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ILLUSTRATOR PROFILE: MONA YAKZAN

_____ ________spread2One of the perks of what we do at ReadingStart is getting to know the wonderfully talented people behind some of our favorite picture books. Today’s profile is proof of those perks. We’ve always been fascinated by the depth and dimension of illustrator Mona Yakzan’s work, and naturally we just couldn’t help but share her work. FULL POST

READINGSTART’S  “TELL ME A STORY” PROGRAM

20131031_123423This November, ReadingStart launched the first “Tell me a Story” program site in partnership with Tahadi Clinic in Beirut, Lebanon (www.tahaddilebanon.org). The program is made up of two components: 1)  storytelling workshops for mothers with children under the age of three and 2) age appropriate book packs that are given to parents who bring in their children for their basic vaccines. FULL POST

AUTHOR PROFILE: RANIA ZAGHIR

GN8On my last visit to Beirut, I picked up a copy of a hilarious book called “Lamma Balatet el Baher” by author Rania Zaghir. I read it standing up at the bookshop, giggling the whole way through. As a result, we just had to get in touch with Rania to put together this author profile. FULL POST

 

 

AUTHOR PROFILE: ARWA KHOMAYYIES 

20131121_103127Recently, we fell in love with a book called “I am Roomi, I Love my Mother but I don’t Love Pink Dresses,” and we just had to know more about the author behind it. Arwa Khomayyies, a Saudi Arabian children’s author began writing kids’ books in partnership with varying publishing houses.  FULL POST

AUTHOR PROFILE: TAGHREED NAJJAR 

L_634761830384951444At three months of age, my little niece would spend the longest time of all starting at the illustrations of “A Home for Arnoub.” My other niece had all the words to Arnoub’s song memorized by age three. She also couldn’t go anywhere without her Arnoub doll, a now very threadbare stuffed white bunny. I myself never get tired of reading the book aloud, and it’s for all these reasons that I’m excited about today’s author profile. FULL POST

 

TALKING ABOUT WAR: FATIMA SHARAFEDDINE’S “THERE IS WAS IN MY CITY”

fi_madinati_harbAs the Arab world reels from almost daily violence, we started to wonder how parents discuss the difficult subject of war with their children. How do they answer questions, start a conversation and yet try to maintain a child’s sense of innocence? As a parent, would you read a children’s book about war with your kids? FULL POST

 

AUTHOR PROFILE: SAMAR MAHFOUZ BARRAJ 

Asala1_230_0 Samar Mahfouz Barraj is a Lebanese author who has 35 titles under her belt.  She began her career as a teacher, and years of teaching and working with children has helped her nourish a deep passion for writing. Check out her work in the FULL POST

 

 

WHAT ARE YOU READING WITH YOUR KIDS THIS EID?

welcome eidEid Mubarak! A great way to celebrate the arrival of Eid Al-Fitr is to grab a Eid themed book, cuddle up with your kids and read together! Check out a couple of book suggestions in the FULL POST

 

ILLUSTRATOR PROFILE: LENA MERHEJ

Lena MerhejLena Merhej is an illustrator and animator whose work we find very charming. She’s won various awards for her work, and has been published by Dar Kalimat, Dar AlHadaek, Dar Assalah, Dar Onboz and Dar El Ilim Lil Malayin. Check out the gallery in the  FULL POST

 

 

AUTHOR PROFILE: NADINE TOUMA 

al_qamar_wa_al_wiruwarNadine Touma is a Lebanese author, artist and filmmaker. In 2005, she founded the publishing house Dar Onboz together with Raya Khalaf and Sivine Ariss. Dar Onboz was born out a desire to anchor art in the everyday life of children. FULL POST

 

NEW BABY? TIPS ON READING TOGETHER

reading with babyHow do you read with baby? When is the best time to read? How long should you read for and what kind of books should you choose? Check out this one minute video to find out (click HERE for Arabic video).  FULL POST

 

WHAT ARE YOUR READING WITH YOUR KIDS THIS RAMADAN? 

ramadan bookThe holy month of Ramadan is upon us, and one great way to start a conversation about the month is to read about it together! Check out this list of books we’ve put together.  FULL POST

 

 

WHY NURSERY RHYMES ARE IMPORTANT

desktop3Nursery rhymes are part of an oral tradition passed down from one generation to the next. The origin of many of them is often hazy, with some born out of certain historical, political and economic contexts and others seemingly invented for pure amusement. How is it that these often silly nonsensical rhymes seem to reach out to us so easily from the past? And is there a benefit to having learned them all those years ago? FULL POST

ILLUSTRATOR PROFILE: SINAN HALLAK

4Sinan Hallak is a Lebanese illustrator and graphic designer who’s worked on some wonderful kids books.  His work has been published by Asala Published, Yuki Press, Kalimat Publishing and several others. FULL POST

 

 

LAUNCHING THE “BORN TO READ” CAMPAIGN

Born to read YTWe’re proud to announce that we’ll be launching the “Born to Read” campaign in Beirut, Lebanon. The project aims to reach 1500 babies at birth in the hopes of turning them into lifelong readers.  FULL POST

 

THE BLACK BOOK OF COLORS 

ka2We’d love to hear your thoughts on the Arabic translation of The Black Book of Colors. Would you pick up the book and if so, how would you use it?  FULL POST

 

INCLUSIVE BOOKS IN ARABIC 

di-lorrimanNada Barakat Khawaja gave a wonderful talk on Inclusive Children’s Books at the IBBY CANA conference. The post summarizes important questions one should be asking when selecting an inclusive book. It also lists some wonderful titles available in Arabic. FULL POST

SIX WORD POETRY BY 6TH GRADERS

photo-8My very good friend and poet Zeina Hashem Beck gave a lecture on poetry to 120 sixth graders at a school in Dubai. At the end of the lecture, the kids went off and created their very own six word poems. To view samples of their work, check out the FULL POST.

 

MINDING YOUR BABY’S MIND – BRAIN WORLD MAGAZINE

brain-rules-babyWe re-posted an article from Brain World Magazine that reviews one of our favorite books, John Medina’s Brain Rules for Baby. The article busts the following common myths: 1) playing Mozart to your womb will improve your baby’s future math scores, 2) to boost their brain power, children need French lessons by age three, a room piled with brain-friendly toys and a library of educational DVDs and 3) Myth #3: continually telling your children they are smart will boost their confidence. FULL POST

 

THE BILINGUAL PARADOX 

picture1When it comes to exposing children to more than one language, there is a dilemma that every caregiver experiences. On the one hand, we realize that children pick up languages easily. On the other hand, we worry that given the complexity of language acquisition, exposure to two or more languages will cause language confusion and developmental delay. This dilemma has often been called “the bilingual paradox,” the simultaneous belief that exposure to more than one language is both good and bad. FULL POST

LITERACY RESOURCES IN ARABIC AND ENGLISH 

arabic-activity-sheetReadingstart will now be bringing you literacy enhancing resources in both Arabic and English. We’re starting with monthly activity calendars designed to provide parents, educators and children with daily opportunities to engage in activities that help promote language development. The calendars are now available in easy to download PDF files that can be printed and posted to your fridge or board for daily inspiration. FULL POST

THE BENEFITS OF BEING BILINGUAL

Science is Awesome ImageAlthough bilingual children make more mistakes on picture naming tasks and adult bilinguals experience tip-of- tongue phenomenon more frequently, the benefits to speaking two or more languages far outweigh the set-backs. Research indicates that there may be benefits across the lifespan, from increased cognitive reserve and better control of attention to delay in the age of onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia. FULL POST

THE ZERO TO SIX LIBRARY

books1Are you looking to start building that early childhood library in Arabic for your children or students? We’ve put together a list of 24 wonderfully illustrated books written in Arabic to get you started. A PDF list of books is also available for download, with the names of the books  transcribed as well as translated into English. FULL POST

CHOOSING BOOKS FOR KIDS 

2011_10_21_07702As parents, caregivers or teachers, we often wonder how to choose books for children that will mean as much to them as they once did to us. How do you choose quality books, and most importantly, how do you choose them for infants and toddlers under six years of age? In this post you will find advice gathered from various sources and compiled into “by age” tips. FULL POST

 

AN INTERACTIVE READING TECHNIQUE

PeerWe are all aware of the benefits of reading aloud with children, and if you were in doubt, we hope this blog will convince you. However, research shows that it’s not only the frequency of reading aloud that leads to cognitive and linguistic gains, but also, and more importantly, the quality of the shared reading. FULL POST

 

THE EARLY WORD GAP

Toddler Reading The first few years of a child’s life are developmentally extremely important. This is a statement that has been repeated often. Experiences as an infant set the stage for everything from linguistic competency to school readiness, and research evidence continues to back this point. FULL POST

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