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Reading Week 2023: Bilingual story time for Ukrainian and Finnish families

Reading Week 2023: Bilingual Story Time for Ukrainian and Finnish Families

The Finnish Reading Center and the Deaconess Foundation’s Friend Families organize a bilingual reading session on National Reading Week, Saturday 22 April. The Finnish Reading Center’s guide for parents on reading aloud to children will be published in Ukrainian in the spring. The Read Aloud Parent’s Guide contains information on the importance of reading for multilingual families.

We celebrate National Reading Week with a bilingual reading session for families in Helsinki Central Library Oodi. Katri Kirkkopelto’s picture book Molli will be read aloud in Finnish and in Ukrainian at the event. Molli is a beautiful and hilariously funny story about friendship, loneliness and different feelings and emotions. Before the story time, a short info session on Finnish libraries will be held in Ukrainian.

The event is organized by the Finnish Reading Center (Lukukeskus) together with the Deaconess Foundation’s project Friend Families (Perheiden parissa – Проект “Дружня родина”). The Friend Family activity connects a volunteer Finnish family and a Ukrainian family with kids in Helsinki region. The goal of the activity is to support Ukrainian families by providing safe social networks and everyday support trough family friends. After the reading session, the families involved with the Friend Families project can take part in a workshop built around the themes of the book Molli.

Reading aloud supports children’s development on language and literacy

Stories and fairy tales written in one’s own mother tongue support the child’s knowledge of their mother tongue and thereby also the learning of new languages. Nurturing one’s mother tongue is also important for strengthening the child’s identity. The expressing of feelings in one’s native language helps to create a stronger connection between a child and a parent. Reading together brings joy to the whole family: it gives the experience of being together, creates interaction between the child and the adult, and helps the parent to learn about their child’s interests. A daily bed time story is a good way to bring reading into everyday family life.

Shared moments of reading with parents or other close adults can calm the child and strengthen their sense of security. A child can also be prepared for upcoming big life changes by reading children’s books on the subject together. Picture books can also help a child whose sense of security has been shaken, for example due to a loss in the family, as it is comforting for the child to realize that they are not alone with the experience. A child who identifies with the events of the book, empathizes with the feelings of the book’s characters. This can help them learn ways to regulate and channel their emotions in a constructive way in their own everyday life.


Looking for a friend – Afternoon of reading for families
Reading session in Finnish and Ukrainian
Saturday 22 April 2023 at 1 PM
Helsinki Central Library Oodi, 3rd floor


Read more on the Deaconess Foundation’s Friend Family project:
Read Alound: Parents’ Guide in 15 languages: