Latest News from Maktabat al-Fanoos (Lantern Library) book program in Israel
February 2015 
Dear Friends, 
I am delighted to send you this update on the Arabic book program, Maktabat al-Fanoos (Lantern Library), which continues to grow and flourish
Galina Vromen
Director Maktabat al-Fanoos

Executive Director, Grinspoon Israel Foundation

Now in its second year of operation, Maktabat al-Fanoos serves 80,000 children nationwide, 100 percent of all children in Arabic-speaking state preschools, up from 50,000 children last year.
Throughout the school year, each child receives 8 books, delivered monthly to the preschools. After the teacher introduces the book of the month and conducts book-related activities in the classroom, the book goes home, a gift to the family. The families receive the books for free; the cost is fully assumed by a partnership of the Ministry of Education, the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and Price Philanthropies.
As part of our ongoing evaluation of Maktabat al-Fanoos, we sent questionnaires to all teachers who participated in the program last year to gauge teacher satisfaction and the program's impact. Some 668 teachers (33%) responded. 
All said they read aloud in the classroom each of the four books received at least once before it went home, with 60% of the teachers reporting that they read each book 5 times or more (including reading to children in small groups).
Furthermore, 99% said they conducted book-related activities on at least one book, and more than two-thirds said they did so on 3-4 books. In addition, 85% said they conducted activities that involved the parents on at least one book. 
See more highlights of the survey and/or the full survey. Some of the classroom activities can be seen on our website photo gallery.
Bidayat Early Childhood Center at Al-Qasemi Academic College of Education, a partner in the program, has provided training in the past six months to some 30 Ministry of Education teacher trainers and 80 teachers in specialized courses and workshops. Another 40 teachers will recieve training in coming months. The courses focus on shared reading with children in the classroom and on how to strengthen parent involvement in the program.  
Maktabat al-Fanoos received much attention at an international conference by the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem on Promoting Reading with Pre-School Children from Disadvantaged Communities. Among those who addressed world experts at the conference were Prof. Margalit Ziv, Director of Bidayat and an organizer of the conference, Fatma Kassem, Director of Arabic Preschools at the Ministry of Education, Mona Srouji, who coordinates the book selection committee of the program and Areej Massarwe, Bidayat’s representative for Maktabat al-Fanoos, and a member of its book selection committee and teacher-training program. Mona’s talk focused on the many challenges the Maktabat al-Fanoos book committee faces in choosing appropriate books, and can be viewed here. Also viewable are the talks by Prof. Ziv, Areej Massarwe and Fatma Kassem on related topics.
Maktabat al-Fanoos is working with publishers to create new children's books, not previously available in Arabic. Of the 16 titles in the program this year (8 for Kindergarten and 8 different titles for pre-K), five are books translated from English or Hebrew for the program, and not previously available in Arabic. In the future, we hope to work with publishers to create more new Arabic-original books.

A selection of the books being distributed by Maktabat al-Fanoos

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