Some young writers came to receive their certificates after winning the Children’s Writing Competition, and other children came eagerly waiting to partake in the anniversary celebration of the 12th anniversary of “Let’s Read.”
Founded by Jane Jaffer, the initiative is now known as Dar al Atta Let’s Read and is located on the third floor of Oman Avenues Mall.
Spread out with books on the shelves and places to sit varying from table and chairs to cushions on the floor, the Let’s Read Center have youngsters who might be going for the games but pause to bend down, pick up a book and read.
The concept has been successful because the books have gone to the children instead of making them to the books and here it is their choice. And when there are activities at the centre, then there is even more excitement as on the day of the anniversary celebration where the Let’s Read team were helping children to make their own bookmarks.
We sat down to chat with Jane Jaffer, the founder of Let’s Read who continues to think of innovative ways to connect children and the books. For many parents, their children have grown up with books of Let’s Read.
“We have come a long way, and I have met some wonderful people along the journey, and I have with me the most amazing team who work with me as volunteers running the book shop here at Oman Avenues Mall. We have just had the award ceremony of the Summer Reading Challenge. We also have a bus on the other side, which is also a children’s library. We have lots of activities going on there every day. It is good fun.”
They have a Rhyme Time on Saturday mornings, and Story Telling is at different timings but very often on a Friday or a Saturday.
“We are very excited to announce the launch of the Rising Star- a talent show that will be taking place at the Al Bustan Palace – a Ritz Carlton Hotel on 25th of January. But the audition will be before that, and we will be handing out the flyers very soon,” said Jane.
So what made her come up with the idea almost 11 years ago?
“As a primary school teacher, I know that a child who reads is a child that succeeds. Access to good books is crucial. When a child chooses his own book, he is more motivated to read it,” she noted.
She never expected that the Let’s Read campaign would grow this big and generate such keen interest. Ask her about some of the best moments, and she reflects, “One of the best moments was launching Maktabati mobile library in 2013. There were lots of visits to schools. Opening our first charity book in 2014 and moving to Oman Avenues Mall in 2018 are all special moments.”
Maktabati travels across the country visiting schools, festival and fairs. So what are the future plans?
“We hope more schools will visit our children’s library in Oman Avenues Mall. We want to hold many more fun literacy events, storytelling, meet the author, writing workshops and competitions.
The Summer Reading Challenge and the Children’s Writing Competition really encourage children to read and write. We hope to find new ways to encourage the love of reading to children in Oman. We are always in need of more volunteers and company sponsorship. You can contact us on email@example.com,” concluded the primary school teacher who made sure she never lost touch with children wherever she is.
Just then, a child comes and asks, “Have you seen my mom?” “Let’s see,” says Jane as she takes the child’s hand and walks away looking for the mother.