The Standing Committee on
Family and Cultural Affairs
EURead is a European network to promote reading and literacy across Europe.
In Europe, more than 73 million people are illiterate – an alarmingly large number. One in five 15-year-olds has poor reading skills and 12,8 % of EU students drap out of school, which will lead to a 30 % increase in low-skilled jobs by 2020 (source: EU High Level Group of Experts on Literacy, Final Report September 2012). In order to address this educational, social and economic challenge, it is vital to promote literacy in Europe and familiarize all age groups for reading. Therefore, EURead aims to improve reading and writing skills in Europe – for every member of society, regardless of their financial, cultural, or social backgrounds. EURead is convinced that literacy is a prerequisite for education, personal development, participation in society and economic growth: the ability to read significantly influences income as identified by the OECD’s report ‘Education at a Glance’ 2014.
EURead currently reaches more than 15 million children in about 75.000 schools with its programmes. EURead fosters the exchange with other organisations inand outside of Europe, develops new strategies in reading promotion and raises awareness for reading and literacy in Europe. EURead helps to share and implement best practice programmes in every European country and to raise awareness campaigns up to a European level. EURead currently consist of fourteen non-profit- organisations working under the umbrella of the national authorities, involving all parts of society including political decision makers, associations, labour organisations, churches, schools, kindergartens, celebrities and companies.
One example for the successful work of EURead is the programme Bookstart. Pioneered by the UK reading charity Booktrust, Bookstart has started out as a small pilot in Birmingham over 20 years ago. Today the programme reaches out to over 2 million children and their families every year, having inspired nearly 30 similar book-gifting programmes around the world with the simple idea that an early introduction to stories, hooks and rhymes will offer every child the best possible start in life. Bookstart changed societal attitudes towards sharing hooks with babies and children, and became an international flagship and the first bookgifting programme across the world. Thanks to the work of EURead, Bookstart programmes are widespread, including Lesestart in Germany and the Art of Reading in the Netherlands. Based on the latest academic studies and findings, EURead helps mobilizing political and financial support for reading and literacy programmes and campaigns.
EU Read strongly encourages the Norwegian government to consider funding a Norwegian version of this well documented and highly successful project. We will make our experience and knowledge available to help our member Foreningen !les establish a Bookstart project adapted to Norwegian needs.