This week singer Metejoor and street football icon Soufiane Touzani came to the pitches of RVC Hoboken. Together with 100 Antwerp children, they got creative with language. Touzani played letter football, Metejoor made a rap with the children. With the “Letterpret event” bol.com bollebozen wants to boost the enthusiasm for language among Flemish youth. Bol.com bollebozen is an initiative of online shopping platform bol.com to contribute to equal opportunities for children in Belgium and the Netherlands. According to bol.com bollebozen, the Christmas holidays are the perfect time for young people to get into the books.
Flemish children dangle at the bottom of the international tables in terms of their reading skills. For example, an international PIRLS study shows that the reading level of Flemish 10-year-olds fell from eighth to thirty-second place in ten years’ time, in a ranking of 54 countries and regions around the world. In terms of reading skills, a Flemish pupil thus lags two school years behind children in the countries that do score well. Especially children who grow up in an underprivileged environment have less access to books during school holidays. It is an extra big challenge for them to keep their reading level up to par.
Creative with language
The signal for bol.com bollebozen, Metejoor and Soufiane Touzani to join forces and immerse a hundred children in a true language immersion. The grounds of football team RVC Hoboken formed the stage for the “Letterpret event” today. The Dutch street football player Soufiane Touzani, with more than a million Instagram followers, introduced the hundred Antwerp children between the ages of 6 and 10 to letter football, where they had to form words using life-size footballs and letters. During his own childhood, he himself was often confronted with reading difficulties.
“I am very happy that I can contribute here. I also have children myself so I know that reading is super important and that, especially these times, you have to challenge your child to make reading fun. At the bollebozen event, if you are attending live, you will notice that this is transmitted. A little seed has been planted. Hopefully, it will also be harvested that these children become excellent in reading comprehension.” Soufiane Touzani
The Flemish singer and songwriter Metejoor, on the other hand, started working with language in his own way. The children were presented with a rap text where some words were left out. Just like Touzani, Metejoor realizes the importance of reading like no other.
“I believe that every child has the right to a fair chance to develop reading skills and to enjoy it. That is why I enjoyed participating in the bollebozen activity” Joris Van Rossem, Metejoor
Afterwards, each child returned home with a Letterpretpakket from bol.com bollebozen. This box contains various reading and activity books to keep you entertained for the rest of the holiday.
While the children were busy with Touzani and Metejoor, the parents received more information about the importance of reading. The same event is organized in Utrecht and Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. In addition to organizing the events during the Christmas holidays, bol.com bollebozen donated 30,000 Letterpretpakketten to children at various schools in the Netherlands. It is not the first time that this social initiative of the e-commerce company is committed to the reading skills of children and young people. Throughout the year, bol.com bollebozen is committed to conveying the pleasure of reading to children. Books are the heart of the webshop, because bol.com started in 1999 as an online bookshop.
“We want to convey the joy of reading to children from an early age. Reading is not only fun, it is also very good for language development. It is important to us not only to support social initiatives, but also to set them up ourselves with the brains. It is wonderful to see how we can let children enjoy and play with these bollebozen events, while contributing to their reading pleasure.” Jori Ebskamp, Lead CSR & Sustainability at bol.com.
What’s in a Letterpretpakket?
There are boxes for two age categories, from 4 to 6 years and from 7 to 9 years. There are books in the suitcases, such as Dolfje Weerwolfje or Spekkie & Sproet, a DIY book by Peppa Pig of Frozen, colored pencils and a Memory game.