Boekstart, Iedereen Leest, Belgium

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Programme name Country Date of information
Boekstart Belgium December 4th 2019
Question Answer
About the Organisation  
Organisation name Iedereen Leest
Organisation address Frankrijklei 130/4, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium
Goal/objective Iedereen Leest (Everybody Reads) is a non-profit organisation that wants to inspire people to read (more). Iedereen Leest is mainly concerned with making reading accessible for everybody. Being able to read is of absolute importance for personal development and participation in society. Iedereen Leest highlights the crucial role of reading for pleasure in the literacy discourse: it is the key to an inspiring reading climate and a broad reading culture. ‘More reading for pleasure, more readers’: that is our aim.
Contact Person Els Michielsen
Position of Contact Person Programme manager Boekstart
Organisation website
Organisation type Non profit
How many staff does your organisation employ? 16
2.5 FEQ for Boekstart
About the Programme  
Basic details  
Programme name Boekstart (from 2005-2016 the name of our programme was ‘Boekbaby’s’)
Country/Province/City where the programme takes place Flanders and Brussels
Year started 2005
Programme goal/objective Iedereen Leest coordinates ‘Boekstart’ (Bookstart) for babies and toddlers (0 -2,5 years) and their parents. Boekstart brings books into the lives of young readers at key ages before school. It informs parents about the importance of books in their children’s development. 
Funding sources Part of the programme is sourced by the Flemish government. They also source the first book pack. The second book pack is sourced by the local authority.
Geographic coverage 221 out of 319 municipalities in Flanders and Brussels participate. (And it is still growing)
Purpose of the programme  
Not for profit? Not for profit
Religious or political purpose? None
Local consistency of model  
Is your programme model consistent across your geographic area, or are there regional differences? Overall, the programme model is very consistent. We do have a few local exceptions in the way the book packs are delivered to the parents.
Book Packs  
What are the contents of your gifting pack? Parents receive a first book pack when their baby is 6 months old. They receive the pack in their local healthcare centre where the follow-up of the baby (weight, height, vaccinations) is done. This pack contains a cloth book, a brochure with information about Boekstart and the importance of an early start, and a growth chart.
When the baby is 15 months old, parents receive a coupon that invites them to the library to receive their second book pack: the toddler bag. That bag contains two board books and a brochure about the importance of reading aloud and the library.
Is your programme offered free of charge to all families? Free of charge.
Partnerships and Delivery  
What are your primary ‘points of contact’ with the population you serve? Library, Healthcare centers for babies & toddlers
Who gifts/hands-out your pack to families?   healthcare workers, librarians, volunteers (from the healthcare center, who measure and weigh the babies)
Please list your other programme partnerships. Public libraries

Kind & Gezin. Kind en Gezin (Child and Family) is an agency that works actively in ‘Public Health, Welfare and Family’ policy area. This Flemish agency focuses on preventive treatment and guidance of parents of young children. They regulate the healthcare centers.  
Does your programme use volunteers? The volunteers in the healthcare centers are the ones who distribute the book packs for babies. They don’t work for Boekstart, but are volunteering in the healthcare centers to measure and weigh the babies. When babies come for their 6 months control, they give them the first book pack and tell them about the importance of starting early with books and reading aloud. When the child is 15 months old, the volunteers give the parents an invitation to pick up their second pack in the local library. The volunteers can participate in training sessions to improve their communication skills and to learn more about early literacy.

Is the programme universal or targeted? The programme is universal in every local community that is engaged in the Boekstart programme. In Flanders we reach all the parents that visit a public health center. (+/- 85%)
How many children does your programme serve a year? We serve +/- 40,000 babies a year with the first pack and +/- 25,000 toddlers with the second pack.  
At what age/gifting period do children receive your programme. 6 – 12 months, 12 – 24 months (see above, 6 months and 15 months)
Diversity provision  
Does your program include provisions or resources for children with special needs? not yet  
What language populations does your programme serve? The whole programme is in Dutch. We do provide a resume of the most important information in different languages spoken in Flanders and Brussels, so everyone can understand the message of Boekstart.
Evaluation and research  
Have you conducted programme evaluation or research (including longitudinal)? If yes, has this evaluation/research been published?  In the programme’s pilot phase from 2005 to 2007, the universities of Ghent and Antwerp (Vanobbergen & Daems, 2008) conducted research focused mainly on the parents’ perception/experiences and on mapping the diversity of shared book-reading cultures. One of the main conclusions was that Boekbaby’s makes parents quickly realise that a stimulating reading culture starts in the cradle. A survey among library staff and volunteers with Kind en Gezin (Child and Family) also highlighted a shared enthusiasm about the programme.

In 2014 new research (Helena Van Nuffel, Lies Houben, Koen Van Gorp & Kris Van Den Branden, Centrum voor Taal en Onderwijs, University of Leuven, maart 2014) aimed to investigate whether or not the mainly positive findings from the pilot project remained valid. The researchers specifically wished to take a more differentiated look at the programme’s reach and impact on families from diverging backgrounds. Do Boekbaby’s material and its message reach all parents? Or is the programme mainly successful among the white middle class, which tends to be more inclined to read anyway? They also wished to map the way in which parents and children approach books, shared book reading and story-telling. Alongside parents they also wanted to question library staff and Kind en Gezin volunteers. How do they perceive Boekbaby’s reach and impact? Do they have any suggestions for increasing the project’s reach and impact?
In 2018 Iedereen Leest visited all the Boekstart-libraries to evaluate their local program and to provide personal advice on how to improve the program and the number of parents reached.  

Every year all participating municipalities send in the number of toddler packs picked up in their library.  



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