A MOTHER-SON DUO’S CAMPAIGN TO ENCOURAGE READING:
Qatar-based expat mother Christine Smith and her son Ethan are making a difference with a feasible campaign - aimed at promoting reading habit and helping the fight against cancer.
Words are profound. Words can be used to build or they can be used to break down and destroy. The message Christine Smith, an expat who has been living in Doha for the past six years, trying to promulgate, is that words are powerful. She seeks to spread the message that the best way to harness this power is by picking up a book, a magazine or a newspaper. “How else can one find words if not by reading them,” Christine asks.
She is hoping to use her website, Modulargold.com as a platform to encourage reading, writing and giving back to the community.
The website features book reviews by Christine and her eight-year-old son Ethan. The reviews feature books for all ages, discuss the different genres available in Doha and also feature posts on how to keep up with reading, even with the hectic schedule of most people in Qatar.
At a young age, Christine loved reading and her mother would often tell her that even when she was but a little child, at about three years of age, she would read the letters on signposts and sign boards – S-T-O-P was one of her favourites. However, she never stopped- reading that is, discovering books from a young age helped with her vocabulary and her confidence. She was able to converse with adults who were often amazed by how much she knew or the “really big words” she bandied about.
She discovered classics like Hans Christian Anderson’s the Princess and the Pea which explained any days of troubled sleep- “Aha!” She thought, “I must be a princess and there must be several peas underneath the mattress.” Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s travels - which made her wonder if there was really a world out there with little people capturing giants and Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations, which gave her a strong social conscience and thought her that compassion, loyalty and kindness are of much greater value than any social advancement or wealth.
Reading Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe made her think about embarking on journeys, seeking adventures across oceans and continents and from Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, she learnt that sometimes in life, things aren’t always what they seem and endings might be bittersweet.
“Reading is a learned ability unique to humans. For the development of the skill of reading, research shows that multiple regions of the brains are used. Various functional imaging studies have identified the left hemisphere frontal, temporal and parietal regions are initiated during reading tasks. Skilled reading relies upon the integration of all these brain regions, and the more one reads, the greater the communication between these regions. This also often leads to the strengthening of brain function over time,” Christine says.
Learning to read is a developmental process. Progress in this process is usually in parallel to the development of multiple cognitive and linguistic skills, including fluency, accuracy, and phonetic awareness. These skills begin to develop and eventually lead to fluent reading. As one continues to learn, the skills are refined and it is safe to say that learning to read and continuous reading is most likely a definite enabler of brain maturation.
Qatar-based expat mother christine smith and her son Ethan are making a difference with a feasible campaign aimed at promoting reading habit and helping the fight against cancer
Renowned author William Nicholson once said, “We read to know that we are not alone.” This sentiment expresses that reading helps us connect with the world and feel less isolated. In an electronic device ridden world, where face to face communication with each other is slowly becoming obsolete, a lot of people are increasingly feeling and becoming isolated. Anxiety and depression are common in our community today. This is especially true in communities like Qatar where there are expatriates who have often relocated because of a job, and have left behind family and friends in their home countries. In some parts of the world, doctors have been known to prescribe books to patients with depression, hoping that reading will help them find connections. Books can help individuals through difficult times.
Some books made a great impact in Christine’s life and were great companions during difficult times. One of such difficult times was the death of her father at a very young age. He was stricken with cancer and she always hoped he would recover. When he succumbed to the disease, the hurt was indescribable. She wished for one last time to use her words, to tell him some words that would soothe his pain.
She buried her head in books and started writing, poems, words she wished she could say to her father. Christine often says “words saved her from a deeply insidious spiral into the abyss of depression and regret.”
Christine pledged to always give back to the society and community. Nowadays, Christine and her son Ethan are promoting a campaign called the Read8; Give8; Modul8 campaign. The loss from cancer which had almost destroyed her and the books which helped her, have served as an inspiration for the community-focused campaign. Together, mother and son came up with a feasible campaign aimed at promoting reading and helping the fight against cancer.
SPOTLIGHTQatar-based expat mother Christine Smith and her son Ethan are making a difference with a feasible campaign - aimed at promoting reading habit and helping the fight against cancer.
Some books made a great impact in Christine’s life and were great companions during her difficult times.