Open the Door for Reading Conference

Open the Door for Reading is a European project, coordinated by the City of Gothenburg, and includes the cities of Turku, Milan, Bristol and Brussels. For two years, the cities will exchange knowledge on reading promotion through workshops, seminars and visits.

The purpose is to increase skills, challenge new insights and develop reading promotion methods. One of the focus areas is how to reach, support and strengthen vulnerable families and their children.

The result of this cooperation is presented on the conference in Brussels, on the 9th of May 2019. 

Open the Door for Reading - Conference on 9th of May 2019
How to inspire socially vulnerable parents to tell stories and read books to their young children? What are the effects of family literacy interventions and what can we learn from them? What are good practices to work with, especially for families facing multiple challenges?
Five European cities tackle these questions by sharing their expertise and good practices.
During the conference Bristol, Turku, Milan, Gothenburg and Brussels are happy to share the results of their cooperation and meet you on the 9th of May in Brussels.

Practical information
When: Thursday 9th of May 2019 – 10.00h a.m to 18.00h p.m
Where: Brussels, Kind & Gezin – Hallepoortlaan 27 (nearby Midi station)
Participation is free. Due to the European nature of the conference, the main language is English.

Participation is free, and limited to 100 participants.
Please give a word of notice when unable to attend the conference:


More information on the Erasmus+ partnership: (Dutch) and (English)

Conference program - 9th of May 2019 - Building Kind & Gezin, Hallepoortlaan 127, 1000 Brussel

9.00-10.00 Welcome & Coffee    

10.00-10.10 Words of Welcome - Pascal Smet (to be confirmed), Minister, Member of the Board of the Flemish Community Commission (VGC), responsible for Culture, Youth, Sport and Urban Policy

10.10-10.15 Introduction - Stijn Callewaert - Flemish Community Commission, Support Brussels Public Library Network

10.15-10.45 Open the Door for Reading - Malin Omland - City of Gothenburg

10.45-11.30 Keynote: Family literacy interventions and their effects on childrens’ early literacy development - Amos Van Gelderen - Kohnstamm Institute, University of Amsterdam

11.30-12.20 Panel: discussion - Hilde De Smedt - Foyer, Brussels, Sarah Whitehouse - University of the West of England, Bristol, Sieneke Goorhuis - Stenden College for Higher Education, North of Holland, and Elisabeth Mellgren - University of Gothenburg

12.30-14.00 Lunch & Coffee 

14.00-15.30 Open the Door for Reading: Workshops - Five inspiring workshops on Family Literacy and Reading Promotion

15.30-16.00 Conclusion - Brigitte Myle & Malin Omland - Flemish Community Commission, Support Brussels Public Library Network & City of Gothenburg

16.00-18.00 Drinks & Talks 


Overview workshops

At home in language – At home in reading’: the Rotterdam experience - Monique Ruedisueli, Winnie Hoogenboom and Manuela Slob, Rotterdam

This workshop focuses on the leading intervention principles and main experiences of the intervention programs At home in language and At home in reading. There will be room to share good practices and questions about involving low educated parents with low language and literacy levels. Strategies will be explored on how to stimulate policymakers to invest in adequate intervention programs.

Reading to children: the next level - Nicoleta Vandeputte and Krista Donckers, Brussels

Reading to children: the next level is an interactive exhibition developed in Brussels in 2017. This exhibition expands the notion of reading aloud and visualizes eight ways to embark with children on an exciting reading journey. Parents and professionals find out how much they already contribute to the (reading) development of their children. And the exhibition provides inspiration to do even more. During this workshop you discover the guiding principles and the daily practice of the exhibition.

Challenging social inequality through the power of the picture book - Jane Carter, Bristol

Sharing stories with children has not only been demonstrated to enhance reading, maths and cognitive skills, but also arouses curiosity and constructs our view of the world around us and our place in it. This workshop will reflect on a range of children’s books and consider how they can raise questions for children about inequality, otherness and difference. We will explore the challenging nature of picture books, which through the skilful use of illustration and words, provoke the big questions about life, for child and adult alike.

Literacy Projects in Early Childhood Education in Finland - Katri Moiso, Turku

This workshop presents three Finnish projects aiming at creating communities of readers, as well as enhancing home literacy. The workshop presents the main aims of these projects as well as some concrete reading activities and innovations for support. Some of the practical solutions are supported with research, and others are presented from a practical perspective.

How to strengthen the role of the public libraries and work towards the city's goal of an equal Gothenburg - Bodil Alvarsdotter, Gothenburg

This workshop zooms in on a three year project, launched to strengthen the libraries in the city of Gothenburg. Seven coordinators are employed to highlight and develop ongoing reading promotion activities and to create higher quality and sustainability over time. Their role is crucial to strengthen existing structures and networks, as to develop city wide initiatives. Efforts will be made in three ways: through efforts in the library, by out-reached work by librarians, and in the digital sphere.