Stichting Lezen (Dutch Reading Foundation) was founded in 1988. Since 1994 we administer the reading promotion on budget provided by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. The objective of Stichting Lezen is to promote reading, both in Dutch and in Friesian (The Netherlands’ second official language). In our policy, priority is given to the target group aged up to 18. Stichting Lezen wants to ensure that all children and young people have an environment that offers them a chance to take pleasure in reading and to choose books that suit their interest. This way they can grow up to be permanent readers.
Stichting Lezen aligns existing activities and encourages the development of new and original initiatives, methods and tools that are instrumental in reading and reading promotion. This includes the promotion of scientific research in this particular field. Since 1998 the foundation has a chair in Reading Behaviour, which is associated with the VU University Amsterdam. Other activities of Stichting Lezen include providing information to third parties, enhancing the expertise of (pre-school) teachers, librarians and parents, and organising campaigns aimed at bringing reading to the attention of a wide public.
Stichting Lezen co-operates with other organisations and institutions that are actively involved in reading promotion, which leads to the creation of local, regional and national networks. Stichting Lezen not only works in close consultation with booksellers’ federations, libraries and publishers, but also with universities, business and non-profit organisations, educational establishments, as well as provincial and municipal authorities.
Stichting Lezen has a board of governors representing education, culture, sciences, the government, trade and industry and the media. The board determines the general long-term policy plan.
Stichting Lezen works in a small team containing professional staff (6) and project members (4) on projects, policy, research and communication and secretarial employees. We align existing activities and encourage the development of new and original initiatives, methods and tools that are instrumental in reading and reading promotion. This concerns comprehensive initiatives, programs and pilot projects across The Netherlands as well as research.
Research on reading and reading behaviour is an important theme for the Dutch Reading Foundation. Its promotion of this research is based particularly on a facilitating approach.
Starting points: the results of academic research can serve as the basis for reading-promotion projects. In turn, these projects can be evaluated. So, the emphasis is on policy-preparation research, application-oriented research and evaluation research.
Collaboration with other institutions and organisations (at home and abroad) is important and has been intensified the last years. At universities, contacts are being maintained with all of the relevant departments.
Research themes can be formulated at different levels, from general to specific. This is taken into consideration when prioritising and honouring specific research applications.
Research themes are closely connected with the policy choices that the Dutch reading foundation makes, with its projects, its activities and the gaps observed in reading research. F.i. research on the specificity of literature bearing in mind the role of and functions allocated to it in comparison with literary texts and other media, the “continuous reading pathway” and the connection between language proficiency and literature. Or the connection between leisure reading and compulsory reading (for school or work), or research on the effects of reading aloud .