“We don’t read now like we read yesterday”
« Today, young people don’t read anymore. Jeanne Seignol did not escape this slightly reactionary platitude. A reader herself, she wanted to to understand what is behind this observation, why it was formulated that way and whether the numbers justified it “. A specialized YouTuber, she therefore decided to make a video on the subject, in a format that is still unusual for her channel, where posts oscillate between 7 and 20 minutes.
On the pagetherefore, it presents itself as a 35-minute documentary on the subject, “which corresponds to my initial training, more journalistic, and the desire to tell something for a longer period of time “. He previously had the chain Jeannot se livre he highlighted bookstores in 93 and warned his community on the impact of Amazon’s activities in longer episodes.
To filter the conviction through the numbers, Jeanne Seignol relied first about the study “Youth and reading”, the National Book Center and the Ipsos Institute, which set a record last March. According to his results, 93% of children between the ages of 7 and 25 said they read books, and 84% said they like or like this activity.
After all, “it seems that the main source for the establishment of the alarming report is the Study of Cultural Practices of the French, which is carried out every ten years by the Ministry of Culture “, says Jeanne Seignol. ” However, for statistical purposes, and especially in order to be able to compare the results of one edition of the study with another, the data is not taken into account reading comics or manga. The numbers therefore seem a little outdated to me: today we no longer read as we did yesterday. »
Quantitative studies making qualitative judgments? Nicole Robine, a researcher in the sociology of reading, has already noticed this bias in the Read books in France (Éditions du Cercle de la Librairie, 2000) which studied reading practices between 1930 and 2000 and is one of Jeanne Seignol’s sources forOn the page. «She noted that magazine and magazine reading was widely practiced by the working class, but was never considered as reading in studies on the subject. The fact that the practice of the less privileged social classes is not appreciated does not seem insignificant to me.“, observes the YouTuber.
Observation “It was better before”
In addition to this documentation work, the documentary gives voice to various stakeholders. Régine Hatchondo, president of the Center national du livre, talks about the CNL study and the institution’s efforts to maintain or awaken a taste for reading among young people. Perrine Baschieri, Marketing Director of Glénat Editions, brings a publishing perspective, when Laetitia, alias IACB, author of fan fiction, “it makes it possible to focus on this type of texts that are not considered at all, and yet represent just as much reading».
Laetitia, also known as IACB, answers questions from Jeanne Seignol (YouTube screenshot)
Jeanne Seignol also wanted to question Karine Labous, director of the Sevran library network, “firstly because I spent a large part of my life in Sevran, but also because on the ground he sees the visitation of the library by young people“. Otherwise, “she explains in the documentary that for many families in this department, the book is secondary, because the priority remains to properly feed their children».
A received idea as much as a cookie-cutter observation, the observation “It used to be better” also represents an eternal return, from one era to another. “The documentary also shows that young people have not changed that much. For example, reading manga, in episodes, is reminiscent of a soap opera from another era. The INA archive from the 1970s, reproduced in the documentary, also shows a journalist questioning children about reading. Statements illustrated orTintinand they are asked if they read the headlines“more complicated”. Today,Tintinis one of the classics.»
Behind the quantitative measurement of reading, there is often a qualitative criticism of young people’s reading and the desire, sometimes, for greater control over it. A desire that is expressed in a reactionary way, from time to time, like the amendment proposed by the Frontist MP to ban the purchase of manga with Pass Culture credits…
The terrain of reading, however, is not devoid of ruts. Documentary collaborators Jeanne Seignol and the YouTuber herself note the tendency to fragment attention, “which is admittedly not characteristic of young people», which creates a certain twitch with reading. “Of course, focusing on reading a classic is still more complicated than watching a 30-second video on TikTok.“Jeanne Seignol admits.
The issue of promoting reading identified by the Center national du livre, echoed in Jeanne Seignol’s documentary, concerns the idea of linking books and pleasure. “School and family can create this more fun relationship with reading. In school, therefore, it seems important to me that all the reading material is not systematically evaluated and that the reading material of a classic is studied and explained. Finally, first of all answer the question: why is it important to read this book?»
The recent controversy surrounding the epidermal and sometimes verbally violent reactions of ambitious high school graduates after reading Sylvia Germain’s text would represent this easily deepening gap between students and their subject of study. “If there are such strong reactions, it is first necessary to examine their causes.Jeanne Seignol recalls while condemning the violence against the author. “Like many young people, I managed to move away from reading in college and high school and didn’t necessarily find myself in texts that seemed far from my reality, from my teenage everyday life.»
Encourage an encounter with a specific text — that was itLife ahead of usRomain Gary to Jeanne Seignol — getting to know each other so that students can tame the text should be as important, if not more important, than assessing written comprehension.
Co-financed by the National Center for Cinematography, the documentary visible on the Jeannot se livre channel is also intended to be broadcast in other structures, on other occasions, its creator hopes, accompanied by friends in its realization.
Jeanne Seignol is planning a similar format, soon, dedicated to the impact of the social network TikTok on reading and promoting books. “In particular, I wonder about the impact of such short videos on sharing the reading experience.Speakers from the Hachette Group will also provide insight into how the industry is using this new tool to promote image writing.
Photo: Jeanne Seignol, creator of the YouTube channel Jeannot se livre
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