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Year 2016… The Year of Reading

To produce a reading generation and establish the UAE as
the capital of cultural and knowledge content‎
Year 2016… The Year of Reading  

What is the Year of Reading?

It is an initiative launched by HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, to foster a culture of reading in the minds of citizens and residents of the UAE, and to develop an integrated national framework with the aim of preparing a generation of readers who are knowledgeable about all the cultures of the world. The Supreme Committee for the “Reading Year” was formed to coordinate all efforts and implement the strategic initiatives aimed at achieving the objectives of this initiative.

Various initiatives have been launched and implemented nationwide, covering all segments of the society, from children to elderly. These initiatives included many activities and events that are related to reading, which were carefully designed to meet the needs of the target groups namely: families, society, students and employees.

National Plan for Reading

A 10-year national strategic plan for reading has been developed, which constitutes of six objectives, five principles and 34 strategic initiatives. It seeks to foster reading as a daily habit and to make it a lifestyle in the UAE society by year 2026, through:

Foundations lying

Laying the foundations and skills of reading since early childhood.


promote reading for children and young people through the educational system.

Creating opportunities

Creating opportunities for reading and providing channels and facilities for lifelong learning


|Statistics about Reading

Following are the results of some studies conducted by the Arab Reading Index and the World Culture Index in a number of countries around the world about the average time (hours) spent reading on a weekly basis.

|General Statistics about reading in the Arab World



Residents of the UAE read an average of 51 hours per year



Average reading time spent reading in the rest of the Arab countries is 35 hours per year



The average number of books read per capita in the UAE per year.



The average number of books an individual reads per year in the Arab region.

Advantages of Reading

Some may consider reading as a useful hobby or a fun activity in leisure time or the perfect means to acquire knowledge; but it actually goes beyond the limits of mere fun and entertainment. Reading nurtures the mind and soul and is a life necessity, offering the reader countless benefits.


Reading stimulates the brain’s ability to concentrate, think and analyse, and works on strengthening brain tissues.


Reading contributes to stress relief and reduces fatigue. It also helps with physical, mental and psychological meditation.


Reading contributes to the development of the readers’ mental skills and creative capabilities, enabling them to face challenges and innovate solutions.


A book is considered a window to the world’s various civilisations, which enhances the toleration of other cultures and helps building up developed societies.


Reading is the best exercise to strengthen memory, thus reducing the risk of Alzheimer's disease.


Reading enriches your vocabulary and knowledge on different topics, which helps enhance your self-confidence at work.

Applications and Websites for Reading Books

Below are some of the multi-featured websites and smart phone apps that provide a fun and easy reading experience to its users.

  • NOOON Books

    An Arabic application that runs on Windows Phone, Android and App Store.

  • Obeikan Store

    An Arabic application that runs on "Windows Phone", "Android" and "App Store".


    An application for iPhone and iPad that allows the user to download books and provides them with their own library.

  • Sibawayh App

    An application that provides readers with a variety of e-books.

  • Google Books

    It contains more than million e-books that cover all aspects of life.

  • Project Gutenberg

    It is one of the largest websites with an unlimited collection of e-books..

  • Goodreads

    A website that provides readers with a collection of interesting books; it is also available as a smart application.

  • Neelwafurat

    It is one of the largest Arabic e-bookstores that provides reading enthusiasts with all their needs of books and reading materials..

Ministry of Finance Initiatives for the Year

Based on its belief in the importance of reading and its crucial role in enhancing the perspective of readers regardless of their educational and cultural levels or age group, the Ministry of Finance has launched and supported different initiatives during the Year of Reading, in accordance with the requirements of the national plans to strengthen the status of UAE among the world’s most developed countries.

  • A reading email address has been created, through which topics related to reading are sent to everyone under the title "Iqraa".

  • Encouraging the ministry's employees to share their articles, publications or any other topics they wish to publish.

  • Disseminating summaries of books entitled "A Book in Minutes" issued by the Mohammed bin Rashid Knowledge Foundation.

  • Circulating flashes of reading such as the benefits of reading, the art of reading and why do we read, among others.

  • Disseminating among all employees websites related to reading such as Goodreads, Neelwafurat and others.

  • Disseminating among all employees "The Best of what I have Read" session, during which employees share their favourite quotes.

  • Disseminating among all employees "Excerpts from a Book" session, during which employees share with others books they have already read.

  • Introducing a library in the ministry's office in Abu Dhabi and disseminating the borrowing mechanism.

  • Carrying out various activities during the reading month, such as: Reading Coffee, distribution of the reading bag and an interactive workshop with Ayoub Yusuf.

  • Disseminating "An article that I liked" session among employees during which articles from official newspaper were circulated.

  • Disseminating the electronic library of “Bayanati” among the ministry’s employees.

  • Disseminating the session of "The best of what I Have Read in Poetry" during which excerpts from poems were circulated among the ministry’s employees.

  • Providing e-books in the ministry’s library.

  • Organising a training course titled "Fast Reading" with Dr Jamal Al Mulla.

  • Showing a movie that is based on book entitle "The Books Thief".

  • Disseminating the session “Inspirational Verse" during the holy month of Ramadan, during which Quranic verses were circulated with the participation of employees.

  • Creating a shared file entitled "Let’s Read Together" which includes all topics related to reading, so that employees can easily access them.

  • Organising a "Crossword" competition.

  • Organising the MoF Book Fair in cooperation with Al Magrudy bookshop.

  • Organising an event to release negative energy; it included sessions of games and colouring.

  • Organising the initiative of "Take/Give a Book" to contribute to the dissemination of knowledge among the ministry's employees. This initiative allows employees to share the books they have already read with others to benefit them.

  • Creating a reading club.


The Arab Reading Challenge

Launched in 2015 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the Arab Reading Challenge (ARC) is the largest-ever Arab literacy initiative to encourage students to read. It challenges more than one million students to participate in reading 50 million books during one academic year.

Students from years 1 to 12 from schools across the Arab world can participate in the challenge through the reading of Arabic books. ARC consists of five stages, each including reading ten books and summarising their content in the challenge passports; followed by the final stage of elimination according to set criteria and then, the finals which are held annually in Dubai in October, and during which valuable prizes are distributed to the winners.

The Arab Reading Challenge in its second session witnessed the competition of more than seven million students from 25 Arab and foreign countries, during which they read more than 200 million books. The third session of ARC 2018 was recently launched.

For more details on the Arab Reading Challenge, please visit the ARC website


Page last updated : 07/03/2018 8:34 AM