UAE reading challenge winner is a poet
Dubai - Al Naqbi, 17 will represent the UAE in the semi-finals of the ARC in October.
Emirati teenager Shamsa Al Naqbi, who read 300 books over the last six years, won the national competition of the third Arab Reading Challenge (ARC) on Thursday.
Al Naqbi, 17, a student at Um Omara Secondary School in Khor Fakkan, will represent the UAE in the semi-finals of the ARC, which is scheduled on October 28-29.
The teenager, who's also a poet and theatre director, was selected from 12 contestants in 10 final spots for her confidence, critical thinking, problem solving, variety of books she read, comprehension of text, and ability to communicate accurately in Arabic.
The top 10 were narrowed down from 351,000 participants across 1,245 public and private schools in the country.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said: "I'm proud that over 350,000 students have participated in the Arab Reading Challenge in the UAE. 'Congratulations!' to Shamsa Al Naqbi, who won the first place..
"Congratulations also to more than 10 and half million Arab students, who joined the reading challenge... A generation that reads is a promising generation. Along with you, we will be optimistic of a more beautiful future."
Although the competition seemed fierce, Al Naqbi, was not surprised when she was crowned as the UAE winner of the challenge. "It has been a dream of mine to represent the UAE not only the national level, but hopefully across the Middle East during the finals," she said. "My aim is to be named the winner of the Arab Reading Challenge."
Al Naqbi, who started reading 50 books a year since Grade 4, said the habit has helped her shine in different fields.
Al Naqbi will represent the UAE as she competes with 16 other Arab contestants for the big prize of the challenge that reached over 10 million students from 44 countries who collectively read over 250 million books.
Al Naqbi, who will also represent the UAE in the upcoming World Robot Olympiad in November., said: "Reading is the basic drive to other fields and the first step to success."
For the challenge, Al Naqbi read and summarised 50 books of various fields including history, science, math, science fiction and literature.
Love for reading rises
Speaking during the ceremony, Jameela Salem Al Muhairi, Minister of State for Public Education said the challenge met its strategic plan this year when it drew 40 per cent of participations from the UAE. The challenge also recorded an increase in male readers from 40 per cent to 47 per cent. "It's good to see that we succeeded in planting the love for reading in our youth," said Al Muhairi.
Laila Zebdeh, the admin coordinator of the ARC, said:"This year saw an incredible performance that pushed us to name 12 students in our top 10 final's list." Said Zebdeh.
Assem Mahmoud from Abu Dhabi was awarded the Distinguished Supervisor Award and Bayat Al Radwan School in Abu Dhabi received the UAE's Best School Award.