At a time when children are drooling, looking towards the blue sky of June, promise of long summer holidays, the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, in Paris, will be transformed this Sunday into a classroom as far as the eye can see. The Champs-Élysées Committee organizes a giant dictation, with the firm intention of breaking the world record of participants.
1,700 desks, thousands of copies. Do not organize a giant dictation who wants. This requires a great sense of organization. First, by closing the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, which vibrates every day with the passage of some 64,000 vehicles. It will be until 23 p.m. this Sunday evening.
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If the artery itself measures nearly 2 km, from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Concorde, a portion of 6,600 m2 has been reserved for dictation. From Avenue Georges V to Rue Arsène Houssaye, it is there that from 4 a.m., 1,700 school desks - a little higher than the CP model - and 1,700 chairs were arranged in strict lines. A giant screen of 102 m2, representing the blackboard, has also been installed, on which we can follow the correction of the dictation. Thousands of four-colour pens and copies were brought in for distribution to participants.
Three compositions, read by three personalities. The goal was to have everything ready at noon sharp, to give participants time to settle down before the start of the first "composition" on the table, scheduled for 13 p.m. Journalist Augustin Trapenard, presenter of the Grande Librairie on France 5, will launch the tests at 13:30 p.m. with a classically crafted elementary-level text. This will be followed at 16 p.m. by novelist Katherine Pancol, with a more contemporary text, and at 18 p.m. by writing on sport, which will be read by Pierre Rabadan, Deputy Mayor for Sports. Everyone will read the text a first time, to get to know each other, for a second time slowly for the dictation itself, before making a complete iron, for proofreading.
Each dictation will last between 20 and 25 minutes. The author Rachid Santaki - who was at the origin of the dictation holder of the world record, with 1,473 participants at the Stade de France - will proceed to the collective correction. If you get less than four mistakes, you can have your copy stamped by a teacher.
How to participate? Alas! Registration is no longer possible as the success has been at the rendezvous. More than 40,000 people registered for the draw, which selected 5,100 lucky ones aged 10 and older, all of whom were notified via email.
For the many disappointed who could not register, other giant dictations are organized by Rachid Santaki, from Tuesday in Bernay (Eure), Mureaux (Yvelines) on Wednesday, June 14, Blanc-Mesnil (Seine-Saint-Denis) three days later. Registrations are made on this site. Without the need to travel, Le Parisien regularly imagines spelling, grammar and vocabulary quizzes, to be found here, there or there.