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Lire et faire lire in France

3, rue Récamier
75341 Paris Cedex 7


When a child acquires a taste for stories, it will acquire a taste for reading. And mastering reading is essential for getting along in school and life. This is the conviction of the French organization Lire et fait lire – Read and make read.

Lire et fait lire developed out of project in Brest in the 1980s, where local retirees volunteered for running the Nattier school’s library. Nowadays, volunteers spend some of their spare time with children reading to them, sharing stories just for the sake of pleasure. The programme seeks to foster the bond and the solidarity between generations, too, as the volunteers are retirees and aged 50+. Children, in turn, are in primary school age or younger.

The volunteers meet the children once a week or even more often in the course of a school year, each session lasting for half an hour. Children who wish to take part are organised in groups of two to six and listen to stories they like. During the session, the participating children share their own experiences or ask questions, and the volunteers react and behave as they would do with their own children or grandchildren while reading a story to them.

Volunteers have received previous training from Lire et fair lire in subjects such as child psychology or children’s literature. Currently, more than 12,000 volunteers work with over 250,000 children in schools and places such as libraries or child care facilities, while the majority of events take place in primary schools. A dedicated committee, partner organisations or the volunteers themselves recommend books and stories for reading.

The writer Alexandre Jardin and Pascal Guénée initiated the project Lire et fait lire in 1999, which enjoys the support of many fellow writers, amongst them Daniel Pennac or Erik Orsenna. The organization receives a variety of funding and support from governmental bodies, foundations, publishing houses and others.

Lire et fait lire runs a couple of special events with partner organisations, again with the help of the many volunteers. We have already reported about the Camion des mots as an example.

In the meantime, Lire et fait lire has spread internationally. This programme can now be found in Switzerland and also in the Canadian province of Québec.