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  • Focus IBBY
  • Liz Page (bio)

Winners of the 2016 IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award

On Monday, April 4, the chair of the jury for the 2016 IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award, Angela Lebedeva (Russia), announced the winners of the award at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. The winners are Read With Me from Iran, nominated by IBBY Iran, and Big Brother Mouse from Laos, nominated by the IBBY sections of Switzerland, Germany, France, and Denmark. The two winners were selected from eleven nominations made by the National Sections of IBBY. The nominations were from Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Indonesia, Iran, Laos, Mexico, New Zealand, and Slovenia.

Angela Lebedeva expressed IBBY’s gratitude to the Asahi Shimbun newspaper company in Japan for their many years of sponsorship of this prestigious award.

“Read With Me” Paints a Brighter Future!

Read With Me (RWM) is a reading promotion project designed and implemented by the Institute for Research on the History of Children’s Literature in Iran (IRHCLI) to promote reading for/with disadvantaged children who are generally at risk ( “The Institute for Research on the History of Children’s Literature in Iran” (IRHCLI) is a non-governmental, non-profit organization founded in 2000 to conduct research on the history of children’s literature ( A major achievement of the Institute is the publication of ten volumes of the history of children’s literature in Iran. Reaching out to disadvantaged children has been a major concern of the Institute—in particular those who are deprived of cultural activities, especially books and reading. In 2010, the Institute [End Page 83] developed a new project called Read With Me.

Read With Me started as a pilot project in a marginal area of southeastern Tehran close to brick kilns where some 120 Afghan families lived. Since then, the project has successfully expanded to many rural and urban areas in Iran. As the project was designed to be implementable for groups of children of different ages and in all environments, Read With Me was carried out in locations as diverse as preschools located in remote villages, centers for working children in cities, nurseries, orphanages, hospitals, boarding schools for children affected by earthquake, and even in a factory for the family members.

By now, about 25,000 children and 1,000 teachers in 13 provinces have joined the project ( Based on the project’s methodology, teachers and tutors who participate in Read With Me workshops implement the project in their schools and education centers, making about 1,000 teachers indirectly involved in Read with me project.

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About half of the children participating in this project are bilingual ones from Sistan and Baluchistan province, which is one of the most deprived areas in Iran. Since the beginning of the Read With Me project in Sistan and Baluchistan Province, bilingual children in the Read with me classes who previously had serious problems in learning Persian, now in addition to learning easier and faster, are involved in book related activities, so their other personal skills and abilities have grown dramatically.

The main objectives of the project are to

  • • develop lifelong reading habits at home, school and in the community;

  • • enhance the life of disadvantaged children through reading books and literature;

  • • keep street and working children and young adults away from violence and crime;

  • • empower teachers, librarians, and volunteers through workshops to ensure sustainability of the project;

  • • and set up and maintain dynamic children’s libraries in deprived areas.

Read With Me offers alternative approaches to education that are based on learning through literature.

The Read With Me classes substituted the mainstream educational approach by learning through literature and related activities, specifically drama. The project involves children in games, role-playing, and different crafts—motivating them and, at the same time, empowering them to change their behavior and their environment.

The project focuses on reading aloud to help the children associate reading with building a vocabulary, acquire a reading model, and become familiar with different types of literature and new concepts. Teachers encourage discussion and exchange of views about the story, aiming to...


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pp. 83-92
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