Introduce children to reading and writing at an early age
November 26 2015 12:12 AM

Carol Mitchel, the head of Children’s Services at the Qatar National Library, greeting children at an event at the Education City club house.


By Carol Mitchell/Doha

The first three years of a child’s life is a crucial period of rapid growth and cognitive development. In order to increase a child’s ability to grasp new concepts and give them a significant head start in development, it’s imperative for parents to initiate learning from as early as possible.
Reading is the cornerstone of early childhood development. Introducing a child to reading and writing, at an early age is essential to optimise learning and establishing healthy reading habits.
Through a variety of educational events and services targeting children and their parents, Qatar National Library (QNL), a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), seeks to ensure that parents are aware of how important the early learning stage is and encourage them to take full advantage of these crucial years when the brain is most receptive.
QNL is deeply rooted in encouraging and facilitating learning from as early as possible while ensuring that parents are equipped with the necessary skills to initiate learning at home. We have made numerous interactive aids and books available to the community to aid early literacy and facilitate Qatar’s National Vision (QNV 2030) to move towards a knowledge-based society.
Through QNL’s website, families and children are able to access English and Arabic online databases and some of the best children’s literature in the world, including International Children’s Digital Library,, Spacetoon, Arobah, Gulf’s children and Islamic Library for Young Muslims.
As a part QF, QNL actively supports its mission to foster a progressive society, while preserving the nation and the region’s heritage, through the spreading of knowledge and cultivation of creativity for future generations.
The collection of books available through QNL include themes of good citizenship, cultural values, the role of parents in a child’s personal development and Qatar’s cultural identity and diversity.
In addition to these books and learning aids, QNL constantly aims to provide educational tips to families. Setting aside as little as 15 minutes a day to read to their child will greatly impact their future relationship with literature. This allocated time is a great opportunity for parents to bond with their child while awakening curiosity aiding cognitive development.
Reading and writing go together. Writing includes scribbling and drawing while the child is a toddler.
A child’s cognitive development can be likened to that of a tree – if it is constantly nurtured it will flourish with the roots forming a solid foundation which gives a child the ability to reach their full potential.
However, if neglected, development will wilt and wither, stunting growth.
Harnessing the power of early learning through reading lays down a firm, solid foundation which will set a child on a path to a prosperous future.
Learning begins at home, and it’s a parent’s responsibility to create an environment conducive to learning and development, giving a child the head start they deserve.

lCarol Mitchell is the head of Children’s Services at the Qatar National Library, a member of the Qatar Foundation. She has 30 years of professional library experience, leading many programmes, initiatives and services for children and teens. She has also provided numerous professional trainings for teachers and librarians in the US and Qatar.
Her areas of expertise include early and school age literacy, programming for children and teens, collection development, public library management, library spaces for children and teens, partnerships, developmentally appropriate practice and professional development training.
Carol served as the Qatar National Library’s representative and trainer in collaboration with the Supreme Education Council and Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing in organising the school library enrichment project, and most recently led the Qatar National Library’s early literacy workshop attended by a variety of organisations in Qatar serving families and children.

Qatar National Library’s mission

Qatar National Library (QNL) is a non-profit organisation under the umbrella of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF). QNL is supporting Qatar on its journey from a carbon-based economy to knowledge-based economy by providing resources to students, researchers and the community in Qatar. It was announced in November 2012 by HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development.
QNL carries out its mission through three functions: National Library, University and Research Library, and a Metropolitan Public Library of the digital age. The National Library function collects and provides access to global knowledge relevant to Qatar and the region. It also collects, preserves, and provides access to heritage content and materials about Qatar and the region. The University and Research Library function supports education and research at all levels by providing printed and digital library materials for students and researchers. Metropolitan Public Library delivers library services and information for everyone to enjoy reading, meet people and become information literate.
Learn more about Qatar National Library online at
Twitter: @QNLib

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