Celebrating International Day of Education with Deema Al Alami

Celebrating International Day of Education with Deema Al Alami

By Aya

For Moms|Indoor|Lifestyle|Little Kid|Outdoor|Parenting|Play|Teens|Toddler|What's On

As part of ” The sixth International Day of Education” we are introducing Deema Al Alami – a dedicated educator, passionate reading advocate, and beloved children’s book author. As a mother herself, she intimately understands the profound impact books have on shaping children’s hearts and minds.

We’re overjoyed to welcome her to the QiDZ Mobile community, where she’ll be sharing her wisdom on the vital role of reading in our kids’ lives, regardless of their age. Get ready for an insightful journey as Deema discusses her community, “Oh, the Books,” and imparts valuable tips to parents seeking to inspire a love for reading in their little ones.

Now, let’s dive into the world of stories with Deema Al Alami!

1. As a mother, how did your personal experience influence your belief in the transformative power of books for children? 

As a mother, I felt that one of the first ‘low stress’ activities that I was truly able to enjoy with my newborn was reading a book! My boy would be feeding, I would be cradling him, and I would be reading either my novel or a story for him. Both of us feeling relaxed, calm, and enjoying the book. I have vivid memories of how certain picture books captured his attention, fostering not only language development but also sparking curiosity and prompting meaningful discussions. I recall moments when a simple story opened doors to exploring new concepts, fostering cognitive skills. I wanted every family, regardless of whether they are mothers, fathers, aunts, or grandfathers to experience this unique experience with their little ones from an early stage.

2.Can you share a heartwarming moment where you saw the positive impact of reading on a child’s personality or perspective? 

So many heartwarming moments come to mind, but one that truly stands out is when I walked into my bedroom and saw my 18-month-old holding his father’s 900-page Napoleon Book, pretending to read it out loud. My heart melted at the sight of this tiny explorer immersed in a world of words far beyond his years. It was a beautiful testament to the transformative power of books, not just as vessels of stories but as tools that shape a child’s imagination and perspective. Witnessing his early fascination with literature filled me with joy and reaffirmed my belief in the profound impact reading can have on a child’s personality and outlook on the world.

3.What motivated you to start your own community, “Oh, the Books,” and what is its mission?
Growing up in the MENA region, I witnessed firsthand the challenges many families faced in fostering a love for reading among children. School experiences and family habits often contributed to a negative perception of reading. This personal observation became the driving force behind ‘Oh, the Books.’ I refuse to accept that there are children who inherently hate reading; rather, they may not have encountered the right book or experienced the joy of falling in love with reading. ‘Oh, the Books’ aims to address this by providing not only recommendations for the best children’s books but also offering valuable tips on how to nurture readers and create a literacy-friendly home environment. Additionally, we conduct literacy workshops for parents, empowering them with the tools to instill a lifelong love for reading in their children. The mission is rooted in the belief that every family can be a ‘reading family,’ and ‘Oh, the Books’ strives to make this a reality in the MENA region.

4.How do you believe parents can instill a love for reading in their children, regardless of their age? 
Instilling a love for reading in children, regardless of their age, begins with parents modeling ‘reading for pleasure.’ Children tend to follow our actions more than our words, so when they see us genuinely enjoying books as a source of entertainment, knowledge, and exploration, they are likely to emulate the behavior. Alongside this modeling, it’s crucial to provide access to age-appropriate and high-quality books, ensuring a diverse range of genres and topics. Actively supporting children in their reading endeavors, engaging in discussions about their reading choices, and creating a positive and comfortable reading environment at home are additional steps. Consider establishing dedicated family reading times or incorporating books into daily routines. By making reading a natural and enjoyable part of family life, parents can lay the foundation for a lifelong love of literature in their children.

5.What are some creative ways parents can make reading an enjoyable and bonding experience with their kids?
In the age of technology, making reading an extra-special and bonding experience is essential. Families can explore creative avenues such as initiating a family book club, where everyone reads the same book and gathers for lively discussions. Another exciting idea is combining reading with dining out, making a trip to a favorite restaurant a delightful reading excursion. Visiting a library or bookstore as a family outing, followed by a treat like ice cream, not only makes the experience enjoyable but also strengthens the positive association with reading. Regardless of the chosen activity, the key is to foster open conversations about the story, characters, and themes, allowing the child to express their thoughts and feelings. This shared dialogue not only enhances the bonding experience but also deepens the child’s connection with reading as something positive and enjoyable.

5.In your journey as an educator, what challenges have you encountered in promoting a reading culture, and how did you overcome them?
While working as an educator, my primary challenge in promoting a reading culture has been more pronounced with parents and adults than with children. Often, it’s the attitudes and perspectives of adults that directly impact the reading environment within a household. To address this, I have actively encouraged parents to engage in reading themselves, emphasizing the importance of leading by example. I advocate for participation in book clubs as a means for adults to reconnect with the joy of reading for pleasure. By rekindling their own relationship with books, parents can rediscover the inherent value and enjoyment of literature. This personal journey often leads to a positive shift in their approach to fostering a reading culture at home, subsequently benefiting the children. The strategy is rooted in the belief that when adults embrace and appreciate reading, it becomes a natural and integral part of the family dynamic, positively influencing the younger generation.

6.Could you share some tips for parents on selecting age-appropriate books and fostering a diverse reading environment for their children?
When selecting age-appropriate books for your children, it’s essential to actively engage with their preferences. Ask your child why they enjoyed a particular book or what they disliked about it. Understanding their preferences—whether it’s the language, illustrations, or the length of the book—can guide you in finding similar texts. Take the time to research authors who write in a style your child enjoys, and gradually expose them to a variety of similar texts. It’s crucial to follow your child’s lead and give them the autonomy to choose their own books. Allowing them the freedom to make choices fosters a sense of ownership and enthusiasm for reading. Additionally, strive to create a diverse reading environment by incorporating books that explore different cultures, perspectives, and themes. This not only broadens their understanding of the world but also nurtures empathy and open-mindedness from an early age.

7.How do you navigate the digital age and balance screen time with encouraging a love for physical books?
In the face of the digital age, striking a balance between screen time and fostering a love for physical books requires mindful effort. It’s essential to go the extra mile when it comes to reading, creating positive associations that make it a cherished activity. Bond with your children over the books they read, engaging in discussions about characters, plots, and themes. By giving them your undivided attention during these moments, you reinforce the significance of reading in their lives. Moreover, the connection over books should not diminish once your children are capable of reading independently. Continue sharing reading experiences, recommending books, and celebrating literary discoveries together. Introduce technology in a purposeful way, using e-books and educational apps to complement, not replace, physical books. Establishing a balance between digital and physical reading experiences ensures that children develop a holistic appreciation for literature in both forms.

8.What advice do you have for aspiring authors and advocates looking to make a positive impact on children’s literacy?
I believe that everyone is a storyteller! The first step is to research, educate yourself, and get organized. I launched the program ‘From Mother to Author’ to support individuals with stories to tell in their journey to becoming published authors. This program is self-paced and has over 11 modules, with everything you need to know on how to become a published author. It’s crucial to understand that there are specific steps to take and a process to follow. Embrace the learning curve and be persistent, as the journey to becoming a published author can be challenging but immensely rewarding. Additionally, focus not only on creating captivating stories but also on understanding the unique needs and interests of young readers.

𝗦𝗶𝗴𝗻 𝘂𝗽 𝘁𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗲 “𝗙𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗠𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝘁𝗼 𝗔𝘂𝘁𝗵𝗼𝗿” 𝗣𝗿𝗼𝗴𝗿𝗮𝗺 𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲
11 Modules self paced
Monthly LIVE Coaching session


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