Does Reading to Children Enhance their Educational Success?
- 1.7k Downloads
Drawing on two unique German datasets, we explore the possible short- and long-term effects that reading aloud in early childhood has on children’s language abilities, their reading behavior, and their school marks in kindergarten and at the end of both primary and secondary school. By applying propensity score matching, we found a positive effect of reading on the language abilities of preschool children and of students at the end of primary school. Additionally, a high frequency of reading to children in early childhood positively affects their own reading behavior. However, differences in reading in early childhood appear to be unrelated to school marks in the subject of German language at the end of primary school. Furthermore, we found no long-term effects of reading among secondary school leavers. Overall, our results confirm positive immediate and mid-term effects, but hardly any long-term effects, of reading to children during their early childhood.
KeywordsReading aloud Language abilities Reading behavior School marks Propensity score matching
First and foremost, we would like to thank the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) for funding our research and the collection of the data used in this study. We would also like to express our heartfelt thanks to Michael Gebel, Clemens Kroneberg and Harald Beier for their helpful comments and advice on an earlier draft of the paper. Furthermore, we would like to acknowledge the useful comments that we received when presenting the paper at the “Research on Family Demography and Children’s Lives: Future Directions and Infrastructures” conference in Stockholm. Finally we would like to thank the anonymous reviewers.
- Kaufman, A. S., & Kaufman, N. L. (1994). Kaufman assessment battery for children K-ABC. Frankfurt: Swets Test Service.Google Scholar
- Kloosterman, R., Notten, N., Tolsma, J., & Kraaykamp, G. (2011). The effects of parental reading socialization and early school involvement on children’s academic performance: a panel study of primary school pupils in the Netherlands. [Article]. European Sociological Review, 27(3), 291–306. doi: 10.1093/esr/jcq007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Lehmann, R. H., & Peek, R. (1997). Aspekte der Lernausgangslage von Schülerinnen und Schülern der fünften Klassen an Hamburger Schulen. Bericht über die Untersuchung im September 1996. Hamburg.Google Scholar
- Lehmann, R. H., Peek, R., Gänsfuß, R., & Husfeldt, V. (2002). Aspekte der Lernausgangslage und der Lernentwicklung – Klassenstufe 9. Hamburg: Ergebnisse einer Längsschnittsuntersuchung in Hamburg.Google Scholar
- Leyendecker, B., Jäkel, J., Kademoglu, S. O., & Yagmurlu, B. (2010). Parenting practices and pre-schoolers’ cognitive skills in Turkish immigrant and German families. Early Child Development and Care, iFirst Article, 1–16.Google Scholar
- Melchers, P., & Preuß, U. (2001). Kaufman assessment battery for children: K-ABC, deutschsprachige Fassung. Leiden: PITS.Google Scholar
- Mol, S. E., & Bus, A. G. (2011). To Read or Not to Read: A Meta-Analysis of Print Exposure From Infancy to Early Adulthood. Psychological Bulletin, Advance online publication, 1–30.Google Scholar
- Whitehurst, G. J., & Lonigan, C. J. (1998). Child development and emergent literacy. Child Development, 69(3), 848–872.Google Scholar