Iedereen Leest (Everybody Reads) is a non-profit organisation that wants to inspire people to read (more). Iedereen Leest mainly focuses on making reading accessible for all. Reading is important in personal(ity) development and helps people to actively participate in the world around them, preventing social exclusion. Iedereen Leest also highlights the crucial role of reading for pleasure in the literacy discourse: it is the key to an inspiring reading climate and a diverse reading culture. 'More reading for pleasure, more readers': that is the mission we have set ourselves.
Iedereen Leest has defined five priority areas in its multiannual plan for 2022-2026. With these priority areas, it hopes to inspire other reading promoters and organisations.
1. GROWING AS A READER
Nurturing readers implies a focus on three dimensions: breadth (getting people to read), depth (from motivating people to read to creating a deeper reading experience) and length (lifelong readers). By focusing on a continuous reading line, we create a reading culture that benefits all readers, including hesitant and more enthusiastic readers, as well as very young and senior readers. A continuous reading line provides leverage for reading promoters, enabling them to develop reading-related activities that are suited for different ages. It refers to literary competences, ensuring everyone can grow as a reader, which in turn stimulates literacy and language skills.
2. READING INVOLVES SO MUCH MORE THAN A BOOK
There are many more inroads to reading and reading pleasure than people think. These days, readers are also inspired by audiobooks, podcasts, vlogs, apps, BookTube, BookTok, online reading communities… Along with books, these cultural products all have a strengthening effect on a reading culture that flourishes both online and offline. Various new forms of reading can be used to introduce children and (young) adults to stories and stimulate reading for pleasure and reading motivation. Despite this broader access, accessible and inspiring reading environments remain important when it comes to getting more people to read.
3. READING IS GOOD FOR YOU
Several studies describe the effects of reading on individual wellbeing. Reading helps people relax, reduces stress, stimulates concentration skills, as well as our empathy and imagination. Reading can thus contribute to our resilience, an aspect that deserves more attention. Care and welfare organisations can use stories in their daily activities, whereas libraries and other reading promoters can focus more on the wellbeing aspect. More and more research is being conducted at an international level into the effects and impact of reading, with several inspiring examples.
4. NURTURING READERS TOGETHER
By joining forces, we can make a difference. Collaborations between libraries and schools, child-care initiatives, bookshops, education and welfare organisations and other stakeholders in Flanders and beyond can lead to many more and more sustainable results. Iedereen Leest strives to stimulate local reading promotion networks, in addition to ensuring the necessary coordination at the supralocal and Flemish level between various sectors. At international level, we also try to get reading promotion on the (political) agenda and exchange experiences.
5. EXPERTS TOGETHER
Our mission is to develop impactful activities for nurturing lifelong readers. As a reference organisation, Iedereen Leest’s mission is to inform and inspire reading promoters. We develop practical insights, together with professionals and volunteers. Knowledge from research serves as a base for incorporating successful interventions in programmes and learning processes. A more targeted response to training and information needs among professionals and volunteers contributes to skilled, competent reading promoters who help nurture (lifelong) readers.
Why nurturing lifelong readers matters
‘Reading is good for you’ – a message that is often repeated to children by their parents, teachers, and librarians. But at scientific level, research has highlighted the importance of reading on several levels: it enriches vocabulary, promotes social development, and enhances well-being. In recent years, it has become apparent that the reading skills of children and young adults are stalling, and that reading is less popular. Nurturing lifelong readers is thus more necessary than ever. Because reading should not be a luxury.
Iedereen Leest coordinates various reading initiatives in which libraries, schools, child-care centres, and other organisations can participate. As a reference organisation, it also collects, develops, and provides access to various resources on reading, reading promotion and children’s literature.
Iedereen Leest also gives readers and reading promoters a voice. In its ‘Leeswereld’ series, famous and not so famous readers discuss the role of reading in their life:
Flemish and international reading promoters discuss in a series of special reports how they increase encourage reading for pleasure and make stories more accessible: