From Constantine, Algeria’s capital of books and learning, to Dubai, Mohammed Jalloud was crowned the champion of the first edition of the Arab Reading Challenge, the largest-ever Arab knowledge initiative that focuses on encouraging Arab students to read. Despite being the event’s youngest participant, at only seven years old, Mohammed impressed the crowd with his confidence and fluency in Arabic speech, thanks to his remarkable comprehension of a rich diversity of books. He read and summarised more than 50 books during one school year, and demonstrated exceptional articulation and analytical and critical thinking skills to the judges during the finals.
Today, Mohammed is in middle school and enjoys daily life with his family and friends. Winning the Arab Reading Challenge has inspired him to continue working hard to develop his skills while pursuing his studies.
The prize has also opened many doors for Mohammed. He was able to gift a small library to his schoolmates to encourage them to read. He also presented a TV show titled ‘The Treasure of Reading’, which aired on the children’s ‘Baraem’ channel, in addition to participating in a traffic safety campaign for one of Algeria’s provinces.
Five years after winning the Arab Reading Challenge, Mohammed remains the pride of his community and his city. He is mentioned in the elementary and middle school history and English books as an example of individual achievement and ambition.
Now a national icon in Algeria, Mohammed knows he still has a long way to go to complete his schooling, develop his skills and capabilities, and acquire more knowledge. His reading journey did not come to an end with his Arab Reading Challenge win, as he sees every day as a new opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through books.