Annual General Meeting 2024: Promoting literacy in a changing world

Modern society is facing big challenges: all over Europe (and beyond), people are worried about misinformation and the impact it has on nations.

Social media is by now ever-present in our daily lives, and the group of (even young) children using them keeps growing. Meanwhile, their reading skills decline. The development of Artificial Intelligence is reaching a momentum that is being followed closely (and with fear?) in the fields of education and the creative sector. World crises dominate mainstream media.

In this context, it seems even more essential for reading promoters to fight illiteracy and to promote reading skills in general. We see a clear correlation between declining reading skills in society and the aforementioned problems. But how do we get that message across to parents, teachers, and our financial partners and promoters? How can we raise awareness of these issues at local, national, and European levels? What is our responsibility, and what is our response?

The AGM 2024 will be held on the 3rd and 4th of June, 2024, in Athens (Greece).

Location: Premises of Goethe-Institut Athens, 14-16 Omirou str., Athens, Greece.

AGENDA

3rd June, 2024

12.30 – 13.00 Registration

13.00 – 13.20 Welcome notes by the special guests

13.20 – 13.30 Official opening by Dr. Jörg F. Maas, Chair of EURead

13.30 – 14.15 EURead Strategic Vision and List of Recommendations – Discussion for further actions

14.15 – 14.55 Welcoming our new members

14.55 – 15.20 The Greek perspective on Literacy and Reading Promotion

15.20 – 15.50 Coffee Break

15.50 – 16.25 What does science say about reading? Keynote speaker Prof. Adriaan van der Weel on higher-level reading, books and scientific insights

16.25 – 17.45 Let’s Talk About… Early Literacy

  • Update from the Global Network for Early Years Bookgifting
  • Presentation of the Bookgifting Toolkit
  • Some good practices from our members

17.45 – 18.00 Reflections on Day 1

20.00 – 22.00 Official Dinner

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4h June, 2024

9.00 – 09.30 Warm-up

9.30 – 12.30 General Assembly – Members Only! Finances, Legal Matters, Reports from the EURead Teams etc.

12.30 – 13.30 Lunch (Street Food Challenge)

13.30 – 14.20 Let’s Talk About… New Media

  • Reading promotion initiatives in Eastern Europe – Goethe Institute Athens
  • “Innovative Approaches to Digital Reading in Education” – Sonja Hoge, Managing Director of Onilo

14.20 – 14.30 Short Coffee Break

14.30 – 16.00 Let’s Talk About… Reading Promotion and Politics

  • Good Practices in the field of reading promotion and politics

16.00 – 16.15 Members’ Reflections and Closing of the AGM 2024

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18.00 – 20.30 Open Forum “Literacy and democracy in the era of technology and information: facts, challenges, strategies”

PISA in Bologna: how to fight low reading skills – A Panel Discussion during BCBF 2024

For the 61st time, the Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2024 will attract publishers, authors, illustrators, and book lovers from all over the world. While the book fair is dedicated to the development of a vital industry, most professionals in the book industry are aware of the declining reading skills of both children and adults.

PISA results provide scientific proof of this downward trend, sometimes referred to as the reading crisis. While Bologna is filled with great new books each year, the question remains: what if no one reads them? What if books become a relic of the past in the future?

From 9:30 to 10:20 on April 9, 2024, during a panel discussion in the Authors’ Café (Hall 30, Bologna Fiere), reading promoters from both inside and outside the publishing industry will shed light on this question.

Moderated by Daan Beeke (Stichting Lezen / EURead network manager), the panelists will discuss whether reading promotion could be a solution and how publishers can play a role in this process.

“Bologna Children’s Book Fair gives us a great opportunity to spotlight reading promotion. To ensure all children read and to combat illiteracy, we must address this issue here and now, seeking comprehensive solutions and stable partnerships across all sectors,” says Mr. Beeke.

During the panel discussion, Elaina Ryan (Children’s Books Ireland), Lovisa Fhagher Logothetis (Bonnier Family Foundation, Sweden), and Anna Zdrojewska-Zywiecka (Mamania/Relacja sp. z o.o. Publishing Group, Poland) will shed light on this question. Attendees will also learn more about what lies at the core of reading promotion.

If you are interested in this topic and are attending the Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2024, join us for a cup of coffee and a lively discussion on the future of reading and books!

All visual materials for the event are created by Valerie Weilheim.

About the panelists:

Elaina Ryan

Elaina grew up in Wexford and Waterford. She holds a BA in Languages and Cultural Studies from University of Limerick and an MLitt in Publishing from University of Stirling. She has a background in children’s book publishing and is co-Artistic Director, with Niamh Sharkey, of Towers and Tales Children’s Book Festival in Lismore, County Waterford. Elaina has led the team in Children’s Books Ireland since 2013.

Lovisa Fhager Logothetis

At the Bonnier Family Foundation Lovisa Fhager Logothetis leads the work with several reading promotion methods, one that aims to get young people to read aloud to younger children during the first week of the summer holidays. Lovisa is an expert in children’s rights. She holds a master’s in political science and has a background in organizations Amnesty International and Unicef and is part of several different expert networks for children’s rights. She previously led a civil society organization that worked on equality issues that distributed over a million books to Swedish children and youths for free.

Anna Zdrojewska-Zywiecka

Anna studied Cultural Studies at the University of Warsaw and the University of Amsterdam. She is also an MBA graduate of the SGH Warsaw School of Economics. In 2010 she founded Mamania publishing house that specializes in parenting and children’s books. Anna and her company are among the founders of the Universal Reading Foundation. The foundation is supporting children’s development and supporting adults in their parenthood, showing the great importance of reading in both those areas.

Daan Beeke

Daan Beeke studied Dutch Literature at Utrecht University and started his career as high school teacher of Dutch Literature and Language. Since 2008 he works for the Dutch Reading Foundation (Stichting Lezen) as a domain specialist, working on high school projects and programs. He is also involved in the EURead network and in the Global Network for Early Years Bookgifting, as a network manager. 

Graphic design:

Valerie Weilheim

Valerie holds a degree in Literature from the Universidad Central de Venezuela (Magna Cum Laude, 2019). She works as an editor, illustrator and reading promoter. In Venezuela she has been a workshop leader for Rana Encantada since 2010, is part of the evaluation committee for children’s and young adult books of Banco del Libro and is the co-founder of the fanzine publisher Perro Amorfo (2017). She also collaborates with the digital magazine Pez Linterna and the Asociación Artística-Sociocultural Mestiza (San Sebastian).

Portfolio: https://www.behance.net/valerieweilheim Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/valerieilustra