to the book. Children participating in the event will receive a Cat in the Hat book to take home.

Character Day is a fun day where students, teachers and leadership dress up as characters from their favorite book. A parade is showcases the costumes of all those participating.

Students will be designing their own Book Trailer Premiers for a chosen book. Book Trailers will be showcased at schools with parents invited to share in the event.

Kindergarten students will be participating in the activity My First Novel. Students will be encouraged to write a short story related to what they are currently studying. The short stories will be published and placed in the school libraries.

“We have launched this initiative as a pilot project in one of the private schools in Abu Dhabi with kindergarten students. The results were outstanding! The stories that students produced showed surprising imagination.. The purpose of this initiative is to allow students to explore images and words to create their very first novel, instilling confidence with reading and writing,” explained the Pedagogy Specialist.

In efforts to engage teachers in the Abu Dhabi Reads initiative, each school will conduct professional development workshops based on areas of interest and development needs. Accordingly, ADEC has provided training materials for schools with an emphasis on drama and reading; from picture books to board games; literature circles and DEAR; Plickers (a mobile application that uses QR codes to engage students in answering a range of reading questions) and ways to use interactive foldables to enhance reading strategies.

Schools have been provided with parental workshop materials aimed to engage parents in their child’s learning. The topics include: Everyday Reading, Helping My Child Learn to Read, Oral Storytelling, Reading at Home, Digital Reading, as well as a parent LRC workshop designed to help parents learn about the role of librarians.

“Our aim in this year’s Abu Dhabi Reads initiative is reading for knowledge, giving pupils the opportunity to take responsibility, ownership and risk, as well as encouraging young children to become even more creative and passionate about reading and writing. We aspire that students will learn to share their love of reading and that parents and teachers will be just as passionate about encouraging a culture of reading,” concluded Dr. Al Suwaidi.

– ADEC Media