Reading ordinary books is difficult for 30% of the Norwegian population. The reasons for this are numerous, but one common factor prevails: It is difficult to find suitable books. Our goal is to make literature available for everyone. Nobody should be left out of the chance to read a good book! Leser søker bok (Books for everyone) supports and promotes adapted books.
Leser søker bok (Books for Everyone) was established in 2002. Our goal is to provide adapted literature for all kinds of people who have difficulties reading ordinary books. Our philosophy is that everyone should be able to have access to literature, regardless of their reading abilities!
We are an alliance of 20 organisations – our members include associations of booksellers, authors, publishers – and various different organisations representing our target groups. The Arts Council Norway has, from 2011, the main financial responsibility for Leser søker bok.
Many may experience difficulties in reading, depending on the complexity of the text. Our goal is to make sure that there are books at all levels of complexity, and with every possible kind of adaption.
The books we support and promote are just as varied as the readers. They have different kinds of adaptions – or combinations of these:
- text wich is easy to read
- contents that are easy to understand
- tactile pictures
- sign language
- bliss or pictogram
Our target groups: Who are the 30 %?
Studies of reading abilities among Norwegian students shows that 20 % of our target audience are below the ”critical line”, while 10 % have serious reading disabilities (PISA – Programme for International Student Assessment). However, both the international surveys SIALS (Second International Adult Literacy Survey) and ALL (Adult Literacy and Life Skills) show the same results based on studying adult readers. This means that a staggering 30 % of the Norwegian population have difficulties in reading ordinary text.
This does not mean that 30 % can’t spell. Nor do they consider themselves poor readers. It simply means that reading tests show that they are unable to fully understand the contents in an ordinary text.
Adults with language or reading disabilities is a large and complex group. The most common reasons can be divided into the following:
- Language skills
- Dyslexia – reading disabilities
- Other disabilities that can lead to reading difficulties, i.e. visual or hearing limitations, blindness, deafness, mental impairment, etc.
- Inexperienced readers,
- Multiple unknown reasons
In total all these groups amount to more than 1 million people in Norway.
Reading as a goal and medium
Some people will never be able to read ordinary books, but being a «poor reader» does not have to be a permanent diagnosis. We consider adapted literature to be both a medium; a guide into the wonderful world of reading, and a goal in itself; an invitation to discover the many pleasures of literature.
What we do
Leser søker bok collaborates with publishers, writers, illustrators, libraries and bookshops to make books available to everyone.
We offer professional support in developing ideas and texts which are adapted into easy-to-read. To get a better understanding of the easy-to-read system, we have developed a handbook for authors and publishers.
Since 2003 Leser søker bok has supported around 80 book titles.
We also collaborate with publishers who wants to publish adapted/arranged literature for the Norwegian book market.
Our goal is that adapted books should be a natural part of the Norwegian book market. Our catalogue contains all the books that we have supported, and is published every year. The catalogue is printed in 20,000 copies and distributed to libraries, bookshops, schools and education centres, immigrant organisations, etc.
Our website www.boksok.no is a complete guide to all available adapted literature in Norway. As far as we know, this is the world’s first search-engine for adapted literature. The site is an overview of the book market for many different groups, as it contains a wide range of literature that has been made accessible in different ways. The users can easily find literature suitable for many different needs. You can also find out whether the book is available in your local public library or bookshop. You can search for titles based on genre, language, age, subject matter or other categories.
We are constantly striving to keep the website up to date. When evaluating and selecting books, strong emphasis is put on how suitable they are regarding the quality of the reading experience.
Bookshops and libraries for everyone
We try to make it easy to buy the books, by making arrangements with some of the bookshops for them to be fronted as bookstores with Books for everyone. We collaborate with over 140 public libraries across Norway. We provide financial support so that the libraries are able to hold a wide range of adapted literature in their collections, and we give them the necessary advice and information to be able to find the right book for the right reader. We also help libraries organise networks with reading representatives – who read out loud to people who are not able to read on their own (see below).
We publish a news letter four times a year about our work in the library field which is distributed to libraries and reading representatives.
«Reading representatives» and reading support
In cooperation with the public libraries who promote Books for everyone, we help to build networks of reading representatives. A reading representative is a person who reads aloud to others that are not able to read by themselves. We now have over 700 people who work with reading support, either as volunteers or as a part of their job. Our cooperating libraries collaborate with the administration for local Health and social services, participating institutions (retirement homes, psychiatric day care, homes for mentally disabled etc.) and volunteers. This is a highly welcomed offer for people who suffer from dementia, aphasia, or stroke patients, mentally disabled, elderly people with impaired sight etc. A reading representative can spread joy and inspiration and help improve the quality of life for many people.
The International Easy-to-Read Network
The International Easy-to-Read Network was established in 2005. The Network consists of five participating countries: Norway, Sweden, Finland, Italy and Spain.
The Easy-to-Read Network is an international network of people and organisations. Read about the Network and the different countries on their web page.
A manual for Bookworkers
To get a better understanding of how to make adapted books, we have developed a handbook for authors and publishers. In it you will find advice on how to write in a way that is easy to read for people who for various reasons have reading difficulties.