23 June 2017

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Research by Stiftung Lesen

Study on Reading Aloud 2012

Study on Reading Aloud 2012

Reading aloud using picture book and children’s book apps

The German reading foundation Stiftung Lesen* released a representative study on the impact of digital media on families’ habits of reading aloud (November 2012). 500 parents with at least one child aged 2 to 8 were interviewed. Based on the initial study from 2007, the annual studies conducted by Stiftung Lesen* assess the situation for reading aloud in Germany. So far, all these studies confirmed that the situation is deficient.

This year’s study shows some surprising results with regard to the acceptance and use of digital reading media, such as smartphones, tablets and e-readers.

The key findings are as follows:

> According to almost 90 percent of all parents, who participated in the survey, picture book and children’s book apps are a great supplement. They do not replace but rather complement conventional children’s books.
> Digital reading devices fascinate children and inspire them to read. Parents see a high potential for motivating their children to read by using apps.
> Picture book and children’s book apps help to reach out to families with an underprivileged educational background and provide them with new material for reading aloud.  Fathers who, in general, read aloud less often than mothers, enjoy reading aloud with an electronic device much more than with a book. Digital media may help to reduce the fathers’ deficit in reading aloud to their children.
> Today’s generation of parents integrate the new technology into day-to-day (reading) routines with their children.
> Picture book and children’s book apps enable parents to read to their children in situations and locations that used to be less suitable for reading aloud (e.g. on the train, in waiting rooms).

The study clearly shows that digital media are a valuable tool in that they offer new opportunities and approaches for promoting reading. The advantages of picture and children’s book apps are very convincing and the majority of people who have used them once will use them again. Nevertheless, about half of the participants in the survey, who have not yet used apps for reading to their children, are still reluctant to do so. One of the key reasons for their reluctance is a lack of experience with electronic reading products. Parents require orientation and advice to be able to assess the quality of apps and the best way to use them. Stiftung Lesen therefore intends to expand its programmes and develop its projects accordingly. Reading with digital media will be integrated further into programmes aimed at promoting reading.

* in co-operation with Deutsche Bahn and DIE ZEIT