Plain-language books to secondary schools

The Finnish Cultural Foundation is helping to improve the literacy of secondary school pupils in Finland by donating inspiring plain-language and easy-reading books to schools.

In 2023, The Cultural Foundation initiated a two-year project, which involves donating a book package to all schools in Finland that teach years 7 to 9 (lower secondary school). The package will contain 50–150 specially produced or recently published plain-language or easy-reading books. The project will be carried out by the Finnish Institute for Children’s Literature. All schools teaching grades 7 to 9 will be contacted once the project starts, and a book package will be sent to the schools in summer 2024.

The target audience are lower secondary pupils who for one reason or another are as yet unable to read books in standard language but can aim to do so with practice. The causes behind reading difficulties may be lack of practice or motivation, diverse attention deficit disorders, dyslexia or having an immigrant background.

Teachers will be offered training and materials for using plain-language and easy-reading books. At the same time, the current selection of plain-language literature will expand with the commissioning of new books for the packages.

Plain-language books can inspire the less confident readers

Literacy has declined among Finnish children and adolescents during the twenty-first century. As many as 14 per cent of those graduating from comprehensive school lack sufficient reading skills for coping with everyday situations.

Plain-language books are used in Finnish lower secondary schools to respond to various reading difficulties. Children suffering from dyslexia or attention deficit issues can read them instead of books in standard language, which may be too difficult, while those who speak Finnish as a second language can use them as learning materials. Those who lack a routine or motivation for reading can use plain-language books to awaken their interest and practise their technique. Plain-language adaptations make it possible for readers of all levels to carry out group work together. Through practice with plain-language books, some can move on to easy-reading books and, eventually, standard-language ones.

Further information:
Museonjohtaja Johanna Ruohonen
Museum Director, Senior Advisor