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Haneya Multani is a voracious reader. The Year 5 student at Dubai British School read 147 books this summer. Image Credit:

DUBAI: Haneya Multani, a Year 5 student at Dubai British School, has emerged as the most voracious reader in the Browzly Summer Reading Challenge after clinching the title for reading the highest number of books, third year in a row.

Bhavna Mishra, founder of Browzly, an app-based reading platform which organised the challenge across eight schools in the UAE, said Haneya read 147 books this summer, taking the total number of books she has covered during summers to 529 since 2017 when the challenge was first launched.

The 2019 challenge, which ran during the summer holidays, required students in two age groups (9-13 and 6-8) to sign up to the platform and register their readings.

“Every time they read a book, they had to scan the ISBN code of the book on the app. We also encouraged them to write text reviews or video reviews about the books. When this is done, their peers get to see it, like it or make a comment. They are also motivated to read the book.”

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Edward Menadue, writer of the best text review title for his review of Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants by Dav Pikey.

Mishra said 175 students from eight schools participated in the challenge. “The schools included Gems Modern Academy, Kings Nad Al Sheba, Gems Cambridge International, The Millennium School in Dubai, Dubai Scholars, The English College, Dubai British School (DBS) and DBS Jumeirah Park.

She said more students read more books with greater engagement this year. “For instance, at DBS alone, the number of participating students doubled, with the number of reviews added growing by 55 per cent and the number of books marked as read by 35 per cent.”

She said with reading being one of the six key focus areas in this year’s inspections, the uptake in the number of students taking to books is encouraging.

Six winners

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Bhavna Mishra, founder of Browzly

The challenge selected six winners in all in the two age groups – one each as reader of the highest number of books, one each as creator of the best video review and one each as the best writer of text review.

While Haneya won the best reader title in the 9-13 age group, Belle Hererra, also from DBS, was chosen creator of the best video review for her review of Call me Alastair by Cory Leonardo and also writer of the best text review award for her review of The Shapeshifter’s Guide to Running Away by Lori Don.

Every time they read a book, they had to scan the ISBN code of the book on the app. We also encouraged them to write text reviews or video reviews about the books. When this is done, their peers get to see it, like it or make a comment. They are also motivated to read the book.

- Bhavna Mishra, founder of Browzly, an app-based reading platform

Belle shared the prize for best text review with Karthika Manoj, a student from The Millennium School Dubai for her review of Esio Trot by Roald Dahl.

In the 6-8 age bracket, Isha K. Nair, a Year 1 student of Kings School Nada Al Sheba, won two titles - reader of the highest number of books (67 books) and creator of the best video review.

Edward Menadue, a student of Year 1 also from DBS, won the writer of the best text review title for his review of Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants by Dav Pikey.

Excited lot

An excited Edward said, “I am very, very happy to win the title. I love reading so much and love choosing new books. My favourites are books on adventure and funny ones. I used the Browzly App with my mum in the holidays and it was fun to scan the books and see what others were reading too.”

Isha said: “I am lucky that my teachers at school allow me to read all kinds of books. I was excited when my mother told me that we could record my reviews. I now record the review of almost every book I read. Books are so important to me, it’s like having a best friend with you all the time.”

I am lucky that my teachers at school allow me to read all kinds of books. I was excited when my mother told me that we could record my reviews. I now record the review of almost every book I read. Books are so important to me, it’s like having a best friend with you all the time.

- Isha K. Nair

Haneya’s mother Rabbia said, “Browzly helped my daughter in figuring out which genre of books most students were reading. So, whenever she would run out of ideas for the next book to read, she would look at what others were reading. She also enjoyed reading book reviews by her friends.”

Simon Jodrell, Principal DBS, said, “Reading for pleasure is central to the curriculum at DBS, our ethos is one where enjoyment is key to all learning. Browzly creates opportunities for connecting students through written and video book reviews, participation in summer reading challenges and the sharing of the love of a thoroughly good book.”

Reading for pleasure is central to the curriculum at DBS, our ethos is one where enjoyment is key to all learning. Browzly creates opportunities for connecting students through written and video book reviews, participation in summer reading challenges and the sharing of the love of a thoroughly good book

- Simon Jodrell, Principal DBS

The reviews were judged by an eminent jury that among others included Sophie Anderson, author of The Girl who speaks Bear and The House with Chicken Legs.