Iedereen Leest coordinates campaigns to make reading more visible and develops programmes for libraries, schools, child-care centres and other organisations to share methods and ideas to enhance reading engagement.
Jeugdboekenmaand is a campaign for children and adults between the ages of 3 and 15 years. During this month-long event, Iedereen Leest highlights the importance of reading for pleasure, reading aloud and looking at illustrations, with a qualitative offer. The theme changes each year. Iedereen Leest provides book tips and inspiration and distributes promotional materials to make Jeugdboekenmaand a festive event. To achieve this, Iedereen Leest partners with libraries, schools, bookshops, and other partners. The campaign was first organised in 1972 and includes all kinds of cultural reading events and activities in schools, libraries, and bookshops. Children’s authors and illustrators give talks or host workshops, engaging in a discussion about their work with children and young adults.
During the annual Voorleesweek, Iedereen Leest highlights the importance of reading aloud. This stimulates language development, concentration skills, creativity, and the social skills of children. Moreover, reading aloud is the best way to nurture lifelong readers. The event takes place during the last week of November, in Flanders and Brussels. Iedereen Leest provides support to child carers, teachers, librarians, and other people who read to children, with tips on how to do this and books that are easy to read aloud. Voorleesweek focuses on children between the ages of 0 and 6 years, in addition to suggesting books for children and young adults (6-15 years) and older. Reading to older children – and adults! – also contributes to nurturing lifelong readers. The campaign is traditionally kicked off by Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of Belgium, who visits a school, nursery, nursing home… where she reads a book aloud.
Since 2005, Iedereen Leest has coordinated the Boekstart programme, which wants young parents to enjoy reading (aloud) books with their young children. Books are introduced in all families with young children in Flanders and Brussels, in collaboration with child-care centres, libraries and other local partners. When parents take their six-month old to the Kind & Gezin consultation centre, they receive their first Boekstart kit with a book and information about reading to your children and the library. At fifteen months, they are sent an invitation to collect their second Boekstart kit from the local library. Boekstart also wants to increase expertise in interactive reading and a stimulating language and reading environment for babies and toddlers among professionals and volunteers in organisations working for and with children. Boekstart runs in various countries – Iedereen Leest is thus a member of the Global Network for Early Years Bookgifting.
The Leesjury is the largest young reader jury in Flanders, for children and young adults between the ages of 4 and 18 years. Each year, the jurors read and discuss six to eight books. In most cases, they meet in reading groups, which are supervised by volunteers, to discuss the books. This helps them develop their literary taste and evaluate it against that of other readers. At the end of the year, they vote for their favourites and the winners are announced. The jurors celebrate the winners and engage in a discussion about the stories together with the nominated authors and illustrators. In 2021-2022, more than 11,000 young readers participated. The Leesjury has been giving children and young adults a voice since 1971, alongside professional, adult juries. Iedereen Leest develops the communication, oversees the voting process, and provides practical information and support to local sections by organising training days.
The online Boekenzoeker tool helps anyone between the ages of 0 and 18 choose a book, based on accessible criteria and thematic book lists. Boekenzoeker shares tips and additional information, which is tailored to children and/or young adults. They can also listen to audio fragments and save their favourites on Boekenzoeker, to take with them to the library or book shop. They can also rate books, post comments, or share book tips with others. Boekenzoeker is a handy guide, the perfect tool for searching and finding books, at home, in school or in the library. Professionals and parents also use Boekenzoeker to get reading tips. Iedereen Leest organises webinars to inform them about recent publications for children and young adults.
During the 'Bestemming: bib' (Destination library) summer reading promotion event, young readers between the ages of 3 and 18 years can collect a passport from their local library, with various destinations which they must match with a book. This challenges them to read books during the summer holidays, which traditionally is a period during which some children barely pick up a book. This may have an impact on their reading proficiency or reading for pleasure, causing them to fall behind in several subjects during the first months of the new school year. Children who participate in ‘Bestemming: bib’ have a chance to win great prizes if they ‘visit’ all the destinations. Iedereen Leest develops the communication for the project, inspiring libraries with practical examples. More than 150 libraries participated in the 3rd summer event in 2022.
Iedereen Leest is also the home base of IBBY Vlaanderen, the Flemish section of IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People), a network of professionals who focus on children’s books and reading promotion. IBBY-Vlaanderen believes that every child should have a chance to become a reader and have access to books. The organisation wants to broaden its own perspective by introducing the world into Flemish children’s literature and promoting Flemish children’s literature at global level, always based on a social commitment. IBBY-Vlaanderen coordinates the nominations and submissions for the biennial Hans Christian Andersen Award and the annual Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA), two of the world’s most prestigious prizes for children’s and young adult literature. In 2019, Bart Moeyaert was nominated by IBBY-Vlaanderen for the ALMA, taking home the prize. IBBY-Vlaanderen participates in international conferences.
Besides these initiatives, Iedereen Leest also invests in ways of providing varied, substantive support to professionals and volunteers in the field of reading and reading promotion. Find out more about this aspect of our operations under ‘Our resources’.