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There is a genuine problem in reading comprehension both in the EU and around theworld. A large section of the population (20% according to the French researcher AlainBentolila) is today “illiterate” to the extent they can decipher words and short sentencesbut are unable to understand the meaning of a short simple text on daily issues. And forlonger, more complex texts, with implicit meanings and the use of symbols, the numberof people with reading problems increases considerably.Reading is not an innate skill; it is the result of guided learning. In our countries, thisguidance is quite satisfactory in terms of learning the code Ä most children learn todecipher texts before they are eight. However, it is much less satisfactory when it comesto understanding texts, as has been shown by the Pisa report. This can be put downespecially to the fact that reading is not taught as an exercise in comprehension, andthis is where teaching practices fall down. “Getting children to read” is often confusedwith “learning to read”.The aim of our project is an initial and continuous training module to help teachersimprove their knowledge of what reading actually involves, to better identify the realobstacles to understanding in reading and to develop teaching practices adapted toovercome these hurdles. The European partnership that we have set up will allow us totry out these practices with different profiles of learners (depending on age, socioeconomicbackground, certain specific needs) and in different learning contexts(learning French as mother tongue or foreign language, in the countries of origin or in aforeign country, working in the other languages of the countries taking part in theproject).To achieve these aims, we will perform the following activities: researching and poolingthe approaches used most successfully in the various participant countries for learningto read/write; organising training for the teachers involved in the project (training inobstacles to reading, work on albums, initiation into mental management); developingeducational strategies to “search for meaning” in reading activities, in the broadestsense of the term (reading any message, spoken or written, or delivered via other mediasuch as image, music, non-verbal communication); implementing learning sequencesthat will be filmed or presented in multimedia formats; creating an initial and acontinuous training module to be used by teachers who will gather together the resultsof our work and make them available to the public in a multimedia form (website andDVD); experimenting with and assessing the training module; organising disseminationactivities to guarantee long-term use of the results of the project.

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