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When stories become an escape

"Leseheimat"(=reading home) initiative was brought to life in 2015 by the Children´s Fund - Future Foundations Foundation in cooperation with the Stuttgart City Library and the Stuttgarter Vorleseprojekt  Leseohren e.V.. Her goal is, on the one hand, to teach refugee children a better understanding of the German language by reading to them and at the same time to create a framework in which the children can forget their fears and worries, their homesickness and also the uncertainty about the future for a few hours.

Children between the ages of five and 13 are picked up from their refugee home in the afternoon and travel to the Stuttgart City Library in a bus organized exclusively for this purpose as a small community of around 20 to 30 excited, curious little personalities. When they arrive in the children's and youth book area, the children are divided into groups. "There are only as many people in a group as there is space on the "lap" of the reading mentors," is the motto of the reading ears eV  The reading mentors, who are trained to read to refugee children, read and explain from books, who were specifically selected in advance according to age and language skills. The themed islands in the childrens and young peoples book area offer an ideal environment, a quiet retreat and the perfect basis for your first language experiences.


The reading hours take place every 14 days and are repeated 4 to 5 times per refugee home. As a result, the older children gain the confidence during this time to be able to use the services of the city library unaccompanied in the future. At the end of the reading home events of a home, each child receives a book that they can choose from a wish list. Reading home is looking for reading mentors who will read to children from refugee families in the Stuttgart city library once a week. The reading sponsors are trained by experts before they are deployed and can thus specifically address the needs of the refugee children in teaching the German language.


In addition, with the support of Prof. Dr. Jürgen Belgrade from the University of Education Weingarten provided scientific support for this project, which should allow the project to be offered beyond the borders of Stuttgart in the future. It is about how reading can be enjoyed across cultures through "gestural reading". 


"What tomorrow world will look like depends to a large extent on the imagination of those who are learning to read right now." (Astrid Lindgren)

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