Promoting an appreciation for literature through fun and games
LAU ramps up initiatives meant to draw students into the world of books.
In a region where readership is so low that a book selling only 5,000 copies is considered a best seller, cultivating an appreciation for literature is certainly a priority. LAU faculty have taken the lead in this endeavor, reminding students who grew up in the internet age of the importance of turning to books for inspiration and enlightenment.
“For the most part, our students don’t sign up to literature courses with enthusiasm but rather because they are part of their core courses,” says Luma Balaa, associate professor at the Department of English. “We want to motivate them, to show them that reading and studying literature is enriching and enjoyable,” she adds, explaining the primary motivation behind “Literature at LAU,” an initiative she spearheaded that will manifest in a full day of activities at the Beirut campus this Wednesday.
These will include games — among them a scavenger hunt and a competition that makes use of quotes from English literature — and a poetry slam at which recitals of English and Arabic poems are welcome. The events are organized respectively by Department of English instructors Omar Baz Radwan and Mounawar Abbouchi.
In addition to the many prizes on offer, participating students will have the opportunity to receive words of wisdom from former and current students of the department’s many literature courses. “Some students put off enrolling in literature courses only to find that they enjoyed them immensely but no longer have time to take more,” says Balaa. “Our existing students will therefore be on hand to offer peer-to-peer advice to students considering enrolling in any of our many courses.”
Also hoping to cultivate greater interest in reading and literature is the newly re-launched “Page Turner” student book club. “The faculty encouraged the re-launch of the club, but the students will run it and decide its format and goals. We are here to offer motivation and support,” says Balaa, who believes book clubs provide useful opportunities for her students to discuss assigned readings in more depth than class time allows for.
“We’ll be celebrating the re-launch of the Page Turner club and enjoying a number of fun activities by the upper gate this Wednesday,” Balaa declares enthusiastically, extending the invitation to the whole LAU community.