Reading promotion

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In pedagogy, reading promotion is understood to mean all measures aimed at imparting not only reading skills to a target group, which consists primarily of children and young people , but also motivation , interest and long-term enjoyment of reading and literature .


An important goal of promoting reading is to encourage people to “read a lot”. In this respect, promoting reading is also promoting the gifted . If this is achieved, the addressees of reading promotion enjoy a number of advantages. In general, their reading skills are greater than that of "compulsory readers" (who only read what the school and other authorities expect of them):

  • Frequent readers have a better command of the cultural technique of reading; they read faster and grasp the essentials better and faster.
  • A lot of readers learn more and more in-depth information about the world, especially when compared to people who almost exclusively use entertainment media such as television or computer games .
  • Frequent readers (even as native speakers) expand their vocabulary in the target language faster; the vocabulary they have as adults is greater.
  • Frequent readers can also gain more competence through increased interaction .

Promoting reading is particularly important to promote language acquisition and regional knowledge for migrants . Multilingual picture books can make a contribution to this. They only get to know the written language of the country of immigration sufficiently by reading .


Reading to the family (painting by Albert Anker )

The most effective reading promotion takes place at home, even in toddler and preschool age. The example of the parents can promote reading development and literacy . The daily reading from infancy in a comfortable environment promoted the interest in books and reading. A picture book is suitable for attracting a child's attention.

Further reading promotion can u. a. in pre-school education (e.g. in kindergarten ), ie. in early learning , in school (especially in the school library ), in other libraries , in school or extracurricular reading competitions and through special television, computer and online programs. Such programs specifically instruct the children and young people to read and then to answer questions on the computer. Examples of how e-learning- assisted reading of books can be promoted are the Antolin and Lepion programs .

The idea of ​​promoting reading, which goes beyond reading skills at a simple level and focuses on the aspect of “reading pleasure” (instead of simply fulfilling learning objectives in the area of ​​reading), has found its way into many school guidelines and core curricula .

In the "systemic model" of reading promotion to home and school also open other institutions: So feel school libraries, school resource centers , public libraries, bookstores , publishing houses , the Reading Foundation , the Swiss Institute for Child and Youth Media SIKJM , the Austrian Youth Book Club , the Friedrich-Bödecker-Kreis , literary houses a . a. committed to promoting reading. You organize z. B. Reading events, competitions for readers or other special offers.


Scientific studies (e.g. developmental psychology and learning psychology ) show that reading motivation and literacy can be effectively promoted in elementary school .

In Germany, half of 5- to 6-year-old children use a computer. Even so, books play an essential role in the lives of boys and girls. These are the results of the third youth media study by the Ravensburger Verlag Foundation.

Over 80 percent of all children watch TV regularly, and just as many have books read to them or look at picture books themselves . When asked about their favorite medium, the focus is clearly on television (boys 42.5%, girls 47.4%), audio media such as fairy tale cassettes (boys 20%, girls 31.6%) and books (boys 22.5%) %, Girls 13.6%).

Nevertheless, in the biography of many children there is a break in the interest in reading. Especially between the ages of 8 and 10 and between the ages of 11 and 13, many people feel less eager to read and the time they spend reading decreases; this is especially true for boys. The proportion of young people who stated in the PISA study that they do not read for pleasure is particularly high in Germany at 42 percent. In the group of boys, the proportion is almost 55 percent. Critics claim that schools are not entirely innocent of this development because of the way they deal with texts in class. In the phase in which the socialization of young people through family and school is expanded to include their age group, the school should also look for points of contact with leisure culture with regard to media skills.

Richard Bamberger recommended introducing reading in a row in class and reading a book every week instead of a book that is often divided into small sections over several weeks.

Various studies found that differences between social groups carried over to their children's reading skills. To dismantle them, Sesame Street was created in the 1960s as part of Lyndon B. Johnson's efforts to reach the Great Society . Evaluations showed that the differences increased contrary to expectations. The reason was initially that Sesame Street was aimed at advanced elementary school students, while preschoolers were most receptive to support. When, in a study, a computer program tailored to the latter target group was made available in a library, the differences again increased instead of decreased, which was attributed to a lack of commitment from poor parents.

In order to take the development towards multimodality into account, systematic instructions by teachers are considered necessary. When using tablet computers in kindergarten, the sense of touch should be considered, ie. the role of the hands as an element of feedback to the brain in the development of reading behavior.

Situation in selected countries


The public libraries in Germany seek to awaken joy in reading , which is now regarded as a task for society as a whole and goes hand in hand with language promotion . Book reviews on television or in the newspapers give adult sponsors advice on which books to give to children and young people. The Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels organizes u. a. a reading competition every year .

The German ministries of education and culture have recognized that unsuccessful or unsuccessful reading promotion has serious consequences ; those who do not read voluntarily and do not enjoy reading are usually also characterized by a lack of discipline and lack of concentration , which often lead to the fact that students do not learn to read and write . This threatens school success ( secondary school leaving certificate as a minimum). Children from migrant families are also often affected by this form of educational failure. From a school perspective, reading promotion is therefore a central task of all subjects and of the entire school. The KMK project “ProLesen”, which was supported from 2008 to 2010 by all sixteen federal states, took up this approach . A clearly structured concept for school reading promotion with the aim of significantly reducing the so-called risk group of pupils with poor reading skills has been implemented since 2006 as part of the reading promotion project “Leaving nobody behind - Reading makes you strong”. The main building blocks of reading competence promotion are systematically used in the classroom: consideration of reading interest, systematic use of reading strategies , reading animation, increasing reading time through a reading week, metacognition, quiet reading and methods of continuous language education or German as a second language in regular classes and intercultural education and Education. In addition, reading promotion is not only stipulated as a concern of all teachers in the various subjects at a school in a practical reading promotion timetable, but the school management takes on special responsibility within the framework of project management. The scientific support was able to demonstrate a clear effectiveness of the concept "Reading makes you strong".

Successful reading promotion goes hand in hand with training in concentration and discipline, but at the same time requires this. Reading mentors promote through voluntary commitment to literacy .

Since 1977, the German Reading Society has been targeting young readers in particular. In 1988 the Reading Foundation took over the successor to the German Reading Society eV In the state of Lower Saxony, the Academy for Reading Promotion acts as a central point of contact for everyone involved in reading promotion there.

Private internet sites, including the Federal Association for Reading Promotion, also provide an overview of reading promotion .

Literature festivals make a contribution to promoting reading that should not be underestimated. One example of this is the international literature festival berlin and, above all, its children's and youth program . For each edition of the festival, the festival invites around 20 renowned international authors and illustrators of books for children and young people, who read for more than 10,000 children and young people.

The reading clubs within the framework of the youth jury of the German Youth Literature Prize also promote reading (through participation) . Since 2003, around 100 young people have been creating their own nomination list every year and award a prize.


A HSV-2 Swift officer reads from a book to children at the International School in Banjul

In 2009, the Gambia recorded a high rate of illiteracy among students caused by teaching whole words in English. So in 2011 the government launched a project to teach children in the national language. Individual letters were explained to the children from which words were formed. As early as 2012, the children taught in this way performed ten times better in tests than the comparison group. The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education presented the results of the project in surrounding countries.

Libraries try to support the work of the often overcrowded schools in promoting reading, but are dependent on donations. Individual cases, on the other hand, are readings by visitors, such as In 2011 by a unit of the United States Naval Forces Europe-Africa , which was nevertheless welcomed because it offered children a positive framework for relationships with guests in contrast to known attacks by tourists. Parents are rarely involved in promoting reading for their children due to a lack of their own education, but they support the construction of schools with extended families and village communities.


an employee of the administration of the US military station at Atsugi reads something in an elementary school

A report from a Japanese institute for language research found in 1972 that almost all Japanese children can read many letters hiragana by the age of 5 . This is attributed to the fact that parents read from picture books with this font. In addition, children play shiritori widely , which is considered useful for speech perception .

In 2001 a law was passed to promote reading. In 2004, the MEXT Ministry determined that such activities were being introduced primarily by elementary schools and less by higher schools. The ministry is also making efforts to involve libraries more closely. To this end, larger schools were obliged to hire librarians. In practice, however, these were used for subject teaching with no special reference to reading. Some schools accept volunteer lecturers in their libraries.

In 2008, the ministry determined that school libraries should not only encourage reading, but also promote digitization, for which there was often a lack of staff. Therefore a project was started to set up a support office for several libraries. In 2017, a study recommended that educators and teachers coordinate with parents on children's progress in reading.


Children in a school library in Alberta

In the 1980s, it was found that around one million Canadians were illiterate. A collaboration between authorities, organizations and volunteers on the subject of literacy was then organized. It seemed Joyce Fairbairn considerably with and later became the Order of Canada awarded. The funds allocated to the topic were cut by Jason Kenney in 2014 to a residual amount that is now only intended to finance basic reading skills required for the job market.

Further studies found that supportive home environments were conducive to reading. The native population of Canada uses libraries or books they have bought themselves. Books in their national language are often not available to immigrant groups of the population, so they switch to digital media. Reading programs like Canada Reads / Le combat des livres try to familiarize all groups including the First Nations , Inuit and Métis with libraries or to give books for early childhood education .

According to a survey among schoolchildren, the enthusiasm for a text aroused by reading aloud, for example, created more motivation to read than a reading recommendation. A separate option for selecting a text also had a beneficial effect. A study of Canadian adolescents whose interest in reading had decreased found the lack of daily reading practice as the cause.


a student reads from a book to children in Luang Prabang Province

In Laos , the Big Brother Mouse non-profit project promotes reading and is mainly financed by donations. It was founded by an American and is registered as a 501 (c) organization with paid directors. It self- publishes books in the Lao language , e.g. a collection of traditional stories of the country, or newly developed texts based on the work of Theodor Seuss Geisel , or the fairy tale The Little Mermaid , or a compilation of appealing photos from Wikimedia Commons with appropriate labeling. The books are distributed by volunteers in rural areas with low literacy levels , mostly as part of a festival for a village.


The efforts of schools in the Netherlands to promote reading are complemented by organizations such as Stichting Lezen & Schrijven . According to an IGLU study , 93% of students have the option of receiving support from specially trained teachers such as speech therapists if they have reading difficulties . The state stipulates one and a half hours of language training per week for children with a migration background. For this group, a study found that the level of native vocabulary was a good predictor of reading proficiency in the foreign language.


With the Zeit Punkt Reading initiative, the state of Lower Austria tries to emphasize the central importance of reading for personal development, the development of creative potential and comprehension. A large number of campaigns in schools and kindergartens, but also, for example, by providing children's and youth literature in hospitals, should make a positive contribution to the regional reading culture. The campaigns include reading festivals, a reading mobile, reading theater and the choice of Lower Austrians' favorite book.

In addition, more and more new, interactive paths are being explored in order to place the topic of reading outside of traditional educational institutions. Among other things, a video film competition (“Dreh-Buch”) is organized, in the course of which young people can present their favorite reading on film.

United States

In the United States, children learn to read at the age of 5 in kindergarten , which is an elementary school facility in the United States. The majority of children have already attended, i. H. at the age of 3 or 4, a preschool program (Child Day Care, Preschool, Head Start ) , whose curriculum usually includes reading propaedeutics. When they start kindergarten at five, these children know the alphabet , can write their first names, can read a small number of words, and are used to dealing with books on a daily basis.

Commercial electronic learning materials such as B. the Hooked on Phonics system are very popular in US families with preschoolers. Independent or industry-sponsored online programs that teach preschool children how to read (early reading programs) or support children of reading age with reading books (reading motivation programs) are also widespread . The non-commercial television station PBS produces and broadcasts programs for preschoolers such as Reading Rainbow (1983-2006) and Between the Lions (since 2000), which focus on books and reading. Many bookstores and most public libraries hold story hours (hours of reading) in which toddlers and preschool children from picture books will be read.

A John Hickenlooper employee reading to children at a school in Aurora, Colorado

In schools, visiting the school library is an integral part of the timetable from kindergarten level .

Special attention is paid in the US, the target group of Reluctant Readers (German: "reluctant reader"), who have already developed an aversion to reading children and adolescents.

One of the organizations that are committed to promoting reading is the National Children's Reading Foundation, whose slogan is Read to your child. It's the most important 20 minutes of your day (German: "Read to your child. It is the most important 20 minutes of your day"). According to a study by the US Department of Labor, parents of children under 6 read an average of 3.6 minutes per day in the period 2003/2006 (mothers: 4.8 minutes, fathers: 1.8 minutes). According to a study from 1997, children aged 3–5 spent an average of 86 minutes per week reading, 6–8 year olds 69 minutes and 9–12 year olds 75 minutes (each without homework).


  • Hans Bödecker, Insa Bödecker, Herbert Somplatzki (eds.): Author encounters: 50 years of reading promotion by the Friedrich Bödecker Circle . Königshausen & Neumann Verlag, Würzburg 2004, ISBN 3-8260-2914-3 .
  • Ina Brendel-Perpina, Felix Stumpf: Reading promotion through participation: The youth jury for the German Youth Literature Prize. Kopaed, Munich 2013, ISBN 978-3-86736-336-5 .
  • Manuela Freitag, Nicole Hendriks: Second language acquisition and migration - child-friendly and motivating support. In: Katrin Zimmermann-Kogel, Norbert Kühne : practical book social pedagogy. Volume 4, Bildungsverlag EINS , Troisdorf 2007, ISBN 978-3-427-75412-1 , pp. 126-161.
  • Helmut Hiller, Stephan Füssel: Dictionary of the book . Vittorio Klostermann, Frankfurt am Main 2006, ISBN 3-465-03495-3 .
  • AI Kollenrott, C. Kölbl, E. Billmann-Mahecha, J. Tiedemann: Kolibri - Reading Promotion in Primary School . Waxmann-Verlag, Münster, 2007, ISBN 978-3-8309-1756-4 .
  • Norbert Kühne : Language and reading promotion. In: Katrin Zimmermann-Kogel: Practical book social pedagogy. Volume 2, Bildungsverlag EINS , Troisdorf 2006, ISBN 3-427-75410-3 , pp. 68-93.
  • Annette Neubauer: Reading training program. Improve reading skills in older students. AOL Publishing House, 2006.
  • Annette Neubauer: The little foal star . Logli reading promotion, Loewe-Verlag, 2005, ISBN 3-7855-5596-2 .
  • Annette Neubauer: Reading promotion games . Issue 1–3, Lentz Verlag, 2005, ISBN 3-88010-652-5 .
  • Christine Neumann: Book fun in daycare . Don Bosco, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-7698-1514-9 .
  • Cornelia Rosebrock, Daniel Nix: Basics of reading didactics and systematic school reading promotion. 4th, verb. Edition. Schneider, Baltmannsweiler 2014, ISBN 978-3-8340-0314-0 .
  • Michael Sahr: Reading promotion through children's literature . Schneider-Verlag, Hohengehren 2003, ISBN 3-89676-181-1 .
  • Wolfgang Bittner : Reading culture against violence. Children's and youth literature as prophylaxis. In: Wolfgang Bittner: Writing, Reading, Traveling. Oberhausen 2006, ISBN 3-89896-253-9 , pp. 20-32.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Juliane Dube: Multilingual picture books as contexts for language integrative reading promotion, in: Bernd Ralle, Jörg Thiele (ed.): Initiating meaningful teaching and learning processes, 2019, p. 153
  2. Christiane Miosga: On the influence of digital media on reading and literacy development, in: Ulrich Stitzinger, Stephan Sallat, Ulrike Lüdtke (eds.): Language and Inclusion als Chance, 2016, p. 227
  3. Kolobri reading promotion: Kollenrott u. a., 2007 ( Memento from November 22, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  4. Petra Schramml: PISA has revealed reading weaknesses. On the level of reading skills of German children and adolescents. 2005.
  5. Bettina Hurrelmann: Socialization of Reading Competence, in: Ulrich Schiefele, Cordula Artelt, Wolfgang Schneider, Petra Stanat (Ed.): Structure, Development and Promotion of Reading Competence, 2004, p. 60
  6. Susan B. Neuman: The Knowledge Gap, in: David K. Dickinson, Susan B. Neuman (eds.): Handbook of Early Literacy Research, Volume 2, 2006, p. 33
  7. Amy Hutchison, Beth Beschorner: Mobile Devices and Multimodal Textual Practices, in: Grace Oakley (ed.): Mobile Technologies in Children's Language and Literacy: Innovative Pedagogy in Preschool and Primary Education, 2019, p. 95
  8. ^ Anne Mangen, Adriaan van der Weel: The evolution of reading in the age of digitization, in: Literacy, Vol. 50, No. 3, Sept. 2016, p. 120
  9. Nathalie Hild, Differentiated Language Promotion through Public Libraries, 2016, p. 12
  10. KMK project information "ProLesen"
  11. Evaluation results of Professor Köller, IQB and Dr. Gesa Ramm, IQSH
  12. Reading - On the past and present of a cultural technique
  13. "Reading promotion, reading night, reading box, reading images"
  14. Brendel-Perpina / Stumpf 2013
  15. Gambia Reads!
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  17. HSV Swift Sailors Read to Gambian Children
  18. How can The Gambia stop tourists exploiting children?
  19. Binta Colley: Community and Family Involvement in Gambia, West Africa, in: Diana Hiatt-Michael (ed.): Promising Practices for Family Involvement in Schooling Across the Continents, Volume 4, 2005, p. 37
  20. Takahiko Sakamoto: Preschool Reading in Japan, in: The Reading Teacher Vol. 29, No. 3 (Dec., 1975), pp. 240-244
  21. CK Leong et al .: Phonological Analysis Abilities of Chinese and Japanese Children Learning to Read, in: R. Malatesha Joshi, Che Kan Leong, Bożydar LJ Kaczmarek (eds.): Literacy Acquisition - The Role of Phonology, Morphology and Orthography, 2003, p. 44
  22. ^ The Promotion of Reading Activities for Children in Japan
  23. Yuriko Nakamura: Overview of youth-serving libraries in Japan, in: Lesley SJ Farmer, NI Gendina, Yuriko Nakamura (ed.): Youth-serving Libraries in Japan, Russia, and the United States, 2012, p. 14
  24. Tomohiro Inoue, George K. Georgiou, Naoko Muroya, Hisao Maekawa, Rauno Parrila: Can earlier literacy skills have a negative impact on future home literacy activities? Evidence from Japanese, in: Journal of Research in Reading, Volume 41, Issue 1, February 2018, pp. 159–175
  25. Maren Elfert, Judith Walker: Why Mainstreaming Literacy Failed in Canada, in: Michael Schemmann (ed.): International Yearbook of Adult Education, 2018, p. 38ff
  26. Sharon Murphy: Towards sustaining and encouraging reading in canadian society (2013)
  27. Barbara Ronson, Irving Rootman: Literacy and Health Literacy, in: Dennis Raphael (ed.): Social Determinants of Health - Canadian Perspectives, 2009, p. 177
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  32. Jan Düker, Annette Monreal: Travel Guide Laos, 2014, p. 254
  33. Petra Hanke: Elementary School in Development, 2006, p. 52
  34. Federal Ministry of Education and Research (ed.): PISA school success of young people with a migration background in an international comparison, 2006, p. 150
  35. Catherine McBride: Children's Literacy Development, 2016, p. 182
  36. Time spent caring for household children under 18
  37. How American Children Spend Their Time ( Memento of May 10, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF).