x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Poster campaign to encourage reading

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, to feature in reading campaign.

DUBAI // Dubai Women's College (DWC) is promoting reading through a poster campaign.

The project is based on a similar one conducted by the American Library Association, which used celebrities such as the cast of the television show Glee as well as Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson, the stars of the Harry Potter films, to spread the message of reading.

The UAE version will feature prominent people such as Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research.

Howard Reed, the college's director, said the UAE's oral culture meant that reading received little emphasis. Schools tend to emphasise rote learning over independent reading and critical thought, though new curricula attempt to address this. "Students tell me reading is boring," he said. "They don't have books at home, parents don't read to them. Reading is very much a game they play to get through their studies."

The posters have been put up around the DWC campus and in its library.

Mr Reed said he hoped engaging local figures, including Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, would encourage students to read.

David Hirsch, libraries advisor at the National Library in Abu Dhabi, said such projects were vital. "Our main concern is to get the young interested in reading," he said.

mswan@thenational.ae