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Study on Reading Aloud 2013

Representative study – One third of parents do not read to their children enough

In 30 percent of the families with children between the ages of 2 and 8, the parents do not read to them enough. This was the finding of the representative study Neuvermessung der Vorleselandschaft (roughly translates to Review of the Situation Regarding Parents Reading to their Children) with regard to the behavior of Germans when it comes to reading to children. The study was conducted by the weekly paper DIE ZEIT, Stiftung Lesen and Deutsche Bahn, which was introduced in Berlin on 28 October 2013. The findings were presented by Dr. Rüdiger Grube, (chairman of Deutsche Bahn and chairman of the advisory board of the Deutsche Bahn Stiftung GmbH), Dr. Rainer Esser (CEO of DIE ZEIT), Dr. Jörg F. Maas (CEO of Stiftung Lesen) and Dr. Simone C. Ehmig (head of the Institute for Reading and Media Research of Stiftung Lesen). The 2013 study examines family behavior with regard to reading to children and compares the results with those obtained in the first study of its kind in 2007. The presentation of the study coincides with the start of the 10th nationwide Reading Day on the 15 November 2013.

In 30 percent of families with children between the ages of 2 and 8, the parents read to their children rarely or not at all. This applies in particular to uneducated households. Furthermore, fathers read to their children considerably less than mothers do: whereas 29 percent of mothers read to their children every day, only 9 percent of fathers do so. “Parents still need to be encouraged to read to their children,” stresses Dr. Simone C. Ehmig. “The comparison of this year’s findings with those from 2007 shows that our measures to promote reading to the children are taking effect. There has been very positive development.”

6 percent more parents in families with children of pre-school age read to their children than was the case in 2007. Uneducated families, in particular, have responded to the efforts to promote reading. There has been an above-average increase in the number of parents who read to their children. Altogether, more fathers read to their children than was the case 6 years ago.

The 2013 study also indicates that even though 83 percent of parents hope that their children will receive a good education, only one quarter of them considers reading competence to be an important educational goal and only half the parents consider the love of reading to be an important educational goal. “Many parents are not aware of the correlation between reading to the children, the reading competence of the children and education,” emphasises Dr. Rüdiger Grube. “Parents must be made acutely aware of the fact that the joy of reading and the motivation to read are the central requirements for the ability to read well and are therefore also the key to a good education.”

Digital media can also be used to inspire children to read, as was already shown in the reading study of 2012. In the previous year, the number of uneducated households with children between the ages of 2 and 8 that possess a tablet PC has risen sharply. “This is a great opportunity to reach especially these target families with suitable offers such as reading apps in order to promote reading to the children,” explains Dr. Rainer Esser.

The representatives of DIE ZEIT, Stiftung Lesen and Deutsche Bahn are unanimous – strong public signals need to be sent out with regard to reading to children. For this reason, they are making a public appeal throughout the German Federal Republic, for a high level of participation in this year’s nationwide Reading Day, which will take place for the 10th time on 15 November. 90 percent of the parents questioned in the reading study welcome the reading day and the effort made to promote reading. Dr. Jörg F. Maas: “The nationwide reading day reaches people in every corner of the country, thereby taking effect on all the target groups. Everybody can participate, thereby promoting reading and helping to raise enthusiasm for reading to the children. This year, over 50,000 readers have already registered, which is a new record for participation. Such widely effective promotions open up the doors to new ideas when it comes to reading to the children.”

DIE ZEIT, Stiftung Lesen and Deutsche Bahn were awarded the prize for Ideen für die Bildungsrepublik (roughly translates to Ideas for the Educational Republic) for their nationwide reading day. Ariane Derks, CEO of the initiative Deutschland – Land der Ideen (Germany – Country of ideas) and Dr. Mark Speich, CEO of the Vodafone Foundation, Germany, handed over the prize in Berlin today. Ariane Derks gave reasons for their decision to bestow this honour: “Reading is an elementary requirement for a successful education. The nationwide reading day has been Germany’s largest reading day for ten years, and promotes a lively culture of reading. Our thanks go to the many voluntary readers who have managed to awake the joy of reading and promote reading competence in children and youths.”

Download the findings of the 2013 study (PDF).




Study on Reading Alou..