Dubai: The First Arabic Language Week, a new initiative to encourage a love of reading and books that began on October 6 and will continue until October 12 saw local authors visiting schools in Dubai.

The week is held by the Emirates Festival of Literature, in association with the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) to promote Arabic as an accessible and enjoyable language for children.

“Arabic is a beautiful language but it is often taught using conventional methods that fail to interest children. With this in mind, the LitFest has started the Arabic Language Week where we will have several activities to engage with children and introduce them to the various aspects of the Arabic language,” said Yara Mirdad, Education and Children’s Programme co-ordinator.

The KHDA has chosen 23 private schools that have a large number of Emirati students, and these schools are visited by local children’s authors such as Manal Al Ghadani, Maytha Al Khayat, Sahar Naja Mahfouz, Reem Al Gurg, Noura Al No’man and Noura Al Khoury.

Joining this line-up of local authors will be Fatima Al Kamali, Hamda Al Bastaki and Fatima Ebrahim Saleh, graduates from Higher Colleges of Technology and authors of the children’s books.

A reading group for children conducted by Diala Arsalan Talhouk, where they will discuss books by authors visiting the 2014 Festival, is one of the other activities planned for that week.

A series of workshops will also be held including creative writing workshops and a physical theatre workshop conducted by Lara Matossian-Roberts.

Interactive and educational games throughout the week will keep children entertained while the in-school Arabic Scrabble tournament promises to help children enhance their Arabic vocabulary.

The Emirates Festival of Literature 2014 will take place in Dubai next year from March 4-8 under the patronage of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, in partnership with Dubai Culture.