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Working to improve learning methods to reduce reading difficulties and poor performance at school

School failure is not inevitable. In an experimental way based on research results made by the ministry of National Education, Agir pour l’école is working to improve learning methods to reduce reading difficulties and poor performance at school.


Every year, 300,000 students enter secondary school with major learning difficulties, representing 40% of their age group. One-third of them cannot read at all. Reading difficulties are the main reason for poor academic performance.

Agir pour l’École, an association founded by Claude Bébéar in 2011, focuses its activities on helping children learn to read.
Based on work carried out in France (Michel Zorman’s PARLER program) and the United States (the National Reading Panel), Agir pour l’École has developed a method for learning to read that is used in small groups beginning in kindergarten. It is based on:

understanding phonetics (the sounds that make up words) 
mastering the alphabet,
oral comprehension,
reading fluency.


Many associations aimed at improving young people’s academic performance work outside school hours. Agir pour l’École chose to act inside school during class time.

A large-scale experiment was conducted between 2011 and 2015 with the approval of the Ministry of Education and support from various partners, including the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation.

More than 6,000 children in 350 classes from several schools, from kindergarten to second grade, were involved in of the experiment, along with their teachers, who were trained, equipped and assisted by Agir pour l’École.


The results of the experiment are being evaluated by the Ministry of Education, the IREDU institute for education research and Université de Lyon II. Depending on the class, between 30% and 50% of the students improved significantly, especially those with the weakest performance.

The experiment is not over. Its goal is to develop and validate methods to ensure the success of all children and to disseminate these methods as widely as possible in partnership with the national education system, especially through teacher training.

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