Encouraging Young Learners to read in Bahrain
Kids Read aims to encourage children to read for pleasure and help them develop a passion for reading, which will broaden their horizons and ultimately improve their academic performance, language, knowledge of the world, different cultures and critical thinking.
More than 10,000 kids and parents in Bahrain were engaged in the project since its launch in September 2011; the project is sponsored by HSBC Bank Middle East Ltd and Affiliates. More than 100 books have been donated to the 18 participating schools, in addition to supplementary materials developed by UK material developers providing rich resources to both teachers and learners. On a yearly basis teachers and HSBC volunteers that are involved receive professional training on storytelling strategies. Community events are held regularly (4 per academic year) in public venues to benefit the larger society and engage the wider community outside the 18 schools involved in the project.
In one of the participating schools; Hamad Town Primary Girls’ School, two of the English teachers developed activities for pupils based on the project’s books. The Reading Café is one of them. Pupils go to this café at break time every Wednesday to read stories and then use the reading passport to put down their ideas and reflection about the stories. Worksheets are used as well to complement the reading passport. This has improved their reading and writing skills. Being active participants in the community events organised by British Council at public venues, the teachers managed to adopt the idea and apply it in one of the school’s activities; the English Week.
HSBC is pleased to support this initiative which promotes not only the understanding of English but also the enjoyment of reading and especially the bond built with younger children reading alongside their parents.
Mr. Matthew J Deakin, CEO of HSBC Bank in Bahrain
Wedad Al Mudaweb, one of the teachers in that school attributes the success of Kids Read in their school to the training she had received from the British Council, she said “the eight teacher-training workshops we took over one month at the British Council helped us a lot in implementing the project in the school and provided us with strategies that helped us in utilizing the books and materials”. This school is a model of success and teachers from new schools participating in the project in the coming years are encouraged to visit the school to exchange experiences.