Some 18 libraries, educational organisations as well as youth health organisations have called for an ‘inclusive reading offensive’ to combat the declining literacy among children and adults.
International research has shown that the reading skills of Dutch children, particularly those in vocational education and with a migrant background, are deteriorating and that fewer children enjoy reading.
The organisations have pressed education ministers Ingrid van Engelshoven and Arie Slob to take action, saying schools must provide a range of books and have their own library. Methods to teach children to read must also be given more attention at teacher training colleges.
Schools are key in the manifesto. ‘When children leave primary school most children can read to an acceptable level but once they go to secondary school a significant group doesn’t read enough to maintain the skill,’ Gerlien van Dalen, chairwoman of reading promotion organisation Leescoalitie told the AD.
According to teacher Didy Pijper, even children who love to read when they leave primary school say they all but stopped once they started secondary school. ‘It’s usually because they have a phone. It’s a huge effort to get teenagers to read a book,’ she told the paper.
The offensive must also bring together the many projects that have sprung up over the years, the organisations said.
‘There have been countless initiatives, all well-meaning but it’s a patchwork of measures, activities, websites and a host of dedicated volunteers, grandparents, reading ambassadors and reading consultants. It still hasn’t worked. What is lacking is a sense of urgency and the need for everyone involved to raise the bar together.’
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl
The DutchNews.nl team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments.
DutchNews.nl has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.