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The Joy of Reading in the Heritage Language

Leesplezier in de thuistaal

Multilingual children attending Dutch primary schools learn to read and write in Dutch, which they need to succeed at school in the Netherlands. Did you know that there are many benefits for multilingual children who also read in their heritage language?

Our campaign "The Joy of Reading in the Heritage Language" showcases events, FAQs, a toolbox -- and even a contest!-- that promote reading for pleasure in the heritage language.


The aim of this campaign

What impact can a project such as HLE Network's "The Joy of Reading in the Heritage Language" campaign have in the community?

According to leading Dutch linguists Folkert Kuiken, Professor of Dutch as a Second Language at the University of Amsterdam, Pieter Muysken, Academy Professor of General Linguistics at Radboud University Nijgmegen, and Joana Duarte, Professor of Multilingualism and Literacy at the NHL Stenden Hogeschool in Leeuwaarden: being multilingual can have advantages, but parents and educators must be proactive to make sure that multilingual students have an equal opportunity to succeed at Dutch schools (Kuiken & Muysken, 2009; Duarte, 2022).

The path to academic success and well-being of multilingual students requires projects and programs that "promote a rich and diverse language offer in the home environment of the children, also in other languages than Dutch" including parenting courses about raising multilingual children, the availability of read-aloud books, and activities around importance of reading (Kuiken & Muysken, 2009). Even something as simple as increased language awareness -- attention and appreciation for multilingualism -- in the community and at schools can lead to better academic achievement by students (Duarte, 2022, van den Broek et al., 2022; van der Wildt, 2016).

With this campaign, we aim to raise public awareness about the importance of reading in the heritage language by multilingual students. Not only because there are many academic, socio-emotional, and economic benefits that can follow from it, but also because it is simply something that children can enjoy!




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How to get children to read in the heritage language

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about reading in the heritage language

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Benefits explained

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from multilingual children

Image by Michal Czyz

In the press

Coming soon!


Thuistaal Toppers!

Share your book recommendation for a chance to win a gift card!



related to Joy of Reading in HL

Celebration of International Children's Book Collection

May 21, 2022
Eindhoven Library

In May, the youth department of the Eindhoven Library will have special visitors. Eindhoven's Mayor Jorritsma will officially open the International Children's Book Collection. Together with The Reading Pier the library had already added English language books. Since then, many more languages have been added, facilitated by HLE Network: Italian, Chinese, French, Romainian, Persian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, and Polish. And more languages will follow!

Ribbon Cutting
Marit Törnqvist bio pic - Rogier Veldman fotograaf.jpg

Online Lezing “Moedertaal en Vaderland”
door Marit Törnqvist

September 29, 2022
Online lezing

Om de Europese Dag van de Talen te vieren, heeft HLE Nework prijswinnend kinderboekenschrijver en illustrator Marit Törnqvist uitgenodigd voor een online lezing. Tijdens haar lezing zal Marit Törnqvist, die Zweeds als moedertaal heeft en in Zweden en Nederland veel met asielzoekers werkt, spreken over de waarde van het behouden van je moedertaal voor je identiteit en ontwikkeling en over het belang van toegang tot kinderboeken in je moedertaal/talen.

Fotograaf: Rogier Veldman

Meer info

FOHLC Europe 2022

November 11 - 12, 2022

Online event

Forum of Heritage Language Coalitions in Europe


Multilingual Children and Multilingual Libraries:

Cultivating Reading Habits in the Heritage Language

The program includes keynote speakers, workshops for HL teachers and HL program managers, networking opportunities, and a panel discussion by experts. Topics will include how to incorporate literature into HL program curricula, how to build libraries, and how to use existing multilingual digital libraries. Our presenters will share practical tips and inspiring examples of how to get multilingual children motivated to read in the heritage language!


FOHLC Europe 2022 is being organized by Móðurmál, Heritage Language Education Network, Association pour la Promotion et l'Avancement du Multilinguisme - A.P.A.M (Multilingual Café), Association for the Promotion of Polish Language Abroad (APPLA), and the Czech and Slovak School Okénko in London.


FOHLC Europe on Facebook

Facebook Group

FOHLC Europe on LinkedIn

LinkedIn Group

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