Reading is Life In early 2021, families in Egypt benefited from a rewarding reading competition.

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Covid-19 forced millions of children across Egypt out of school.

Governments, schools, and parents were eager to keep children reading and learning at home.

An 8-week reading competition made that possible.

CARE Egypt and Worldreader came together as part of the Reading is Life competition to address the learning crisis Egyptian students were facing. The competition encouraged learning around four life skills: leadership, collaboration, problem solving, and gender.

712 children participated, in 30 schools, across 26 villages.

The project supported learners across three governorates in Upper Egypt: Beni Suef, AlMinya, and Asyut.

Children read an astounding amount.

  • 20,000 pages were read in total by all families.
  • 23 minutes a day were spent reading on average per child.
  • 99.6% of caregivers reported that the competition encouraged them to read more with their children.
Cumulative minutes read

Children bonded with parents. And, parents connected with teachers.

“The competition brought the parents closer to their children, the school staff and families.”

– Nabila, a mother and school librarian who participated in the challenge.

The competition sparked creativity.

Every book distributed during the competition was accompanied by a reading activity. Over the eight weeks, we received several dozen drawings and reading activities from children. These post-reading activities help readers summarize what they've learned, and organize their thoughts and ideas in creative ways.

Children's creative responses to stories

Children became more environmentally aware.

During the competition, Ameena’s family was reading the story Mr. Bag, a story about protecting the environment by recycling. Grandma (Um Muktar) was listening. She enjoyed the story time, it reminded her of the old days when they would sit together and share folktales. The next day, Um Muktar surprised Ameena with a blue cloth bag she sewed from recycled materials, just as they used to do in the old days. Ameena was very proud of her Grandma and this connected them through a shared experience.

Activities kept children extra engaged.

An activity from the book Vertical Farm: What vegetables do you like to eat? Find three vegetables with seeds in your kitchen. Collect and dry these seeds to plant your own small garden.

Children were inspired to dream about their futures.

An activity from the books Sweetest Princess: Ask your child what he or she dreams of becoming when they grow up and why?

Parents spent quality time bonding with their children – especially fathers.

Sama is a 4th grader in Manfalout, Asyut. The reading competition provided an opportunity for Sama and her siblings to have special time with their father – reading and doing the activities together.

It takes a village to raise a child.

Parents, CARE volunteers, and school staff were key to the success of the reading competition. They all played an integral role in supporting the child’s learning during the competition.