Reading Challenge appeals to young Arabs' inner bookworm

Reading Challenge appeals to young Arabs' inner bookworm
More than six million students from 40,000 schools in 15 Arab countries take part in the Arab Reading Challenge's second edition this year.
2 min read
03 March, 2017
The campaign was launched in 2016 [AFP]

As avid book readers, libraries and bookshops, along with a myriad of children dressed as favourite characters, celebrated World Book Day this week, the Arab Reading Challenge has revealed that more than six million students in the region have participated in the competition so far this year.

The challenge - which began its second series in November - aims to get students from the Arab world to read 50 books throughout the academic year.

The competition has seen at least 40,000 schools from 15 Arab countries participate in the challenge, with Algeria recording the largest number of participants at two million students, according to Gulf News.

This year, around 56.7 percent of the participants were girls, the Saudi daily Asharq al-Awsat reported.

The campaign was launched in 2016 by Dubai's Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid, who took to Twitter on Wednesday to applaud the progress made so far. 

"I was very pleased with the results of the Arab Reading Challenge. The number of students hiked to six million from 40,000 schools across 15 Arab counties. The Reading Challenges does create hope," he tweeted.

Last year, 3.6 million students took part in the first series of the competition

Last year, 3.6 million students took part in the first series of the competition. Only 160,000 were students from the UAE - a number that rose to 303,000 this year.

Seven-year-old Mohammad Farah Jalood from Algeria was announced as the winner of last year's challenge, bagging a prize of $150,000.

On Wednesday, the Dubai ruler also marked the beginning of UAE's Month of Reading initiative.

"Today marks the beginning of the UAE's Month of Reading at our schools, universities and facilities. We wish all every success. Reading will remain the cornerstone that we lay to establish a generation that leads the future," he tweeted.

The Month of Reading will see over 1,000 million reading events taking place across the country's public and private sectors.

The campaign seeks to turn reading into a widespread social habit, attracting as many people as possible.