EURead supports the Ljubljana Manifesto on Higher-Level Reading
Issued on the 10th of October 2023 at a special press conference in the capital of Slovenia, the Ljubljana Manifesto on Higher Level Reading highlights the importance of book reading in the digital age.
Higher-level reading exercises metacognition and cognitive patience, expands our conceptual capacities, trains cognitive empathy and perspective-taking. These social skills are indispensable for informed citizens in a democratic society, the Manifesto emphasises. It calls for support of these skills from governments and society in general.
The Ljubljana Manifesto was written by four reading and publishing researchers: André Schüller-Zwierlein, University of Regensburg, Germany; Anne Mangen, University of Stavanger, Norway; Adriaan van der Weel, Leiden University, Netherlands, and Miha Kovač, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.
The Manifesto is supported and signed by the German Academy of Language and Poetry, the International Publishers Association (IPA), the Federation of European Publishers (FEP), PEN International, the International Board of Books for Young People (IBBY), the members of the European literacy network EURead, and the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA). In Slovenia, the Manifesto is supported by the Slovenian Book Agency.
The document will be published today by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Germany), Le Monde (France; online edition), Público (Portugal), Népszava (Hungary), Latvijas Avīze (Latvia), Dennik (Slovakia) and Delo (Slovenia).
During the press conference at Cankarjev dom, Ljubljana, the authors of the Manifesto, along with special guests, discussed the significance of higher-level reading in the digital era. They highlighted its role in training analytical and critical thinking, fostering cognitive patience, and nurturing empathy – vital social skills for citizens in a democratic society.
Among the speakers in the Agenda were: Assist. Prof. Asta Vrečko (Minister of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia), Jose Borginho (Secretary General of the International Publishers Association), Anne Bergmann-Tahon (Director of the European Publishers Association), Daan Beeke (Dutch Reading Foundation; EURead Network Manager), Prof. Adriaan van der Weel (Leiden University; co-author of the Manifesto) and Prof. Miha Kovač (University of Ljubljana; co-author of the Manifesto and curator of the Slovenian program at the Frankfurter Buchmesse).
In his speech, Daan Beeke pointed out that:
‘Members of EURead know that reading is the key to a better society. Reading, to us, is a basic right.’
He briefly discussed three important themes from the Manifesto: turning the tide of declining reading skills, reconsideration of the role of higher-level reading in the digital era and emphasizing the necessity of resilient readers who are well-versed in higher-level reading for a thriving democratic society.
Beeke reflected on these themes from the perspective of the reading promoters, who are members of the EURead network. He emphasised the importance of early bookgifting programs, which lay the foundation for higher-level reading later in life.
‘Higher-level reading at a later age, can only be achieved when we start with the very, very young. And that means we need to bring books to babies and toddlers, and help their parents to let their child grow up in a language rich environment.’
By signing the Manifesto, EURead hopes to help raise awareness that the challenge we are facing is very urgent.Information on the Manifesto and its professional background: https://readingmanifesto.org/
The Ljubljana Manifesto is one of the pillars of Slovenia’s Guest of Honour program at the Frankfurter Buchmesse. For information about the planned events, check here.