DIAVAZONTAS MEGALONO is an interdisciplinary non-profit organization, founded in 2013 by librarians, educators, health professionals and experts in Reading, Literacy and Literature areas. Its mission is to encourage children’s systematic engagement in reading and to ensure access to reading materials from early age; to facilitate the creation of a more stimulating reading environment that will inspire children to evolve into motivated, engaged and skilled readers.
DIAVAZONTAS MEGALONO is the first organization in Greece that focused on literacy issues, highlighting the relevant surveys and the scientific evidences on the importance of early childhood literacy interventions.
The organization aims to:
raise awareness regarding Reading and Literacy in Greece;
encourage and mobilize national authorities to adopt policies aimed to provide more reading opportunities to all children, especially those belonging in disadvantaged groups;
inform health professionals on the importance of reading for children’s linguistic, emotional, cognitive and social development and to encourage them to participate in early childhood literacy initiatives;
establish collaborations among health professionals, educators and librarians in order to design and implement reading promotion programmes for babies and toddlers;
exchange knowledge and collaborate with organizations and institutions (both national and international) that focus on literacy and/or implement reading promotion programmes;
conduct research and collect data on reading and literacy related fields.
DIAVAZONTAS MEGALONO is an active and extroverted organization with a wide range of activities; it organizes scientific meetings and open discussions on the importance of reading in every child's life, training courses for health professionals, teachers and librarians, as well as reading activities for children and families.
The organization was actively involved in the establishment of the first Library for Babies and Toddlers in Greece, offering gratis its know-how in all subjects concerning the Library (design of space, furnishing and equipment, safety, collection development, training of the staff). Thanks to a memorandum signed with the City of Athens Cultural Organization, from February 2016 to May 2022 DIAVAZONTAS MEGALONO continued to support the Library in various ways: by organizing events for children and families, by implementing reading aloud meetings for groups of children 12-36 months, by donating a significant number of selected titles in Greek and other languages for the Library's collection, by informing families and professionals about the Library's services.
Since 2019 DIAVAZONTAS MEGALONO organizes an open-air event ("Let's read together!") for the celebration of the International Literacy Day. The event aims to promote reading as a joyful activity that brings people together and to highlight the importance of mother tongue reading. It takes place in a park and consists of parallel reading aloud sessions in several languages, a special space with books for children who wish to read indipendently and a multilingual free book bazaar.
In December 2022, DIAVAZONTAS MEGALONO in collaboration with Goethe-Institut Athens held the 2-day conference "Books and reading in the early years" with invited speakers from Greece, Germany, Italy, UK and USA. The Conference was under the aegis of the Greek Ministry of Culture and was dedicated to the memory of Sofia Gavriilidou, Professor of Comparative Children's Literature in Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and founding member of the organization. The aim of the Conference was to raise public awareness on the importance of early literacy interventions and to create synergies in order to enlist more actors in the reading cause. The proceedings, which will be published in 2024, will be distributed to libraries, universities and other institutions free of charge.
The Conference also marked the inauguration of the pilot reading promotion programme "By reading they grow". The programme, focused on families with young children, is implemented in collaboration with community health professionals working in 12 public primary healthcare settings in Attica region. The main purpose of the programme is to offer training and continuous support to health professionals, as well as to provide them books to use during the infants’ and toddlers’ health consultation visits. An additional aim is to boost older children’s interest in reading by placing books in the waiting rooms. Started in March 2023, the programme is under the aegis of the Ministry of Culture which has also offered a financial support. The second phase (October 2023 – March 2024) consists of the donation of a book to every child of 12-24 months, during the health consultation visits, and the renewal of the books collection in the waiting rooms, while possibilities for collaboration with local libraries will be explored. The information collected during the implementation of the pilot programme is expected to lead to the planning of a wider reading promotion intervention.
DIAVAZONTAS MEGALONO is a member of EURead network.