Imagine that everywhere – whether at school, or at work – everyone at the same moment stops what they are doing, closes their computer or their laptop and takes a break; a break that is both as an individual and as a group. To observe a minute of silence? To commemorate a tragedy? To pray? To take part in a transcendental group meditation? No.

Quite simply, it’s to take out of your pocket or your bag a book and take part in a group’s‘quiet time’, during which each person immerses her or himself in a personal experience: reading.

The idea was born in Turkey, in a school in Ankara. Since 2001 at the same time, in the same place, students, professors, employees and clerical staff take a break for 15 minutes and read a book of their choice. Discussions, recommendations follow as do open conversations in which status is disregarded, where each prson freely expresses her or his tastes and thoughts.

In a school context the beneficial effects of this reading time on students and adults alike are evident: the development of curiosity, development of a critical mind, improvement of written and oral expression, development of student/teacher relations, and also physical well-being -lowering of tension, increase of self-control etc. But beyond these pedagogical and health benefits, such a practice provides a fresh, enriching energy, freeing us to talk about a subject which we hardly dare do very often any more without raising a smile: culture.

It’s on reflecting on the benefits of this experience that the project Silence, on lit ! ‘Quiet please: we’re reading’ , was born, which seeks, beyond the promotion of books and of reading in general, to rekindle the deep and enriching act of reading, by making it re-surface, there where you would least expect it – in a group.

Convinced that reading is a necessary and beneficial activity, and that to learn to live together better, we need more than ever quietness , a place of rest and sharing – which reading allows us to do – members of the project ‘Quiet please: we’re reading’ hope to promote the daily practice of reading, first at school which is the place and the time to acquire good habits, but also in other places, notably professional locations, where this practice can improve our quality of life.

Download the PDF