Grandma Stories: Saudi storyteller teaches values and critical thinking by letting children speak up

Children attentively listen to Ghadeer Yamani. (AN photo)
Updated 22 April 2018
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Grandma Stories: Saudi storyteller teaches values and critical thinking by letting children speak up

  • Storytelling is not only a fun way to ignite imaginations; it also improves children’s verbal and critical thinking abilities, says Yamani
  • Yamani has read stories in both Arabic and English for more than 6,000 children of 15 nationalities all over the Kingdom and the Gulf region

DHAHRAN: You can see children forming a gigantic circle and listening carefully when story time starts. Ghadeer Yamani, the founder of Grandma Stories, found her passion for spreading the love of reading among children and delivering values through her storytelling sessions.
The Grandma Stories initiative started six years ago when Yamani returned home after spending years abroad owing to her husband’s work. Yamani has read stories in both Arabic and English for more than 6,000 children of 15 nationalities all over the Kingdom and the Gulf region, including the UAE and Bahrain.
“The idea of Grandma Stories was not an epiphany; it came to me after I saw how reading was a huge part of children’s life abroad. I used to see children reading in libraries, in bus stops, in hospitals — everywhere. I wanted to help spread reading culture in my society.
“I wanted children back home to love reading! And with the support of my husband and family, I think I was able to do this,” Yamani told Arab News.
With the prevalence of national reading competitions, school contests and reading clubs, awareness among families and society members is growing. “The interaction and excitement of families and children are amazing when it comes to story time,” said Yamani.
About the title of her initiative, she said: “When I was a child I used to visit my father’s grandmother in Madinah who had a phenomenal way of telling stories and riddles. I still remember how the entire family would get around her as she started telling her tales, and in an atmosphere filled with love and contentment.
“No one ever wanted her stories to finish and nothing could ever distract us while listening to her. That is exactly how I want children to feel in Grandma Stories story time.”
Storytelling is not only a fun way to ignite imaginations; it also improves children’s verbal and critical thinking abilities. Yamani allows children to criticize the stories by pointing out the strengths and weaknesses of each one. The advancement in such skills is what inspires Yamani and keeps her going.
“The fondest moments throughout my years in storytelling have been when mothers come and tell me how their children used to be shy and reluctant but have started to become fluent and can express themselves well, and that Grandma Stories is the reason for this great progress.”


Ever wondered how they clean the floor around the Kaaba during Hajj? Quickly

Updated 28 min 11 sec ago
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Ever wondered how they clean the floor around the Kaaba during Hajj? Quickly

  • Hundreds of thousands of people walk around the Kaaba during Hajj
  • The process of cleaning the floor is a well rehearsed task that takes minutes

DUBAI: With millions of people currently attending Makkah as they perform the Hajj pilgrimage, which includes circumambulating the Kaaba, it is no wonder that things need to be cleaned.

This sped-up video footage, that has been shared on social media, shows how teams of cleaners enter the Mataf (the circumambulation area around the Kaaba), while a line of security stop the pilgrims entering the area which is being cleaned with a long line of rope.  

The process is well rehearsed, so the teams of cleaners take little time to ensure the area is ready in a short time, so that pilgrims can continue.

Here’s the video: