Conditions for the Development of Reading Literacy at School

This study analyzes the relationship between teacher competence, instructional quality, and student learning gains with the aim of identifying the conditions under which reading and language proficiency can best be nurtured in elementary school. The study’s findings will inform initial and in-service teacher training, curricular content and development, the design of instructional material, and the structural conditions of schooling, thus helping to improve the quality of schooling and instruction
Background to the Project
Once students have completed the process of learning to read, they are expected to apply reading as a learning tool in increasingly complex tasks. For example, they are expected to solve word problems in mathematics, to understand and communicate the content of texts in science and history, and to discuss what they have read in German.
This process makes high demands of teachers. Apart from using reading as a vehicle for learning in the classroom, teachers must be able to monitor and assess each student’s reading proficiency in order to provide effective interventions for weak readers wherever necessary.

Professional Dialog With Teachers: The Teacher Questionnaire

A questionnaire is currently being developed to survey teachers’ knowledge of how to teach, assess, and improve reading skills. The questionnaire currently covers the following domains:

  • Domain 1: Knowledge of reading processes, knowledge of technical terms and concepts
  • Domain 2: Knowledge of texts (text characteristics, text types/genres), knowledge of authors and books
  • Domain 3: Knowledge of key skills/prerequisites for processes of reading and comprehension
  • Domain 4: Ability to diagnose task demands and task difficulty
  • Domain 5: Knowledge of specific student groups
  • Domain 6: Knowledge of instructional processes, teaching situations, and remedial interventions


Further sections on the following topics are currently being developed:

  • Reading motivation
  • Bilingualism and German as a Second Language
  • Reading-related metacognition
  • Integration of texts and pictures during reading
  • Content knowledge



Jürgen Baumert
Axinja Hachfeld
Nele McElvany