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The Arabic Reading Challenge

“The first book that a student holds writes the first line of their future” Mohammed bin Rashed Al-Maktoom

The first Arabic Reading Challenge (ARC) of 2015 is the largest project that His Highness Al Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashed Al-Maktoom has ever launched! It doesn’t come as much of a surprise to learn of the importance that the Arabic language is given, considering how the Arab world is becoming more and more globalized by the English language.

This Vice President of the UAE encourages over a million students in the Arab world to strengthen their native language and read what amounts to a whopping amount of 50 million books throughout the school year! They offer monetary rewards for the students as a form of motivation, where the total amount rounds up to nearly 3 million dollars!

The challenge comes in the form of a competition between the students of 1st to 12th grade, and it starts annually in September and ends in April. The competition consists of five phases, in which each student must complete 10 books and summarize each one as part of the challenge. After that, the students, and their schools and districts, go through a sort of ‘playoffs’ in which the final students are chosen to attend the finals in Dubai, according to certain standards set by the judges for each school, educational zone, country, and finally the Arab world.

Al-Maktoom believes that reading books implants within the children a passion and awareness to learn and aspire for new things. They become curious, therefore reading more in order to learn more. This competition involves more than just the students themselves, it also involves their parents and families, who help the students complete the challenges set for them.

This challenge aims at several things, perhaps most importantly is promoting patriotism, Arabism and the feeling of belonging to one united nation.

If you are thoroughly impressed with the abilities of these children and the challenge itself, leave a smile and let us know!

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Israa Elkhatib

I was born in Palestine but raised with the fireflies in Georgia. My teenage years were spent being the Muslim nerd who was known as the bookworm of the school. That followed me back to Palestine, to develop into being the girl with the big vocabulary. I spent most of my high-school days cursing Newton for not eating that apple. My English Literature Bachelor's degree was only obtained because I'm a nerd for literature and my minor in Translation pretty much pays the bills, thank you Birzeit University.Creative writing is my passion and reading is my escape from reality into a world where everything is the way you imagine it to be.

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