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German Reading Study 2011


The importance of reading for the development of children

The German reading foundation Stiftung Lesen* has released a representative study on the effects of reading to children (November 2011). The core question of this study is: Which influence does reading to children have on their development? Five hundred 10 to 19-year-olds have been surveyed.

The major findings are as follows:

Reading to children

  • encourages them to become readers and love reading – not only books but also electronic media.
  • builds several skills that lead to more success at school in a variety of subjects including languages, math, music and sport.
  • is especially useful for boys in that it makes even them - who generally read less than girls - enjoy reading.
  • helps moderate the big drop in reading that usually occurs during adolescence, in particular among the 14 to 19-year-olds.
  • has a long-lasting positive effect which is still to be seen in young adults.
  • is especially useful when parents do it regularly. The more often children are read out to, the more they benefit from that. But even if parents practice reading out only once a week, it still has a positive impact on their children’s reading attitudes. This is especially true for boys.
  • stimulates their development in many respects. They also love meeting with friends, doing sport and playing an instrument to a greater extent than those teenagers who were not read to in their childhood.

The study clearly demonstrates that reading to children has many immediate as well as medium-term benefits. Parents who instill in their kids a love for reading make a major contribution to an integral education of their children. They help build cognitive, emotional and social skills, and thereby encourage their offspring to become open-minded and active members of society, in short: a success in life. Unfortunately, in Germany the reading situation in families is not at all satisfactory.

PDF: Reading Study 2011 (389 KB)

* in co-operation with Deutsche Bahn and DIE ZEIT



German Reading Study ..