Reading makes your world bigger…
Our association was invited to be an affiliate into the OKUYAY Platform that was founded to disseminate reading culture in Turkey (okuyayplatformu.com) in 2018.
OKUYAY was established with the main goal of compiling and encouraging good practices in Europe and Turkey and supporting CSOs, activists and volunteers in Turkey to improve reading culture by
Turkish Publishers Association. Conducted the Project between 2018 and 2020 with the grant received as part of the Grant Scheme for Partnerships and Networks of Civil Society Sector of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey.
- To support and improve capacities of CSOs, activists and volunteers working toward disseminating reading culture and to strengthen the change they create within their surroundings,
- To enhance good practices implemented for disseminating reading culture and to promote them across Turkey,
- To support CSOs to participate in developing policies on reading culture and to take an active role indecision-making mechanisms,
- To announce all activities carried out during the project via communication tools, social media and the website of the Platform to all CSOs,
- To establish a library with publications on reading culture,
- To share information with experts and target population by organising conferences and meetings.
- Mother Child Education Foundation (Anne Çocuk Eğitim Vakfı – AÇEV)
- The Turkish Librarians’ Association (Türk Kütüphaneciler Derneği – TKD)
- The Municipality of Kadıköy
- Kingston University, United Kingdom Affiliations
- Stiftung Lesen, Germany
- Reading Culture Association (Okuma Kültürü Derneği)
- Civil Society Organisations
- Organised, active individuals who work towards disseminating reading culture and
access to books
- Relevant public institutions
- Relevant ministries and directorate-generals
- Children aged between 0-6 and 7-18
- Publisher stakeholders
- Public and private libraries
- Professional organisations
- Turkey Reading Culture Research (2019), Reading Culture Mapping Study (2019) and
Independent Bookstores Research Report (2019) were prepared and shared.
- OKUYAY communication network has been established. The website for the Platform
(okuyayplatformu.com) was introduced and activities were carried out through printed
and social media.
- 50 CSOs and 50 activists who were selected from the database were provided with
capacity building training.
- TUYAP Izmir Fair, Kadıköy Environment Festival, Kadıköy Second-Hand Bookshops
Festival and TUYAP Istanbul Book Fair were attended and speeches were delivered.
- Study visits were paid to European countries (United Kingdom and Germany) to meet
with persons and institutions working in the field; several meetings were attended.
- Istanbul OKUYAY meetings managed to gather stakeholders in the field of reading
culture in 15 different sessions. OKUYAY Talks carried out 10 different sessions.
- OKUYAY Advisory Committees were formed. Activities were carried out in three
advisory committees formed according to age groups of children, k-12 and adults.
- Field experts determined problem areas and solutions regarding reading culture according to age groups. In line with the results, recommendations were made for possible changes in laws and regulations.
- In keeping with research results, community meetings were organised in Ankara,
Istanbul, Samsun and Adana, which allowed parents, teachers, public institutions,
libraries, civil society members and other stakeholders to come together. Pilot grant
projects were carried out in various provinces including Adana (Super Readers –
Süper Okurlar), Ankara (Library city Ankara and Library city Konya) and Istanbul (I
Read Istanbul – İstanbul’u Okuyorum and Extraordinary Challenges – Sıradışı
- Reading Aloud (Sesli Okuma) day were organised across Turkey.
- OKUYAY Training Module, partaken by academicians, experts and educators who
work towards improving reading culture, were prepared and published online.
- “OKUYAY Platform and Handbook to Disseminate Reading Culture” were drafted
and made into 10,000 copies. The handbook was then shared with relevant persons,
institutions and organisations.
- Our association has endeavoured to achieve the following activities carried out by OKUYAY Platform:
- Dr Nur Otaran, a member of our association, has participated in the Child Advisory Committee, one of the OKUYAY Advisory Committees. Our association’s views on “Efforts to introduce and disseminate reading culture among k-12 age group” were shared with OKUYAY in writing.
- A list of civil society organisations based in Ankara to be contacted while establishing the OKUYAY communication network was prepared and shared with the platform.
- Three radio interviews were conducted to promote the Platform on printed and social media. 10 posters that include suggestions for parents to “improve reading habits” were shared on Instagram and a draft themed “Reading Together” prepared for Reading Friends was prepared and published on the Platform’s website.
- Günay Uysal, a member of our association, has participated as a representative of the Association in OKUYAY – Istanbul CSO Capacity-Building Training.
- Project ideas by applicants from project provinces of Adana, Ankara and Istanbul were evaluated by the contributions of our members, Iraz Öykü Soyalp, Sinem Bayraktar, Ceren Güven Güres and Mehtap Burak and were shared with OKUYAY.
- Our members have participated in pilot projects in Adana, Istanbul and Ankara out of the four provinces that will host projects to come up with good practices to disseminate Reading Culture.
- As part of the OKUYAY Meetings, Dr Tülay Üstündağ, a volunteer for our association has attended the meeting named “The Impact of Creative Drama Activities to Reading Culture” as a speaker.
- Memebers of Reading Cultura Association participated in the “Reading Aloud Day”, activities and shared reading groups in Instagram posts.
- Dr Nur Otaran and Mehtap Burak, members of our association, have drafted the article titled, “When Teachers Read with Pleasure (Öğretmenler Zevkle Okursa)”, which is also available in “OKUYAY Platform and Handbook to Disseminate Reading Culture”.
On April 29, 2019, a “reading together” event was held with the companions of child patients at
Hacettepe University Faculty of Medicine Children’s Hospital.
The event, which was carried out within the framework of Projects of Medical Science and Social
Responsibility at the University, was attended by patient relatives, child development specialists who
were on duty on the floor, nurses, and freshman medical faculty students who were a part of the
social responsibility project group.
After the information regarding how reading positively affects life and the communication with
children was given, the event proceeded with exercises. Based on reference books, studies and
exercises on how to read a book together, the interaction between the child and the adult,
comprehending what one reads and associating it with everyday life were made.
Following the event, attendees expressed that they have forgotten that they are in a hospital, and
that the study has been a very helpful one which stimulated their wish to read.
On April 19, 2019, as a part of the International Children’s Books Festival, the chair of Okuma Kültürü
Derneği Dr. Nur Otaran and two volunteers of the same organisation, Başkent University lecturers
Hicran Çetin Gündüz and Melike Yumuş shared information and acted as facilitators at the workshop
held in Cappadocia University.
The strategies of audible reading and reading together were reviewed with the attendees. Exercises
were made via reference children’s books. Topics such as how to discuss books, how to interact with
the child, kinds of questions to be asked and kinds of answers to be given to the questions asked by
the child were discussed using examples.
Following the workshop, attendees expressed in written and oral evaluations that they have learned
many new exercises about the preparations to be done before starting to read and the activities
after reading, that they have gained perspective, and that reading together has helped them realize
and share new emotions.
(*) “Reading makes your world bigger…”
Our festival was home to Reading Together Workshop, held by the participation of Nur Otaran, Dr.
Hicran Çetin and Melike Yumuş from Okuma Kültürü Derneği. Okuma Kültürü Derneği, which started
off with the slogan “reading makes your world bigger,” answered questions on why and how to read,
and contributed to the festival with the workshop.
In 2019-2020 academic year, Başkent University Ayşeabla Private Kindergarten has included “Reading Together Basic Skills TrainingProgramme” intended for parents toits routine seminar programme. To this end, parents of newly-enrolled students are being regularly provided with this training every year.
In efforts to promote this training, cooperation was made with Büyük College and “Reading Together Basic Skills Training Programme” Teacher Training was carried out with the attendance of educators of Büyük College Kindergarten and Primary School on August 25 th 2021.
“Reading Together” Basic Training Programme was developed for children in the age group of 3-5 to
read with their teachers and relatives. Programme’s first training and exercises were implemented at
Başkent University Ayşeabla Private Schools in the school year 2018-2019.
“Reading Together” is a way of interaction which begins with the birth of a child and which can be
sustained during adulthood. It improves communication between adults and children and enables it
to last for life. The goal is enabling the child to develop a pattern of reading with joy, to embrace it,
and to make it a part of his/her everyday life. Within the process of reading together, various
strategies such as understanding the text, being able to interpret the text, comprehending different
perspectives, empathizing with different characters, criticizing, and associating with one’s own life
can be used.
The trainings took place in three stages.
With the cooperation of Başkent University Faculty of Education and Okuma Kültürü Derneği, three
training programmes were implemented. Need recognition and assessment studies were made with
the attendees before and after the trainings.
Initially, preschool teachers were given trainings. Teachers made reading exercises with their
students. Feedbacks were given regarding the exercises which were supervised by the study group.
In the second stage, teachers were given “trainer training.” The goal of this training was enabling
teachers to give support to the parents and relatives about “reading together.”
In the last stage, parents were given a training about gaining “reading together” skills.
Teachers expressed that with the help of this programme, their knowledge and skills about “reading
together” were improved, that the students’ wish to read increased, and that the process of reading
grew rich. School principal Melda Evren expressed her happiness regarding the success of the long-
running cooperation with Okuma Kültürü Derneği and the lecturers of Başkent University, and the
increased support they gave to parents about reading.
The Children’s Library Guide Workshop which was organized by Okuma Kültürü Derneği in its first
year was held on December 21, 2018 at German Cultural Centre, Ankara.
The draft of the guide, which would lead the way for persons who will establish a new children’s
library and for persons who work in children’s libraries, included the laws and regulations, the
structure, the personnel, the collection, the budget, standards, ethical principles, services, and
operations of the children’s libraries.
The workshop, which commenced with opening speeches, welcomed 51 attendees from related
professions such as librarians, educators, psychologists, child development specialists, engineers,
architects, lawyers, academicians, business managers, and economists who were divided into four
groups according to their areas of expertise.
The Draft of Children’s Library Services Guide, prepared by the members of the organisation and the
volunteers was shared with the attendees before the workshop, and feedbacks were received during
its 12 sessions.
Following the workshop, attendees expressed that the contents of the guide was comprehensive,
and that it will satisfy an important need in the area. The guide will be published as a publication of
Okuma Kültürü Derneği after the development work is completed.