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Max Planck Research Group "REaD" | Reading Education and Development

Reading is one of the most important, but also one of the most complex, inventions in human history. Especially in our modern, information-oriented society, it is vital to be able to read texts accurately and efficiently. This is most apparent in the lives of people who lack the necessary skills: Older people with functional illiteracy often find themselves socially isolated; adolescents who are unable to write a letter of application generally fail to find a job.

In contrast to learning to speak, children do not learn to read spontaneously but need instructional help and support. Even then, many children have problems with reading acquisition and remain unable to understand even simple texts by the end of their compulsory education. How can we help these children?

Reading is a complex cognitive skill that involves a number of interacting component processes located at different levels within a general hierarchy. Which of these processes are important for children’s reading development and how they interact is still unclear. Furthermore, it is likely that different groups of students have different types of deficits and thus need different kinds of support.

The Max Planck Research Group REaD (Reading Education and Development) investigated the underlying structure of students’ reading skills and their development during childhood and adolescence. To this end, the group assessed students’ component processes longitudinally and analyzed their interactions. This approach would allow the group to provide a more detailed description of the various subprocesses and to analyze their conditions and consequences. These insights, in turn, would enable the identification of the processes that should be targeted by efficient remedial programs in reading education.

The group started its work in July 2012 and concluded it in June 2018.

Overview of our research

An article about the group was published in MaxPlanckResearch 4.2013.

Article MaxPlanckResearch

A detailed view on the research is given in the Institute's Research Report 2014-2016.

You can download the chapter about REaD here: