Yusuf Copur (Season 02 - Episode 13)
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This Week's Changemaker; Yusuf Copur Cultivates Love of Reading in Children

On 6 January 2011 Sabanci Foundation's "Turkey's Changemakers" program hosts Yusuf Copur, a young educator, who cultivates a love of reading in children.

 

Yusuf Copur is a young teacher. While still in elementary school, Copur used to dream about meeting the authors of books that he read and exchanging thoughts with them. He built a library out of fruit boxes at home and waited for the day that he could meet the authors of his dreams. This idea gave birth to the "I Love Reading" project.

 

In 2007, when Copur was working at a school in Istanbul's Bagcilar district, he developed a project that aims to instill the love of reading in children.

 

The district of Bagcilar is known to be home to low-income families, street violence, drugs and other bad habits. This project was born out of the idea of providing new spaces for underprivileged children who were at risk of picking up bad habits. Children express themselves through reading. "No one can deceive a child who knows and loves to read," Copur says. "If you are friends with books, you are enemies with street gangs."

 

As part of the project, students read a Turkish or world classic for the first two weeks of the month, and then a contemporary novel during the following two weeks. As a reward, students are offered the chance to meet the authors of the novels that they read and to share their thoughts about the work. At a stage of life in which they are getting to know themselves, this project provides early teenagers an opportunity to improve their self-confidence, idea formulation and self-expression.

 

As of 2011, the project has reached almost 2.000 children and spread to other schools in the district already. Yusuf Copur lived out his dream and shared it with other children. He helped thousands of underprivileged children gain the privileged habit of reading. Thereby, he made a significant difference in the world of children and education.

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