E-books written by students downloaded over 40,000 times

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Hamdan Bin Zayed School project sees 16 books written in English, Arabic and Chinese

Students, oficials and teachers at the Hamdan Bin Zayed School during the celebration of Arabic and Chinese storytelling.

Students, oficials and teachers at the Hamdan Bin Zayed School during the celebration of Arabic and Chinese storytelling.

06/02/2019, Wednesday- Abu Dhabi: Sixteen e-books written by schoolchildren in Abu Dhabi have been downloaded more than 40,000 times over the last three years.

The books have been written in Arabic, English and Chinese by students of Hamdan Bin Zayed School, the UAE’s only trilingual public school.

The books feature relevant themes like bullying, living with special needs and cultural tolerance.

“When we embarked on this project three years ago, the aim was to provide the children with an outlet for their creativity, and also allow their unique voices to be heard. Since then, it has allowed the children to become authors in their own right, and we have been able to use the books for buddy reading projects at the kindergarten level,” Jo McMillan-Chabot, trilingual expansion coordinator at the school, told Gulf News on Tuesday.

The project was on Tuesday recognised by senior officials at the Ministry of Education, and school authorities said they would continue to run the project in collaboration with New Zealand-based digital books producer, Kiwa.

The e-books can be downloaded from Google Play and App Store. Users can flip through the slides and listen to the narration in any of the three languages.

“We decided to do them in all three languages to showcase the creativity and language skills of our children,” McMillan-Chabot said.

The school has more than 800 students from kindergarten to grade 11 all of whom receive instruction simultaneously in English, Arabic and Chinese. The first batch is set to graduate next year.

“We only take in children at the kindergarten level so they can be completely fluent in all three languages by the time they graduate. Moreover, this model greatly promotes cultural tolerance and innovation,” said Nina Smithstanger, acting academic vice-principal.

Grade 10 student Ruqayya Al Hosani was part of a group, which developed an e-book about living with autism. She said that the ability to read, write and speak fluently in three languages would one day open many doors for her.

“I want to be an Emirati diplomat in China, and am delighted to be a part of this unique school,” she said.

While the majority of students at the school are Emirati, it also has a number of Chinese children.

“My parents live here and I was born in Abu Dhabi. Being here at this school has given me a grasp of not just my native Chinese, but also English and Arabic, and I hope it will allow me to pursue a career in international relations,” said Anqi Wong, 15.


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