Finally, the time to announce the winners of the third Baghtcheban award has arrived. This year, as of the previous years, the event was held simultaneously with the National Book Day Celebrations in Iran, on 2 November 2020. Twelve of the creative and distinguished Read with Me teachers nominated for the award were announced.
Jabbar Baghtcheban award has been organized by the Institute for Research on the History of Children’s Literature, which is financially and culturally supported and sponsored by Azarestan Business Developing Group. The event is held every two years, and prizes are awarded to the creative and distinguished Read with Me teachers, who have contributed to the promotion of books and book reading and also have been effective in enhancing basic literacy in children and adolescents.
It is our pride and pleasure that in 2020, there were so many distinguished and creative teachers eligible for Jabbar Baghtcheban Award which, made it difficult for judges to choose the winners.
The judges, while appreciating the endeavors of the selfless and competent teachers, based their judgment on such criteria as perseverance and persistence in promoting book reading, enhancing literacy skills in children in deprived regions of Iran, also in being creative and innovative in the development of reading skills and promotion of literacy, brining credibility and awareness to the methods of ‘‘Read with Me’’, and introducing these teaching programs to teachers, instructors, bookkeepers, and parents. From the nominated candidates, 12 outstanding teachers have been selected for the third Jabbar Baghtcheban prize.
The winners will be presented with a certificate of appreciation and also cash prizes. Furthermore; a certificate of appreciation to express our thanks and gratitude for the hard work and dedication of other teachers and librarians will be handed out.
Previous Jabbar Baghtcheban national biannual awards were presented in 2016 and 2018 to winners of the ‘‘Read with Me’’ project. Unfortunately, due to the spread of COVID-19, this gathering was not possible, but in the coming weeks the executives of ‘‘Read with Me’’, intend to prepare and post short clips on social media to introduce and thank these distinguished teachers and their achievements in promoting and enhancing awareness and knowledge among children.
Appreciation message from Azarestan Business Development Group
Azarestan Business Development Group has been our sponsor for implementation of the ‘‘Read with Me’’ program in many parts of Iran and has funded the prizes for Jabbar Baghtcheban awards. Here is their message to the winners:
Distinguished teachers of ‘‘Read with Me’’ project
We are pleased to have reached the 3rd Jabbar Baghtcheban conference for the promotion of the Read with Me program.
We are honored and proud to be a witness to your endeavors. Your efforts of promoting and sowing the seeds of book reading in the most distant and deprived regions of our beloved country is much appreciated. We hope that one day, this land will be full of people like you, because you have not only handed books to our children but sown the seeds of knowledge and awareness in their hearts and minds. There are many of you involved in this commendable effort, we have as a token and symbol of your valuable efforts chosen a small group to show our gratitude, also to commemorate the achievements of the late Jabbar Baghtcheban and his outstanding services for the welfare of children’s literacy and to express our sincere thanks to you who are following his steps for the betterment of our country.
Appreciation message from the Institute for Research on the History of Children’s Literature.
The Institute for Research on the History of Children’s Literature has also expressed its appreciation for the distinguished teachers, librarians and personnel involved in promoting book reading and the literacy project, and hopes that with the existing dynamic mindset, enthusiasm and aspirations, together the seeds of hope will flourish in the minds and hearts of our children and they can reap the benefits from the rich culture of human kind.
The Institute for Research on the History of Children’s Literature would also like to express its appreciation for all those people who have supported the ‘‘Read with Me’’ project, in different parts of Iran. Our project would not have been possible without their help and assistance.
Let’s become acquainted with the winners of the 3rd Jabbar Baghtcheban award:
Mehdi Rigizadeh is one of our nomadic teachers and is a long-standing associate of ‘‘Read with Me’’ project presently active in Sistan and Baluchestan. Every day, he travels a long dirt road to reach his school in Rahematabad, a village in Zahedan. His small class is a miniature example of knowledge and literacy. With the guidance of this distinguished teacher, a number of educationally disadvantaged girl students have accepted to manage a small library in their village and are continuing their studies by distant learning. Rigizadeh in collaboration with Abdulghafoor Shahbakhsh, is in charge of training teachers of educationally disadvantaged children.
He is a truly creative teacher in nomadic schools of ‘Read with Me’ project. His motivation in creating methods of teaching basic literacy, reading aloud sessions, and a book-friendly atmosphere has dramatically enhanced the children’s reading skills, and most of them have become experts in reading books. He has set up small libraries in school corridors, has incorporated activities related to school lessons with quality books, and exhibited them so that it has a long-lasting effect on the minds of children.
Fariba Dahmardeh, is a first-grade basic schoolteacher in the Bonjar district, and with an inexhaustible enthusiasm teaches all the other stages of the ‘Read with Me’ project in the school. She does not limit her teaching activities in the classroom, but arranges read-aloud sessions for children in the complex she lives in. She also arranges simple workshops for parents, especially mothers to acquaint them with teaching creative basic literacy and read-aloud skills.
Halimeh Gorg is an outstanding example of a hard-working dynamic teacher and promoter. She started her co-operation with the ‘Read with Me’ project teaching creative literacy skills in her class in the village of Karbask in the Bonjar district. She did not limit her activities to her class, but she started to promote book reading to families and the community she lives in. She has succeeded in familiarizing children and adolescents of Rezajar village with books and book reading. For educationally disadvantaged children without identification documents, she has arranged regular read-aloud sessions, and is being assisted in her efforts by mothers of these deprived children.
Maryam Nikbakht who joined the ‘Read with Me’ program in 2016 has a profound understanding of the approach of teaching and method of its implementation. When you attend her class in Behrooz Reisee school in the Park Sheikhan village, it’s like entering an atmosphere full of knowledge, love and serenity – all the things that a first-grade child at school longs for. After a few months, the children in her class can read and write with ease. Walls of her class are decorated with words, numbers, poems and children’s handicrafts. The class library conveys the message and feeling that the children are enjoying and loving their learning experience. With the help of her husband and the support of the school principal, Maryam has made the school a model center teaching the importance of protection of the environment.
Maryam Kahrizi is a Read with Me promoter in Kermanshah province. Her students are deeply in love with her, and parents feel confident and assured that their children are under her care and guidance. She is the essence of being able to bring stories and poetry into the life of the children, and this has enhanced the quality of her teaching. Kahrizi has not limited her teaching activities to her classes. She constantly travels to deprived villages in Kermanshah, reads books with children, and at the same time teaches family members.
After the 2017 earthquake in Kermanshah, she accompanied eager volunteers and travelled to Sarpol-e Zahab and nearby villages helping children with her books. Also after the 2019 floods in Lorestan, with a wealth of experience and many books, she went to Poldokhtar and neighboring villages to give emotional support and comfort to the people of the crisis-stricken region.
After the devastating earthquake of 2017 in Kermanshah, Shokoufeh Amirian became acquainted with the ‘Read with Me’ project and since then has turned into one of our most industrious and dedicated librarians and promoters in the cities of Sarpol-e Zahab, Ghasr-e Shirin and neighboring districts. She holds read-aloud sessions at the children-centered library in Sarpol-e Zahab, preschools and educational centers for deprived nomadic children. All these years, she has used all opportunities to elevate her skills in the field of teaching children’s literacy and is a true example of a conscientious and dedicated teacher.
Sanaan Sedighee started co-operating with the ‘Read with Me’ project after the earthquake in Kermanshah province. With her conscientious efforts, he has turned the library in Zalan village, a district of Javanrood, into a cultural center that promotes book reading for the center and nearby villages. Sedighee also attends to the affairs of several other libraries that are sponsored by Anjoman Yaran Danesh va Mehr in this region. He has trained teachers who are presently working with him. With his creativity, knowledge, determination, and enthusiasm, he has influenced the academic atmosphere in Kermanshah and his sheer energy and dynamism has promoted book reading in the libraries in this region.
Zeynab Naderi, a mother of three children, is a Read with Me volunteer in Qeshm Island. In addition to teaching basic literacy, she takes advantage of any opportunity to promote book reading for children in the city and villages. She has made literacy and reading an indispensable part of life for her own children and others too. In her opinion, we should seize the day, time and all the opportunities available to connect children with books – libraries, hospitals, under a palm tree, in a village via social media.
Samaneh Hadjizadeh, is a veteran Read with Me teacher. From the first day of joining us, her preschool classes in Aliabad village have always been brimming with literacy, knowledge, jubilation, and games. She has been a witness to the profound influence of books in the well-being and improvement of children. Therefore, she seizes any opportunity to arrange read-aloud sessions for higher-grade students. The love and enthusiasm of her students to books was the cause of converting a storeroom in the school into a small and beautiful library. Presently, with the help of the ‘Read with Me’ she is setting up a child-centered library in the city of Tabas Masina. The children and their parents are impatiently waiting for its opening day.
From the very first day that Mojdeh Palashi joined the ‘Read with Me’ program, she was enthusiastically involved and active in implementing read-aloud sessions in her preschool classes. With a backpack full of quality books, she would travel to cities and villages nearby and everywhere she would call upon children to come and listen to stories, and she would acquaint other teachers with the ‘Read with Me’ programs. By setting up a library in “Bagheh Setareh” preschool, she has brought about a strong bond between books and children of Kouhkerd village and encouraged book reading in the nearby villages. She takes advantage of all opportunities that she gets to read with children so as to enrich their knowledge and experience.
By setting up Read with Me library in Ghassemabad village, Mahboubeh Ekhlasi joined the project. Through read-aloud activities she has nurtured a relationship between books and the children and introduced them to an exciting, interesting and colorful world. In addition to promoting book reading in the library, she visits neighboring villages with a sack full of books, and arranges read-aloud sessions, and lends books to children. Ekhlasi is very talented and creative in her presentations and has brought about a strong relationship between children and books. For her, all occasions are suitable opportunities to indirectly share a quality book with children, so as to acquaint the values and skills important in their lives.