The Universal Reading Foundation has joined EURead – the European literacy and reading promotion network of 35 organisations from 23 European countries. This is a great distinction and appreciation of URF’s work, as well as an opportunity to exchange experiences and undertake cooperation in a broader, European field.
EURead's goal is to bring together and support local, national initiatives dedicated to the promotion of the book culture and reading. The consortium was founded in 2000, bringing together organizations who believe that reading is the key to full participation in today’s media-led society. Citizens reaching for books are the foundation of healthy societies and stable democracies. Members of the organization are successfully working in their countries to raise the level of reading, and - fight against social exclusion, which illiteracy leads to.
The goals of the Universal Reading Foundation and EURead coincide to a great extent. „We are happy to join EURead and deeply convinced: the world is just experiencing one of the greatest technological revolutions in history - the habits of homo sapiens developed over generations have been turned upside down. Defining the role of reading books, the relationship with another human being its results, the quality of interpersonal contacts and the individual well-being of each person that reading gives - all of this has become extremly important today.” – emphasises Maria Deskur, the CEO of URF.
The EURead network works to raise public awareness of the need for improving literacy rates at the national and European level. Members meet regularly, exchange knowledge, experiences of their own countries. The aim of such activities is to develop further joint strategies of reading promotion. Some of EURead members are: BookTrust form UK, Stiftung Lesen from Germany, and the Institute for Children's and Youth Media SIKJM from Switzerland. Among members from Poland is also the Book Institute.
One of EURead’s main areas of work is the support and development of already existing programs and the creation of new initiatives aimed primarily at children, as the youngest readers. That includes providing with books those who are excluded from the book culture, spreading the idea of importance of reading toghether with children but also effective methods how to do it. The community of institutions associated in EURead, allows also to support the area of research – developing and sharing the results and conclusions.
"Reading is the foundation of democracy, and it has been clear for several decades now how reading books and talking that comes with it during childhood has tremendous impact on our entire lives. The advanced critical thinking and discourse analysis abilities appear as a necessary and indispensable condition for our functioning in the today’s world torn by conflicts and full of fakenews, which makes it more and more difficult to distinguish between them and the truth. We are pleased that the Universal Reading Foundation, whose work we know and appreciate, is joining us," - says Dr. Joerg Maas, EURead's president.
The activities of the Universal Reading Foundation are part of EURead's mission; it conducts programs to promote reading in cooperation with various stakeholder groups. These are not only groups associated with education and culture, but also people who do not deal with this subject on a daily basis. An important premise in URF work is the cooperation of all the three sectors. Therefore, the Foundation initiates cooperation with central institutions and local governments, as well as business and NGOs. Like EURead, URF bases its work on scientific research, reaching out to non-readers and those who are therefore excluded. It focuses on the availability of books, encouraging people to read and build the habit of daily reading; it demonstrates the wide range of benefits of participating in the book culture and the powerful impact that reading has on children's health, but also the great importance of increasing the rates of literacy for the future of next generations.
URF’s campaigns include activities on several levels - promoting reading by pointing out methods to achieve certain goals with (Superpower of Books), creation of communities of reading leaders (Literacy Rescuers), building the need for reading as a condition of the development of cities and societies at the local government level (#ReadingRules). In addition, the Foundation initiates cooperation of the book market and publishing industry (#ReadingDad), conducts international support in solidarity with Ukraine (Book Give Refuge, Literacy for Democracy). In the new edition of the program Books on Prescription. Prescription for Success (first implemented in 2019), URF emphasizes the impact of reading on children's health and growth, engaging the medical staff in the topic of reading.
While carrying out its mission, the Universal Reading Foundation emphasizes the importance of cooperation. Therefore, it invites everyone willing to support pro-reading projects to contact and work together.