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Supporting books and reading
[anglais] Key policies - Jean-Michel Blanquer -

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Several measures intend to improve reading practice, including class size reduction in priority education networks, creation of tools for monitoring students' progress and pedagogical contents about teaching how to read.

  • The mastery of reading is essential to educational success. The school system's mission is to enable all children to read fluently. This is the necessary precondition for developing a taste for reading.
  • According to the Youth and Reading survey commissioned by the National Book Center in 2016, the number of books read by personal choice drops at the beginning of lower and upper secondary schools (elementary school students read twice as many books as lower secondary school students and three times as many as upper secondary school students).
  • According to the same survey, 96 % of young people aged 7 to 19 read - 89 % in a school setting, 78 % in their free time. 68 % read at least once a week, 28 % every day or so.
  • In cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Education will therefore promote initiatives to support books and reading to maintain and develop the desire to read.

Reading success for all

According to a study by the Evaluation, Foresight and Performance Department (DEPP) conducted in 2016, 22.5 % of the 760,000 youth aged 16 to 25 who completed their Defense and Citizenship Day (JDC) have a poor command of reading. Their decoding of words is slow and reading comprehension weak.
Establishing a basis for fluent reading must be begun early, in nursery school. These schools must become "language schools," much more than they are today, especially for pupils from the most disadvantaged areas.
Regular work on vocabulary, the alphabet, listening, understanding texts read by adults and handling books help children develop an interest and pleasuring in reading.
In first grade, repeated decoding exercises and reading comprehension work are central to teaching reading.
Students should read in class every day, both individually and collectively, silently and out loud, for learning and for pleasure ; reading exercises are supported and extended by writing, listening and speech.

New measures intend to improve reading practice :

  • Dividing first-grade classes by two in Enhanced Priority Education Networks enables to better support children when they start reading and writing. This program must help to reach 100 % of success in the mastery of this basic knowledge
  • The Scientific Council of National Education will provide tools to better monitoring student progress. Those tools will help professors identify as soon as possible the difficulties of some of their students, particularly in reading, and to adapt a teaching strategy to everyone. This year, all first-grade and sixth-grade pupils are concerned by those assessments. On an experimental basis, one more evaluation is scheduled this year in the middle of the first-grade class for pupils of Priority Education Networks. Next year, assessments will take place at the beginning and in the middle of the first-grade, and at the beginning of the second-grade and sixth-grade years
  • Pedagogical tools in teaching how to read will soon be provided to teachers
  • A training plan in reading will be organized for primary school teachers.

Transmitting a taste for reading

Reading exercises continue throughout the school year. Six to eight books are associated with school programs every year. Added to these are texts, documents and news articles used in class. The use of all appropriate media, such as the press, comics, quality children's literature and, of course, classic French texts, encourages a taste for reading.

The program A Book for the Holidays will be renewed and amplified. It encourages the reading of a classic of French literature : Jean de La Fontaine's fables. All fifth-grade students will take advantage of the program. Students with disabilities will receive an adapted version of the book. Educational resources were made available to teachers for this material and to work, beginning this September, with sixth-grade students.

Encouraging pleasure in reading

In cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, efforts supporting books and reading will continue, relying in particular on the libraries of schools and educational establishments, local libraries, as well as institutional partners, nonprofit associations and cultural establishments involved in literacy and the promotion of reading.

In the upcoming months, the French Ministry of National Education will take the following actions : strengthening the cooperation between public libraries and schools ; encouraging to reading through an evolution of all school libraries ; launching a media campaign to promote parental reading.

The Ministry of Education also intends to support, promote and expand initiatives intended to encourage a taste for reading (awards, competitions, partnerships, promotional events, etc.).

For example :

  • a program created by the nonprofit Lire et Faire Lire which, in 2016, organized 17,300 volunteers older than 50 to encourage literacy and a love of reading in schoolchildren
  • the Little Champions of Reading contest, for which fifth-grade students read a text of their choice aloud, with a grand finale in Paris, at the Comédie Française
  • the School Press and Media Week, organized by the Center of Teaching and Information Media (CLEMI) in partnership with media professionals, which allowed students to explore the diversity of print media, which is important for developing a sense of synthesis and the argumentation
  • the Prix Goncourt des Lycéens, in partnership with the retailer FNAC, for which about 2,000 students read novels selected by the Académie Goncourt, participate in discussions and select an annual winner. About 50 classes of general, technological and vocational upper secondary schools aged 15 to 18, participate.
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Last updated : nov. 8, 2019

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