Jeddah skyline Saudi Arabia
The "Reading Marathon" was part of cultural projects mounted by Saudi authorities including one related to drama writing and another scouting for cultural talents. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Cairo: Over 606,000 pages were read during an initiative launched by the Saudi Ministry of Culture last month to encourage reading during staying at home as part of health precautions against by the new coronavirus, the Saudi news agency SPA reported.

The initiative, dubbed the "Reading Marathon", was based on diverse open reading and aimed to encourage people of different age groups to share their reading and quotes on an ad-hoc electronic platform.

The target number of pages during the event that ended last week was initially 100,000, but was later raised to 400,000 due to massive response, according to the report.

The final registered numbers of read pages surpassed 606,000 pages, setting a record among reading initiatives in the Middle East, SPA said.

The quotes sent by readers to the initiative's platform have reached 2,396 in different disciplines of knowledge including books of history, science, philosophy and economics. The number of books read and quoted during the marathon have reached 1,839.

Twelve prizes have been offered to the most active participants in the six-week event, SPA added. The cultural marathon was open for citizens and foreign residents in Saudi Arabia.

Readers' contributions were divided into two main categories: one for child readers aged below 12 years, and the second for older readers.

The total pages read by the children reached 30,327 while the older category  recorded 576,215.

The initiative sought to motivate people to make use of preventive isolation in boosting their knowledge and linguistic acquisition.

The "Reading Marathon" was part of cultural projects mounted by Saudi authorities including one related to drama writing and another scouting for cultural talents.