Insha'Allah, on May 15, 2010, 'A Muslim Child is Born' will launch a new reading project; one I hope that you will all participate in insha'Allah. This is a project that I had hoped to begin here in my own community but because I was not able to I decided that I still want to share the joy of reading any way possible insha'Allah. I will insha'Allah tell you the name of the project and the details of participation as we draw closer to the launch date insha'Allah.
The project is simple (and fun) insha'Allah. Every month on the 15th I will post a book on the blog and provide activity ideas/suggestions to be done with the book insha'Allah. I intend to feature books (with activity ideas) to be read with children from birth to 5 year insha'Allah and I'll be on the lookout for Islamic books as a primary focus. All you have to do, if you'd like to participate, is on that day make it a priority to read to your child out loud and do a small activity with him/her insha'Allah. You do not have to use the book that I feature here; of course you can select any book you wish insha'Allah.
As the time to launch the project draws near, insha'Allah I will have a button that you can put on your blog/site and you can (and are encouraged to) write a post about how the experience went and what you and your child(ren) did, what book you read, what activity you did, etc. Do you all also want to do a blog hop? It is where you can leave the link to your post right in the Reading Program Post so others can easily hop over to your blog to see what you read with your little one insha'Allah.
I decided to do this only once a month to make it "do-able" and not overwhelming insha'Allah. The primary goal is to encourage reading aloud to children. It is my hope that insha'Allah, mums, dads, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters will pick up a book and invite a little one to snuggle up with them and read a book. It is a wonderful thing to be read aloud to and this is an experience that I wish all children to have biithnillah.
I even have the ambitious hope that this project will catch on in communities/masaajids across the world insha'Allah. If a sister can arrange to have parents of children birth to 4 years old (I would even suggest putting the 4 and 5 year olds in a different session insha'Allah) come to the masjid once each month for a half of an hour to be read aloud to insha'Allah, that would be amazing. If the sister wishes to print and use the resources/activities posted here (or make her own), she can require that the participants pay a small fee - only enough to cover the cost of printing and buying large ziplock freezer bags to put the activities in for each child. When she has finished the story she can hand out a bag to each child to take home insha'Allah. Then sit back and watch as in each session the children's eyes are expectant and eager as they wait to journey in their imagination yet again insha'Allah. But I must mention this next point as it is critical: If you are participating in this program and you are Muslim (because you don't have to be Muslim to participate), please, please do not read books that contain things that contradict Islamic principles. Commit to excellence in your adherence of the deen insha'Allah. Your Lord is Watching; make it your sole goal to please Him insha'Allah.
If you wish to do this in your community here are some basic principles to adhere to (just to help get you started) insha'Allah:
- Always start your program on time insha'Allah.
- Prepare your materials ahead of time insha'Allah. If you are going to hand out an activity at the end, prepare them and have them in their bags before you arrive at the location where you will read insha'Allah.
- Read the book ahead of time (more than once if needed) to ensure your reading is smooth, fluent and lively insha'Allah.
- In your first meeting, clearly define the program for the parents (i.e. bring the children on time and stay with them at all times insha'Allah). Explain to the parents who have signed up to participate that bringing children into the program late is a distraction and takes away from the experience of the other children. In Islam, the rights of all must be protected and not violated.
- Briefly discuss behaviours that are expected (and those that will not be tolerated) during the session. Remind the participants that we must not harm with our hands or tongues. If being done in the masjid, remind the participants that we must respect Allah's House and those in it.
- Relax, give the characters in the book personalities, don't be afraid to stumble over a word and correct yourself, have fun, have fun and then...have fun insha'Allah.
I cannot say how much I hope that children will benefit from this project insha'Allah. I ask Allah to accept it from us and to place it on our scale of good deeds on Yaumul Qiyamah (The Day of Judgment), a Day about which there is no doubt, the day all of the creation will stand before the Lord of all that exists and be held accountable. There is only one God, He has no partners and no associates. Strive to please Him. Strive with your best striving. This can be a sadaqa jariyyah (continuous charity) on your part - giving a child the gift of words and reading. This is a foundation that you can help to build biithnillah and....it's free. Free is good.
Come back soon, grab a button and get ready to read insha'Allah.
We are seeking Your Noble Face ya Rabbil Alamin...please accept it from us...ameen.