Photo: Lo Birgersson/City of Gothenburg

Open the door for reading

"The City Where We Read for Our Children" is a Gothenburg project designed to encourage reading with and for children in their early age. Now, for two years, the city will hold an EU project within the Erasmus+ program on the same theme. The project includes four other European cities and is called "Open the door for reading".

"Open the door for reading" is coordinated by the City of Gothenburg and includes the cities of Turku, Milan, Brussels and Bristol. For two years, the cities will exchange knowledge about reading promotion through workshops, seminars and visits in all five cities.

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

How will the project be carried out?

The project includes transnational meetings in each partner city, seminars/ workshops and study visits, a” booklet”/ training manual for professionals and other actors promoting reading among families, two multiplier events with lectures/ seminars and presentations of the project results.

Part of a bigger objective

The EU project is part of The City of Gothenburg’s mobilization issue "The City Where We Read for Our Children". The purpose is to encourage reading with and for children early in their life’s. Research shows that reading for and with children contribute to improved vocabulary, interest in reading and reading ability among children.

If we read to our children, in long term, more people will be able to finish school, get further education and qualified jobs. The issue is therefore an important part in the city’s work with reducing disparities in living conditions in Gothenburg, "Equal Gothenburg"

Training Manual – A Guidance for practitioners working with young families

The Open the Door for Reading project raises the importance of reading and telling stories amongst practitioners working with families across a wide range of contexts. The manual is a product of the Erasmus Plus ‘Open the Door to Reading’ project, involving 5 European cities and the transnational exchange of best practice. 

Download Training Manual – A Guidance for practitioners working with young families

Transnational meetings

Gothenburg, December 2017

Program and report from the meeting

Bristol, May 2018

Program and report from the meeting

Turku, October 2018

Program and report from the meeting

Brussel, May 2019

Program and report from the meeting

Milano, October 2019

Program and report from the meeting 


Multiplier Events

Brussel 9th of May

This conference is one of two events in order to present our project results, share our experiences and good practices.


Milano 18th of October

Program and report



Press about the project


Interview with project coordinator Malin Omland (Gothenburg EU-Office) (in swedish)

Article from Gothenburg EU-Office (in swedish)

Article from Milano meeting (in swedish)

Fem städer pratar ökad läsning i nytt Göteborgsprojekt (in Swedish)

More articles (in Swedish)


School Education Gateway (article and interview Amos Van Gelderen) 

Press and articles


Blog post

Posts from Taru-Project:

Taru 1

Taru 2

Taru 3

Taru 4 



The participating cities


For many years The City of Gothenburg have worked with social sustainability, human rights and equal opportunities. The concept (Equal Gothenburg) is now coordinated by a long-term program “The City of Gothenburg's program for an equal city 2018-2026" with the main target to support our citizens so that they can reach their full potential in health and wellbeing. That means that some city districts get more intense support then others where the social standard and wellbeing already are at an elevated level but still, we work to create a more equal and cohesion city over all. 

To tackle the difference in living conditions and equality we have organized our work in four different objectives; A good start in life and good upbringing conditions; To create good conditions for work; To create sustainable and equal local communities; and To create good conditions for citizen participation, influence and trust in society. The mobilization “The City Where We Read to our Children” is a part of the first objective in this program and is designed to encourage reading with and for children in their early age. It is a very simple and concrete issue which gives a possibility for many, with relatively low input, to contribute to a more positive development in our society.

The mobilization is implemented through the development and strengthening of reading promotion activities, development skills and communications efforts.  To have an effect and to be able to influence differences in living conditions and health we need to work on different levels, therefore both general and more specific actions is needed. One important effort within this mobilization is our ongoing Erasmus+ project Open the door for Reading


As Teaching and Learning Consultants we are delighted to be taking part in the Open the Door To Reading Project.  We currently lead on the Every Child a Reader (ECaR) initiative in the City : ECaR was a national initiative that began in 2005 with Bristol being seen as a leading Authority in the innovation of this project at a local level to address underachievement of vulnerable groups in the City.

ECaR is a means of organizing and managing a range of effective literacy interventions for children struggling to read and write in Key Stage 1. It is a school based approach which aims to ensure that every child achieves literacy success in literacy through carefully targeted support. At the core of this strategy is Reading Recovery which provides intensive teaching for the very lowest attaining children and professional support for staff to ensure quality first teaching and reduce the need for intervention. ECaR bridges the gap between different abilities in the classroom, making sure that every child is reader before they move into Key Stage 2.


Second largest city in Italy (1,400,000 inhabitants in its Municipality, 180 sq Km), Milan is also administrative and business centre in the largest Italian metropolitan area, with a population of about 5.000.000 people, and the main city of Lombardy, Italian more populated and rich region. The Municipality of Milan is a Local Authority and is responsible for the strategic planning and delivery of a large number of services for the city (education, social services, economic development, culture, mobility, housing).

The Education Department of Municipality of Milan manages more than 300 preschools for children 0/6 years old. In particular, 104 nursery schools (0-3 years old), 175 preschools (3-6 years old) and 39 “Sezioni Primavera” that are classes of continuity between nursery schools and pre-schools. Moreover we manage services for families, such as spaces for families, centers for early childhood and play areas that have for target children that are not enrolled in our daily services. The Department is composed of people of staff. More than 3000 educators 4250 work in Education Department and 33.000 children 0/6 years old attend our services. We are dealing with a public-private integrated system that involves also private nursery schools and pre-schools.

Fromt the OTDTR project we expect to enhance and improve our internal processes supporting the reading practices, which have a key role in the development of our pedagogical approach that is based on inclusive teaching and divergent thinking. Moreover reading is connected to wellbeing meant in the broader sense as the capability of adults to take care of children and of their self reliance capability. Reading become the way to guarantee the possibility of giving equal opportunities to all children, also in culturally deprived contexts. Besides public libraries, our local partners are pediatricians and Regional Health Department.


Turku is the oldest city in Finland and one of the oldest in the North. It is a cultural hub of old and new with six higher education institutions. The Turku region is the third largest urban region in Finland with 317,000 inhabitants. The official population of the City of Turku is around 190,000.

Turku area is characterised by its international dimension. There are more than 100 nationalities resident in the area. 10 % speak languages other than Finnish or Swedish.

The strategy of the city emphasises health and well-being of its citizens. Central Administration of Turku oversees the implementation of city’s strategy. City strategy is supported by two strategic programmes, the other one being Well-being and activity. This programme focuses on promoting active lifestyle, participation of citizens, and co-operation of different actors in the city. For city of Turku, Open the Door for Reading –project supports creating new possibilities to promote reading and reaching families with different backgrounds.


The Brussels Network of Dutch Public Libraries takes reading promotion at heart. Given the social and cultural superdiversity that characterizes the Belgian capital, the libraries pay special attention to disadvantaged multilingual children and their parents. To enrich the book and reading context of vulnerable families, that is what the libraries try to achieve. In this perspective, the libraries have developed quite some reading projects: Boekstart (for individual children from 0 to 2,5 years), Boekenbende (‘The Book Squad’, for individual children from 5 to 6), Voorleesweek (‘The Read Aloud Week’ also known as ‘Brussels Reads Aloud’ in November, for individual children from 4 to 7), Jeugdboekenmaand (‘The Youth Books Month’, for groups/classes of children from 4 tot 14). And of course, the overall, continuous Reading Line, an integrated approach of reading promotion, techniques and exercises throughout all the projects the libraries organize.

The Brussels Network of Dutch Public Libraries is an initiative of the Department ‘Support Platform Libraries in Brussels’, which is a service of the Flemish Community Commission (VGC). The Flemish Community Commission supports the national literacy plan and has an engagement to support Dutch and multilingual communities in Brussels. With this commitment as a broad guideline, the Network links poverty reduction to the literacy plan.

Family literacy in combination with socially vulnerable families is a difficult and delicate mission. The transnational project ‘Open the Door to Reading’ is therefore important for our library network. The exchange of ideas and good practices will help us to have a clearer focus on our mission, to broaden our vision on possible partnerships, to improve our projects and especially, to improve our skills and methods to communicate to/with families that do not often read at home.

Link to this page 

Contact for further information

Malin Omland - Leading the project "The city where we read for our children"