Children read their way into Guinness Record

 24 Apr 2014 - 4:55




More than 1,350 students aged between five and ten from Independent schools across Qatar set a Guinness record for the ‘Largest reading session’, in Arabic, at the Qatar National Convention Centre yesterday. 


DOHA: Qatar yesterday set a new Guinness World Records title for the ‘Largest Reading Lesson’, in Arabic at the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC). 
More than 1,350 students aged between five and ten years from independent schools across Qatar, came together to break the current Guinness World Record, previously held by the US with 451 children participating in one reading lesson. 
The participants took part in an hour-long reading lesson based on the BQFP published Arabic language children’s title Anger, written by Sarah Medina. 
The event was attended by 
H E Mohammed Abdul Wahed Ali Al Hammadi, the Minister of Education and Higher Education and Secretary-General of the Supreme Education Council (SEC) and Hamad Rashid Al Mohannadi, Chief Executive Officer, RasGas Company. It was hosted, by RasGas, the SEC, Maktaba Qatar and Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing (BQFP).

Officials with the Guinness World Record certificate.

This initiative coincided with Unesco’s annual World Book Day (WBD), reflecting education as a vital component of the Qatar National Vision 2030 human development pillar and also supporting the preservation of the Arabic language. 
Al Hammadi, said that “promoting the Arabic language is one of the main priorities we have when developing our curricula at the SEC, as per the directives of the Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. Therefore it is our duty to support all the initiatives aiming at reinstating the noblest language in the world, whether in writing, reading or spelling.  SEC’s interest in the Arabic language is manifested in many initiatives and activities, especially National Arabic Spelling Competition which will be held next month, for the third year in a row.”
“Today’s historic event brought together children from all walks of life to instil a love for reading from an early age. The event truly reinforces our commitment to create a sustainable and positive impact on the community by supporting education, and fostering a passion for learning that extends beyond the traditional classroom. We should all be very proud of what we have achieved today. It is truly remarkable to see so many passionate children open up to the possibilities of what a single book can unfold,” said Al Mohannadi.
The event was held as part of RasGas’ Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme which supports education. It is a continuation of last year’s RasGas and Maktaba collaboration to promote reading and literacy, especially in Arabic, among the younger generation. 
Sarah Champa Al Dafa, Founder of Maktaba, said: “It was a great honour to be a part of this historic effort. This record is an excellent representation of Qatar’s commitment to fostering a strong culture of reading and raising generations of readers to be leaders.”
BQFP also provided Arabic language book copies from their children’s book series Feelings, along with substantial educational material.
Arend Küster, Acting Director of BQFP, said: “Getting children excited about reading is what World Book Day is all about and we at Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing are delighted to have participated in the event here in Qatar, and have donated 3,000 copies each of ‘Angry’, and ‘Caring’ in Arabic from the Feelings children’s book series published by BQFP”.
The Peninsula