UAE Press: A bonanza for young minds

ABU DHABI, With the 11th edition of the Sharjah Children's Reading Festival, SCRF, kick-starting this week, the much-awaited annual bonanza of fun and learning for children is back, commented a UAE daily.

The 11-day festival, with its richly cognitive fare for young minds, is serving one of the most important functions in society: stimulating children and young adults to imagine a world that is a progressive improvement on the present, and then, with the tools it provides, creativity, imagination and inquiry, to go forth and fashion that world, the Gulf News wrote in its editorial today.

These tools, ancient and elemental, are as indispensable now as they were at the dawn of evolution, the paper noted, adding, "In fact, contemporary social scientists would probably argue that these tools are more critical today than before to combat technology's gale-force dispersal of traditional pursuits of intellectual enrichment such as reading and cogitating into straws that blow in the wind."

The paper went on to say that the growing global concern on the diminishing appeal of reading among children is rooted in demonstrable causal factors. "Over the decades, there has been enough hard scientific evidence that reading feeds young brain development. There is also enough hard evidence of the negative impact of excessive digital consumption on young minds. Experts on children's progress from across the spectrum are harping on the urgent need to gain back the ground that has been ceded to technological overuse," read the editorial.

The SCRF, held annually under the directives of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, has a stunning range of activities steeped in fun, inquiry and discovery.

"Playing a stellar role in helping regain the lost ground, the festival entices children into a world that sparks interest in the written word, and encourages thought and imagination," the paper said.

The sweep and scope of the festival, organised by the Sharjah Book Authority, SBA, is reflected in its sheer number of offerings, 167 publishers from 18 countries, more than 2,500 cultural and literary activities, and the participation of 198 international, regional and local authors and cultural personalities.

Source: Emirates News Agency