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Latest News from Maktabat al-Fanoos (Lantern Library) book program in Israel
October 2015 
Dear Friends, 
During this tense time in Israel, we believe it is crucial to continue investing in the future of children -- and this month are launching the third year of the Arabic book program Maktabat al-Fanoos (Lantern Library). Not only are we continuing to serve 100% percent of children in Arabic state preschools who receive eight books a year, for free, but we are now offering the books at cost to semi-private schools in Arab communities as well. Read below for more information on how Maktabat al-Fanoos is growing and developing.

Galina Vromen
Director Maktabat al-Fanoos

Executive Director, Grinspoon Israel Foundation

 About 200 semi-private preschools join Maktabat al-Fanoos
For the first time, Maktabat al-Fanoos has become available to semi-private schools. About 200 semi-private preschools – with close to 6,000 children – have chosen to join Maktabat al-Fanoos at cost.  Alongside the eight titles delivered to the children throughout the year, each participating classroom receives 16 complimentary books for the class library.The teachers in these schools take part in orientation and training conducted by Bidayat Early Childhood Center.
The preschools – run by non-profit organizations -- receive limited supervision and funding from the Israeli Ministry of the Education.
Children in the participating semi-private schools will join the 80,000 children in Arabic state preschools who enjoy the books for free, through the funding partnership of the Israeli Ministry of Education, the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and Price Philanthropies.
 Training the trainer
In August, 26 Ministry of Education teacher trainers attended a 2-day workshop that focused on ways to help teachers maximize the integration of Maktabat al-Fanoos books in the classroom and in collaboration with parents. Organized by Maktabat al-Fanoos partner Bidayat Early Childhood Center, the workshop familiarized participants with upcoming books and explored the role of the trainer in working with teachers to promote a love of books in class and at home. A robust ongoing training program in the past year, also conducted by Bidayat, included sessions for 140 teachers and 50 teacher trainers.
Evaluation shows impact of Maktabat al-Fanoos

According to surveys of the program, 99% of teachers reported reading all Maktabat al-Fanoos in class at least once, with about three-fourths of the teachers reading each title at least three times before sending the book home. 

In addition, 95% of the teachers said they conducted varied book-related activities with the children, and 88% said they presented the program to the parents at a meeting and encouraged families to conduct book-related activities in the home. 

Approximately 90% of teachers said they read significantly more often in class as a result of the program and also carried out more language/literacy related activities.

For highlights of the mid-year evaluation click here. For highlights of the end-year evaluation click here 

New theater production enriches children’s experience with Maktabat al-Fanoos

To enrich their cultural experience, 2,600 kindergarteners had the opportunity to see The Little Kangaroo, a play inspired by the children's story The Little Pickpocket, distributed last year by Maktabat al-Fanoos.

The interactive production by actresses Fida Zaydan and Yusra Barakat was initiated and supported by Bidayat Early Childhood Center to deepen children’s understanding and enjoyment of the book.  

More plays are planned for the future.

Ara’ra community project puts focus on reading

In conjunction with Maktabat al-Fanoos, Bidayat Early Childhood Center initiated a community-wide project to stimulate shared reading in the town of Ara’ra in central Israel. The project included a professional development course for teachers, who carried out lectures for and projects with parents, visits to the local public library, and meetings with authors. The project culminated with a week of special parent-child activities, displayed at the local community center. Ara’ra’s success is expected to be a model for another community.


Working with a variety of publishers

Maktabat al-Fanoos will work with nine Arabic-language publishers this year to produce the 16 titles (8 for younger, 8 for older children) in the program this year. The book list includes 10 titles originally written in Arabic, 5 translated from English, and one from German. For more details on the books click here and here.

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