Saturday, August 24, 2019

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

Physical Health in Yoga

As per the ‘Upanishads ‘, ancient texts which mention the qualities and attributes of Yoga as a science, real physical health is indicated by...

Top 5 Benefits of Using Brown Sugar for Glowing Skin

Natural food items easily available in the kitchen cabinet have been used for beauty home remedies down the ages. Brown sugar is one of...

Indulge in the Pure Bliss of Chocolate at Le Agna

Le Agna , the Greek word means ‘pure’ and apt a cafe which serves only the best and purest Belgian chocolates. Le Agna, a cafe...

Cathay Pacific Announces Senior Management Changes

Cathay Pacific has announced the following management changes, effective from 19th August: Augustus Tang appointed Chief Executive Officer, succeeding Mr. Rupert Hogg. Ronald Lam...

26th showroom of Malabar Gold & Diamonds opened in Karnataka, India

Malabar Gold & Diamonds, one among the largest jewellery retailers globally with a strong retail network of 250 outlets spread across 10 countries launched...

Minister shares Eid Al-Adha joy with senior citizens, children

Labour and Social Development Minister, Jameel bin Mohammed Ali Humaidan, paid a visit to the Child Welfare Home (Batelco Home). Through the visit, also attended...

Mental Health in Yoga

In Yoga equal, if not more, importance is given to mental health as is to physical health. A person who is mentally healthy is...

This Mophie wireless charger is probably the closest thing to AirPower that Apple will ever sell

Apple has begun selling two multidevice wireless chargers from Mophie. Both the Dual Wireless Charging Pad and 3-in-1 Wireless Charging Pad are coming to...

iGA, Municipal Councils & Capital Secretariat to Partner in the Development of eServices

Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain – Information & eGovernment Authority (iGA) Chief Executive, Mohammed Ali AlQaed received in his office at Isa Town the Chairman...

Common Thyroid Gland Diseases & Problems To Watch For

The thyroid is a gland that sits low of the neck on the front of the trachea, the thyroid secretes several hormones, that act...

Google Assistant will let you send reminders to friends and family

Google is adding a new feature to its Assistant that will let you assign reminders to other people, so long as that person is...

Bahrain’s ambassador presents credentials to ASEAN

Ambassador of Bahrain to Indonesia, Dr. Mohammed Ghassan Mohammed Adnan Sheikho, has presented his credentials as ambassador of the Kingdom to the Association of...

New Group of Bahraini Pilots Fly with Gulf Air

Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain – 21 August 2019: A new batch of Bahraini pilots recently took to the skies with the Kingdom of Bahrain’s national carrier...

Virtual desktops finally come to Chrome OS

The latest version of Chrome OS is rolling out to Chromebooks now and it comes with a lot more new features than usual. The...

Superstar J Balvin confirmed for Abu Dhabi Showdown Week

J Balvin, Colombian Reggaeton chart-topper will play The Arena, the brand-new venue on Yas Island, on 5 September Red Hot Chili Peppers also set...