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  Drink me! Illustration by John Tenniel, 1865.

So many out-of-the-way things had happened lately, that Alice had begun to think that very few things indeed were really impossible.

Lewis Carroll,

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland


First International Week of Reading to Children


First International Week of Reading to Children.
Signing proclamation of “All of Europe Reads to Kids” programme

After ten years of conducting a successful reading campaign in Poland, the Foundation “ABCXXI - All of Poland Reads to Kids”, jointly with her sister Czech Foundation “Every Czech Reads to Kids”, organized the First International Week of Reading to Children. Inauguration of the event, held on June 1, 2011, in Cieszyn and Cesky Tesin, was attended by representatives of Poland and the Czech Republic, as well as the Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine, interested in spreading reading-to-children programmes in their own countries and throughout Europe.

Two thousand of children in fairy tales costumes from Cieszyn and Cesky Tesin, together with parents, teachers and other local participants, gathered at the Friendship Bridge joining two towns, took part in the launching of the “All of Europe Reads to Kids” programme. The Proclamation of the programme was signed by representatives of children, local and central authorities, cultural and educational institutions, business and media, authors, artists, foreign guests and the organisers. The event was hosted by Ewa Farna and Maciej Orłoś.

Professor Jerzy Buzek, the President of the European Parliament, sent a video-message to the participants of the Inauguration, saying: “As President of the European Parliament, I have become a patron of the Polish undertaking to encourage reading aloud to children. Today, I appeal to individuals, organizations and institutions in the European Union, asking them to support the development of such programmes in their own countries. Reading aloud not only strengthens the empathic skills and sensitivity of youngsters. It also rewards children with a feeling of belonging to traditions and thoughts which have evolved in communities over the course of centuries. It is here in Europe that we are building bridges between generations, societies, and even between countries. Your meeting today is clear evidence of this. I am extremely pleased that you are giving Europe a signal today from Cieszyn, a town on the Polish-Czech border, the area of Poland that I have come from. By reading to children, we actively invest in their future, as well as our own future, and the future of the entire European Union.” (Read the whole message here)

A letter with congratulation was also sent by Ms. Androulla Vassiliou, the Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth in the European Commission. According to the latest research, 20 percent of young people in Europe are illiterate. This endangers   quality of their lives and also our common future. In an attempt to better deal with this problem, in February 2011 a group of experts in literacy was established by the European Commission. Therefore, the “All of Europe Reads to Kids” programme, based on the ten years experience of the national campaign  “All of Poland Reads to Kids“, is very relevant. Moreover, it is a very effective, inexpensive and child-friendly programme.

During the Inauguration of the First International Week of Reading to Children, Polish children and special guests, led by well-known actress Edyta Jungowska, read ‘Locomotive’, a famous Polish poem by Julian Tuwim, which is  traditionally the signal to start the National Week of Reading to Children in Poland. Czech children along with special guests from the Czech Republic, led by famous singer Jaromir Nohavica, sang the song ‘Kozel’ and recited Jiři Žaček’s poem « Do not paint devil on the wall » (meaning : The devil is not so black as he is painted). Then, children, special guests and organizers signed the proclamation of the "All of Europe Reads to Kids" programme. Throughout the day, everyone could put their signatures under the proclamation printed in Polish, Czech and English languages on large boards carried along the streets of Cieszyn and Cesky Tesin by volunteers. The abbreviated text of the proclamation reads:

We, the undersigned participants of the Inauguration of the First International Week of Reading to Children, appeal to all people, non-governmental organizations and institutions responsible for education of the young generation to introduce and support programmes promoting daily reading aloud to children and adolescents,

                                2 0  m i n u t e s   a   d a y.  E v e r y  d a y!

The proclamation of the "All of Europe Reads to Kids" programme signed by the Special Guests from Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia and Ukraine


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