ABU DHABI // The UAE’s top student in the Arab Reading Challenge looks forward to representing her country in the final round of the contest in September.
Fatma Al Nuaimi, 17, received a certificate from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, on Wednesday as he honoured 15 students who achieved outstanding results in the competition, which started in November and finished at the end of March.
What made her the most outstanding participant, she said, was her choice of books and her reviews of them.
“We had to read in high school from 50- to 100-page books. However, most of the books I read were more than 200 pages,” she said.
“It’s the level of the books you choose, the way you write about them – that’s the important part, I feel.”
The books she read varied from literature and poetry to books on history and religions. All of them were in Arabic. They were either suggested by family and friends or picked up randomly in bookstores.
She also used Goodreads.com – a popular book reviewing website – to find recommendations.
Ms Al Nuaimi, a student at RAK American Academy for Girls, said that her parents played a big role to instil in her the love of reading.
“My parents used to read to me before I learnt to read and afterward they picked books for me when I went to school. The whole family reads, so books would be all over the place.
“I found the inspiration around me. Everyone was reading.”
Parents have a major role to play in encouraging reading, especially when their children are young, she said, adding that reading is important because it opens a child’s mind and broadens his or her imagination.
“Try to incorporate books as part of their lives, not because they have to, but because it’s fun to read,” Ms Al Nuaimi said.
A school’s role in creating a generation of readers should not be neglected, Ms Al Nuaimi said.
“I love to read because reading takes me to a different world, to ancient times there is no way I could go back to, to a future that each writer imagines, to another world where there are no boundaries and I wouldn’t think about them otherwise.”
However, she has no favourite book.
“I feel it’s like asking a mother who’s her favourite child. I don’t have a favourite book. Every book has a specific place in my heart. One of the books that really stayed with me was 1984 by George Orwell.”
Every day, Ms Al Nuaimi reads at least 10 pages from an Arabic book, 10 from an English book and 10 pages from the Quran.
“It has become part of my daily routine. I read at anytime – in school, between classes, on the way to and from school, in waiting rooms, and also before bed.”
A total of 50,000 students completed the challenge and read 50 books during the school year as part of the challenge, announced by Sheikh Mohammed in September last year.
Source: uae news