By Angelina Hass-Richarte
Did you know that only 16% of French students aged 12 to 17 choose to read of their own will?
Since 2016, the publishing house Folio organizes its Prix des lycéens. Every year, French high school students vote for their favorite novel from a selection of six books published that year. The Prix Folio invites students from participating high schools to read and discover modern works about contemporary topics. The books of the selection for this year are the following: Ada by Antoine Bello, Fils du feu by Guy Bollet, Vincent qu’on assassine by Marianne Jaeglé, and Le chagrin des vivants by Anna Hope. In addition to having the pleasure of reading interesting stories, students are also able to debate on several aspects of the novel and share their impressions. To participate, a school librarian simply needs to register its establishment on the website.
La Tour is one of the many schools participating in this event, and students from Seconde, Première and Terminale are part of this national project. Activities are different for each level. For example, debates are organized for the classes of Terminale, and Seconde students have reading sessions during which they discuss their impressions of the book. The purpose is to make everyone feel involved. Sylvie Bordon, La Tour’s librarian says that this project is a “communal experience from which every student should learn” and even if some students did not like one of the book they were asked to read, “it is still interesting to see what others thought about the novel.”
The fact that the books are written by authors from the 21st century allows the students to feel more connected to them. As Madeleine Prate, 2EA? says, “the Prix Folio is a good way for students who do not usually read to discover new authors that we can actually meet and can feel close to.”
The author of one of the books, Vincent qu’on assasine, Marianne Jaeglé, came to La Tour in January to answer questions students had about her novel and the way she wrote it. Through this discussion, students were able to better understand several aspects of the book and the meaning behind it.
At the end of the school year, the students vote for the book they admired most. This vote is a way for students to “feel concerned in the destiny of a piece of work.”
However, reading the books is still mandatory and many students think that participating in the project should not be imposed because it is an addition to the load of work they already have. For example, Émilien Taisne, 2EA, says that he thinks that “participating in the prize is not necessary and should be optional” since high school students have other required books to read.
So while the opinions about the Prix Folio des lycéens project are varied, it still remains a way to encourage students of the new generation to read more often and to develop an interest in novels written in their time and in their society.