Eighteen organisations in the education, culture and youth health sectors are calling for a reading offensive. They are concerned about the declining reading skills in the Netherlands and believe that politics should now take action.
The organisations want the cabinet to come up with an “active and inclusive” reading policy. This afternoon they present their manifesto to Minister Van Engelshoven and Minister Slob. In addition, they also hand over two symbolic emergency clocks, to indicate how bad things are with the reading level of children and adults.
At the moment, about 2.5 million people in the Netherlands do not read well enough to understand, for example, the leaflet of a medicine. International research has already shown that Dutch children are less readable and have less fun reading.
The organisations therefore want each pupil to leave school with sufficient reading level. The focus should be on groups that are most lagging behind: boys, students in VMBO and MBO and young people with a migration background.
Schools should provide a wide range of books through the establishment of a school library. The importance of reading should also be even higher on the agendas of the pabos.
The manifesto also states that more attention should be paid to laaggeletterde elderly people. They should get more language lessons.
Not the first time
Alert has been repeatedly raised about the declining reading skills in the Netherlands. In December last year, after a critical report by the Education Council and the Council for Culture, the Ministry also launched a reading offensive. Schools will now receive support to improve reading education. The Ministry also called on parents to read more to their children.
The organisations that are now making a new call for a reading offensive say that there is currently no central control. “There are numerous initiatives, a thousand good intentions, a patchwork of measures, actions, websites, a multitude of committed and dedicated volunteers, there are parents, grandmothers and grandmothers, reading ambassadors and reading consultants. Unfortunately, its not enough yet. What is missing is a sense of urgency and need to set really high ambitions together.”