We are Dessislava Gavrilova, Iskra Djanabetska and Yana Genova - mothers of 7 children. We created Knigovishte to help more Bulgarian children discover the pleasure of reading, develop good reading and functional literacy, and grow to become active citizens. We also want Bulgarian parents and teachers to have an affordable and efficient ally in bringing up passionate, knowledgeable, inquisitive and literate citizens of the world.
Why did we create an online game and a children’s media to promote reading? A large number of studies show that reading is the single most important factor for a child’s success, as well as the best indicator for the future social and economic well-being of societies. Reading is even more important than a child’s social background and family income. This is because reading for pleasure develops children’s imagination and skills best and is the foundation for success in any school subject, including mathematics.
A number of studies prove this connection between the love of reading and future success. Iskra observed it herself as the head of the project “1000 scholarships”. Throughout the 10-year-initiative, she met thousands of children from families of various social backgrounds, from small villages and large cities. And the most driven and curious ones were invariably those who liked to read a lot.
Unfortunately, only 15 % of Buglarian students love to read (PISA 2018). How can we change this? With interesting reads that kids like! An example are the news of VIJTE that speak children’s language, as well as the fairy tales, encyclopedias and novels that immerse children in familiar storylines that kids can identify with. Another way is to permanently connect reading with the idea of something pleasant, of a play that brings prizes and frequent satisfaction.
The story of Knigovishte began precisely when Dessy – a long-time head of different cultural organizations – told us about the impact of a similar game on her son in Austria. By then, Yana had observed hundreds of initiatives to encourage reading as the founder of the “Next Page” Foundation and the House for Literature and Translation. She thought the game approach of Knigovishte was particularly successful.
This is how the inquisitive Knigovishte and its library of children’s book quizzes was born. Two years later, the first Bulgarian children's media, VIJTE, was also born.
“Knigovishte” is the word for “library” invented by Ivan Bogorov, a key figure in the Bulgarian National Revival. We chose it because we like the idea of building a bridge between our Revivalist past and the digital world of our children. Instead of fighting children’s love of online games, we believe it is better to harness it in the name of something valuable.
We hope Knigovishte will help you support children's hunger for stories too. We also hope VIJTE will make the world even more interesting for children and make them ever more curious, knowledgeable and inquiring. Because no matter what kids choose to be – astronauts, robot designers, designers or travelers – books and kid’s news will help them develop the key skills they need for the future – critical thinking, civic activism, creativity, teamwork and communication skills. Books will also help them grow to become wise and interesting people who see the beauty in the world and know how to make life better!