Sunday, June 7, 2020

Mama Bookworm

Mrs. Eman AlGhawas on her mission to spread awareness of reading

Mother goose is one of those fictional characters that fascinate us from kindergarten days. The old lady in her cape and hat, reading poems and stories to the kids, stays as the symbol of the greatness of reading to children. The kingdom of Bahrain is indeed lucky to have the young and vibrant Mrs. Eman AlGhawas, the founder of Bookworms, on a mission to spread the habit of reading. When BTW met Eman for the first time, she was surrounded by kids of all ages with their eyes shining bright with eagerness to get the rest of the story, as she continued to read to them in a dynamic style. Following are excerpts from the conversation we had with Eman.

The Beginning and the concept

“It all started back in the end of 2009 when I was googling ‘part-time jobs in Bahrain.’ I was on the hunt for a part time job that would allow flexibility as I wanted to do something fun and rewarding, and still be available for my own kids. Somehow part time jobs seemed non-existent at that time. But while browsing online I came across a preschool. The school offered many activities including football, cooking, ballet, etc. but didn’t have reading. That’s when this thought hit me, “I was an English major with work experience as a teacher, I loved children and wanted to include my own kids in my work, and I was passionate about reading.” I immediately contacted the principal who loved the idea and gave me the green signal. And so Bookworms was born.”

“Bookworms, Where Reading is Fun, creates storytelling events for children, in Arabic and English, that helps them to see just how much fun reading books can be! The idea behind Bookworms is to promote reading right from the start; to get children to fall in love with reading, hoping to turn them into voracious readers in the future.”

Cultivating the habit of reading

Reading cultivates imagination and broadens your horizon by allowing you to escape into different worlds even though you are sitting in the comfort of your own home. That is especially important for the children today, because they are living their lives through their gadgets (like TV, iPads, PSP, Xbox, etc.), that there is no room for them to use their brains to imagine anything.”

“From a religious standpoint, Muslims have always been encouraged to seek knowledge through reading. In fact the first word from the Quran that was revealed to the prophet Mohammed (pbuh) was the word IQRA, which means read (Surah Al-Alaq, 1). It is up to us to help our children fall in love with reading right from the beginning by regularly reading to them and surrounding them with books until they grow up and can read on their own; until reading becomes just as important to them as breathing, eating, and drinking.”

“I think the most important way to do that is by setting an example yourself as a parent. When children are surrounded by parents who are very passionate readers and who constantly have a book in their hands, they will surely believe in the importance of reading and grow up to enjoy it, because, after all, their highest role models were doing so.  I also strongly believe in the power of the “bed time” story. Spending that precious time bonding with your child over a book every night before he goes to sleep will create fond memories of the imaginative world of books that your child will grow up to want to recreate that world on his own by reading.”

“Being surrounded by other children who love stories in a fun group storytelling activity, will encourage your child to become more interested in reading. I highly encourage taking your children to the library and/or the bookstore regularly, even as a reward for good behavior instead of buying gifts or sweets.”

The practice of choosing right books

“For babies and toddlers, choose sturdy board books that have one or a few of the following: touch and feel textures, light and sound, lift-the-flaps, with puppets or toys attached, and with minimal words and more bright pictures.”

“For 2-4 year olds, start choosing more complex books about colors, letters and numbers, for example, and stories with topics that are suitable for that age, such as sharing, caring, sibling rivalry, new baby arrival, potty training, to name a few. From 5 years onwards, you can start choosing reading-level books that will help your child to read on her own. After they master one level, move on to the next, until your child is able to read short stories. Topics can cover whatever interests your child at that time and always make sure your child reads in both, his native and second language.”

“I love to read to little ones…”

“I think the book I have read the most is The Sandwich Swap, by Queen Rania. It is my favorite children’s book because it holds great social lessons while being humorous and dramatic enough.  I don’t have a specific method for choosing stories other than knowing by instinct what will or won’t work for storytelling. Certain books work well when being read one on one with your child in your lap. Other books are great for storytelling because they have just the right touch of humor and drama with enough dialogue, with a lesson to learn from, and/or a great punch line. If I can imagine myself reading the book in a fun way, which sometimes means singing it or acting it out to make it really exciting, then I don’t hesitate to buy it.”

“And our National Day is so special”

“I will be working with Sh. Latifa Daij Alkhalifa, the upcoming author of a new series of books called Ana Khalifa, the illustration of which was done by Ms. Jawaher AlAbsi. I will be reading the first book of the series, about national day, on the day of the book launch on December 6th, at 10:30 am, in Moda Mall, where Sh. Latifa will be signing her book in the presence of Mrs. Amal AlDossary, Vice chairperson – The committee on the rights of the child, United Nations. The event is open to the public and will include face painting and coloring for the kids along with Bookworms’ storytelling of course.”

Busy with gadgets?

“We are at a time in which technology rules. I say enjoy what technology has to offer when it comes to reading! Find reading apps, enjoy reading devices such as Kindle, listen to audio books, even watch YouTube videos of your favorite stories being read by different authors. Yet, nothing beats the feel of a real book in your hand; don’t miss out on that.”

To know more about The National Day event and other regular Bookworms events follow the Instagram account here

Previous articleYoga – What is it?
Next articlePrime Lens

MOST READ

Zain Bahrain wins the ROI Institute’s Best Published Case Study 2019 Award

Zain Bahrain, a leading telecoms operator in the Kingdom, has recently won the ROI Institute's best-published case study 2019 Award for a study aiming...

Al Rashid Group (ARG) join hands with the Capital Governorate to provide immediate relief to underprivileged workers in Bahrain

To support the needs of the local communities and those highly impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Bahraini homegrown retail and hospitality conglomerate, Al...

HH Southern Governor visits Khalifa Town; meets citizens virtually

Southern Governor, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Ali bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, today paid a field visit to Khalifa Town, in the presence of...

Bahrain will overcome coronavirus pandemic successfully says SCH President

President of the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) Lieutenant General Dr. Shaikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, the Head of the National Medical Team...

Minister highlights Bahrain’s efforts to fight smoking, preserve public health

Health Minister, Faeqa bint Said Al-Saleh, has said that the World No Tobacco Day provides an opportunity for Bahrain to promote social awareness on...

HRH Premier stresses support to national cadres

His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa affirmed that the Kingdom of Bahrain has taken proactive steps to deal with...

Bahrain India Society participates in the combat against COVID-19

The Board of Directors of Bahrain India Society participated in the combat against the coronavirus. Under the eminent  leadership of His Majesty the King, His...

The National Taskforce for Combating COVID-19 underlines the importance of adhering to precautionary measures

The National Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (COVID-19) today held a press conference at the Crown Prince Centre for Training and Medical Research at...

Optional home self-Isolation for asymptomatic active COVID-19 cases

Following the directives of the Government Executive Committee, chaired by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme...

Capital Governor patronises distribution of 3,000 food baskets to needy families

Capital Governor, Hisham bin Abdulrahman, has followed up on the distribution of 3,000 food baskets, within the “Your Food at Your Home” initiative launched...

Emirates to start Bahrain flights on June 15

Emirates will offer flights for passengers to Bahrain starting June 15, the company has announced. The move comes following the UAE Federal Government's announcement to...

‘RCM’ Celebrates Eid with ‘Special Olympics Bahrain’

Reaffirming on its unwavering support to charitable centers and initiatives in the Kingdom of Bahraini, and out of its keenness to share the joy...

HM King’s directives to honour sports icon praised by Youth Minister

Youth and Sports Affairs Minister, Ayman bin Tawfiq Al-Moayyad, has lauded His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa’s directives to rename the three...

Bahrain’s Visionary Implementation of Robots to Combat COVID-19

As a visionary step, Bahrain has introduced robots for the assistance of COVID-19 patients. H.E Fatima A.Wahid Al Ahmed Assistant Undersecretary for Resources and...

INJAZ Bahrain offers educational programs online amid Covid-19 outbreak

INJAZ Bahrain has recently launched a series of programs online, in response to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Bahrain. The online programs,...