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Alice Bah Kuhnke is no longer a government minister, Minister for Culture and Democracy
New reading initiative will get more children and young people to read
The Government is investing a total of SEK 60 million over four years in reading promotion initiatives in the area of culture. Initiatives will also be carried out in the schools sector. The aim is to improve reading skills and increase reading among children and young people throughout the country.
The initiatives are part of the Budget Bill for 2017, which is based on an agreement between the government parties and the Left Party.
The importance of reading comprehension and the ability to assimilate written information cannot be overstated. Through reading, we learn to understand the way other people think, to reflect, draw conclusions and construct arguments. From an early age, literature and reading experiences are important for building up language and reading skills.
Even if, on the whole, reading habits among the Swedish population are stable, there are some worrying trends. There are large differences between different population groups and the proportion of young people who read regularly is decreasing. In addition, the reading skills of Swedish pupils have deteriorated noticeably over a fairly short period of time. The Government therefore proposes the following initiatives in the area of reading promotion:
Bokstart (Book Start)
The reading promotion initiative Bokstart, which was launched by the Swedish Arts Council, will receive an additional SEK 10 million annually between 2017 and 2020. The additional funds means that the initiative can be extended to include more regions and that it can be more clearly linked to preschool. Bokstart is a collaboration between child health services and public libraries, aimed at stimulating young children's language development. The initiative was expanded in 2016 to cover five areas in different parts of the country.
Läslov (Reading holidays)
The Government proposes that SEK 5 million be committed annually between 2017 and 2020 to reading promotion activities during school holidays. To support the initiative Läslov vecka 44 (reading holiday week 44), which was launched by Läsrörelsen (the Reading movement), the Government wants to provide support to reading promotion activities ahead of and during school holidays. There is also a need for literature and reading promotion initiatives in the national minority languages.
All of Sweden reads with children
The Government has appointed a delegation tasked with compiling the reading promotion measures carried out in and outside schools within the framework of the initiative Hela Sverige läser med barnen (All of Sweden reads with children). The aim is to help give all children and young people more equal opportunities to develop an adequate reading ability and to stimulate their desire to read.
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