Lighter, News

Cairo’s “Taxis Of Knowledge”

Knowledge TaxiThis article was originally published on TKN in Nov. 2011.

Cairo, the capital city of Egypt, has a lot of traffic. Commuters often find themselves stuck in a traffic jam, unable to move.

One book store came up with an ingenious program to help the people who take taxis in the city. They call it, “The Taxi of Knowledge.”

Alef Books gives taxi drivers five free books, which they can place in the back seat of their cab.

Passengers can read a good book while they’re stuck in traffic.

The taxi driver gets to choose which books he wants. He can also trade them in whenever he wants, for different books.

Alef started the program to get more books into the hands of the general public, a spokesman for the bookstore said.

More than 10,000 books have been donated for the project, by authors and other donors.

Not only are passengers enjoying the books, but the taxi drivers are, too. Alef offers a cash reward for taxi drivers who are particularly knowledgeable about the books in their cab. That is proving to be a great incentive for taxi drivers to take the books home and read them with their families.

The Taxi of Knowledge project is a success. In June, 200 cabs were involved in the program. Alef hope to have books in 10 times that many taxis by the end of the year.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
One book store in Cairo thought of a very clever way to get people to read more.  Think of some other ideas that would encourage people to read more often in your class, your school, your community and your city/town.

Reading Prompt: Purpose
If you were in a taxi with free books, what type of book would you want to read?  Do you like short stories, poems, biographies, graphic novels, magazines, newspaper articles or novels?  Which is your favourite type of text and why?

Identify several different purposes for reading and choose reading materials appropriate for those purposes (OME, Reading: 1.2).

Junior and Intermediate
Identify a variety of purposes for reading and choose reading materials appropriate for those purposes (OME, Reading: 1.2).

Grammar Feature: Word Stems/Word Roots
A word stem/root is the main part of a word.  For example, a root word in the article is knowledge.   The root, knowledge, is changed when letters are added to the front or end of the word.  For example, the words knowledgeable and unknowledgeable have the root knowledge.  

Think of how to change the word stems below by adding letters to the beginning or ending of each word:
1. cover
2. cook
3. stand
4. walk
5. happy