Lesestart – Three milestones for reading (Germany)

„Lesestart“, the nationwide literacy program for children funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and carried out by Stiftung Lesen, supports children and their parents in the crucial pre-school years as well as at their school enrolment. Every step includes a “Lesestart” pack of a book suitable for the relevant age-group as well as information for parents in four languages: German, Polish, Russian and Turkish. The associated website www.lesestart.de offers this information also in many other relevant languages.

Families received the first “Lesestart” pack for infants at the doctor’s on the occasion of the regular check-up visit for one-year-olds. During the second stage from November 2013 until October 2016, parents with their three-year-olds were able to get their personal pack from their local library for free. With the beginning of the third milestone after school entry in 2016, the “Lesestart” packs for first graders are distributed to every primary school in Germany where the teachers hand them on to the children. And the program continues: 2017 and 2018 there will be “Lesestart” packs for every school starter.

The Federal Minister of Education and Research, Anja Karliczek, explains:

The first years of a child`s life are fascinating. Suddenly, he or she begins to walk, speaks its first words and sentences, finds friends at kindergarten or in the neighborhood and eagerly awaits the first day of school. Children will hardly learn as much as they do at this stage of life later on. In the process, the driving force is always childlike curiosity: Children ask questions, always eager to learn something new and discover their own abilities. As parents, you play an important role in promoting your child in his or her versatile development process. This includes in particular sparking joy in reading early on.

For reading will open up horizons – at all stages of life, from childhood through adolescence into adulthood. By reading, children will also learn to focus, comprehend larger contexts and, incidentally, expand their vocabulary. They cherish the time spent reading together as moments of comfort, peace and affection. Thereby, you quite playfully lay the foundation for their course of education.

With “Lesestart – Three Reading Milestones”, we would like to provide you with inspiration. The program is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and implemented by Stiftung Lesen (German Reading Foundation). I wish you and your children lots of (reading) joy and success.

The findings of the first stage’s evaluation show that “Lesestart” is an effective tool in the advancement of early childhood education: Virtually all parents who received “Lesestart” packs deal with the materials. 62 percent of the parents seize the information given in the “Lesestart” packs and read to their children more frequently. One fourth of the parents notice a positive change in their attitude towards reading. On behalf of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the program is evaluated by an independent group of experts from the Berlin InterVal GmbH, in cooperation with the Institute for German Language and Literature II, Cologne University and AG Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrische Epidemiologie und Evaluation, (Child and Youth Psychiatric Epidemiology and Evaluation) University Clinic Hamburg-Eppendorf.

Information on the nationwide literacy program are available on www.lesestart.de and on www.facebook.com/Lesestart.

press contact:
Stiftung Lesen
Daniel Schnock, PR-Manager
Römerwall 40, 55131 Mainz
Tel: (0049) 6131 288 90-68
E-Mail: daniel.schnock@stiftunglesen.de