Research Area III

Language Skills and Reading Literacy


Research Area III examines the development and effective promotion of students’ language sills and reading literacy. Reading is considered a core skill and a major prerequisite for academic and occupational success and lifelong learning. However, recent studies have identified considerable deficits in the reading ability and reading motivation of young people in Germany (Baumert et al., 2001; Bos et al., 2003).

A longitudinal research project, the Berlin Longitudinal Reading Study (LESEN 3-6), has thus been initiated to investigate the development of reading proficiency and of key individual and social factors influencing that development from grades 3 to 6. Moreover, our study of conditions for the development of reading literacy at school establishes a close link to Research Area IV.
The implementation and effectiveness of a newly developed program to promote reading literacy, the Berlin Parent–Child Reading Program, has been evaluated in a quasi-experimental intervention study.
Apart from reading from texts, the integration of illustrated texts (e.g., texts with diagrams, pictures) presents readers with a particular challenge for readers, both in school and in everyday life. In a cooperative research project with the University of Koblenz-Landau, we are therefore developing and testing proficiency models of text–picture integration on the student and teacher level.
One of our Research Center’s major focuses is on the determinants of learning gains in children from immigrant backgrounds and potential points of intervention for in-school and out-of-school support programs. A key project here is the Jacobs Summer Camp. In this experimental study, we tested whether a newly developed intervention program succeeded in improving the language skills of children from immigrant families over the summer vacation.

Further Readings

Artelt, C., McElvany, N., Christmann, N., Richter, T. Groeben, N., Köster, J., Schneider, W., Stanat, P., Ostermeier, C , Schiefele, U. Valtin, R. & Ring, K. (2005). Förderung von Lesekompetenz – Eine Expertise. Bonn, Berlin: Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF).

McElvany, N. (erscheint Herbst 2007). Förderung von Lesekompetenz im Kontext der Familie. Münster: Waxmann.

OECD (2006). Where immigrant students succeed – A comparative review of performance and engagement (2006). Paris: OECD.


Jürgen Baumert
Nele McElvany
Axinja Hachfeld
Michael Becker

Further Information

The Berlin Longitudinal Reading Study (LESEN 3-6)
Berlin Parent–Child Reading Program (BEKL)
Developing and Testing Proficiency Models of Text–Picture Integration
Promoting German language skills in children from immigrant and socially disadvantaged families (in German)