Buddhism preaches gender differences

The Development of Reading and Writing Skills in Elementary School Children - Gender Differences

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2. Problematization of gender-specific differences in the acquisition of written language

3. Develop reading and writing skills
3.0 Orality and written form
3.1 Developing literacy in the family
3.1.1 Family conditions and influencing factors
3.1.2 Gender differences
3.1.3 Theoretical approaches to explaining the gender-specific differences
3.2 Developing literacy skills in school
3.2.1 Level models of written language acquisition as framework models
3.2.2 Development of basic reading skills Logographic reading Alphabetical reading Orthographic reading Acquiring “sight words” and automating word recognition
3.2.3 Text reading / literacy
3.2.4 Development of basic writing skills
3.2.5 Development of spelling strategies
3.2.6 Acquisition of writing skills
3.2.7 Difficulty reading and writing
3.2.8 Gender-specific differences in written language acquisition at school
3.3 Methods of teaching reading and writing
3.3.1 Basic reading teaching procedures
3.3.2 Basic writing teaching procedures
3.3.3 Methods of teaching text reading
3.3.4 Methods of text production communication

4. Practical and didactic consequences for reading and writing promotion in the classroom
4.1 Motivation
4.2 Promotion of subject-specific learning strategy knowledge
4.3 Possibilities for implementing gender-differentiated remedial teaching
4.3.1 Reading promotion
4.3.2 Writing support
4.4 Forms of reading
4.5 Need to promote the identificatory reading of fictional texts by boys
4.6 Ten rights to read and write

5. Conclusion


1 Introduction

Reading and writing represent different ways of accessing and dealing with written communication on the different levels, both when dealing with writing - word recognition and spelling - as well as on the text level. These different approaches can complement and influence each other , whereby the respective contribution of reading or writing changes with the level of development of the learner.

The extraordinary importance of reading and writing skills is pointed out, among other things, in the guidelines and curricula for the primary school for testing in North Rhine-Westphalia:

"The written language skills and skills of reading and writing form the basis for all further learning in primary school and beyond." (Ministry 2003, p. 29)

It was not only known since PISA and IGLU that the performance of girls in these abilities and skills is superior to that of boys. This finding has been pointed out since the 1990s, especially in reading research.

In the present work I will deal with the gender-specific, differential reading and writing behavior of girls and boys and work out the resulting consequences for school support.

In order to give an overview of the differences in reading and writing skills between the sexes, I will first briefly present the results of various empirical studies and examine the question of the influence and the need for intervention in schools (cf. 2).

It must be clearly pointed out at this point that belonging to a gender group cannot provide any information about the level of reading or writing skills. If in the following from interests and achievements "The boy" and "The girl" I am referring to the results of studies that are statistical and

tend to be correct, but they do not mean that the data automatically apply to every boy and every girl. Just as boys can be very competent readers and writers, girls are particularly poor performers.

In the third part, the development of written language skills will be presented. A distinction must be made here between the development of “literacy” within the family (3.1) and the acquisition of written language at school (3.2).

The family influence on the acquisition of reading and writing skills in children is of particular importance and primarily contributes to the gender-specific differences. Addressing the causes of the differences cannot, however, form the focus of this work, as there is no empirically proven evidence, but only theoretical explanations (3.1.3) for the differences in the written language performance of boys and girls.

The presentation of the school development of reading and writing, both with regard to the initial lessons and the development of skills, will be followed by an explanation of the gender-specific differences in school development.

In addition, I will present various teaching methods for imparting both basic and text-related skills and, on the basis of the developmental differences highlighted up to that point, test them with regard to their gender-differentiating possibilities. The objectives of the curricula and guidelines for the subject of German for elementary schools, which are to be tested as of this year, are also included in the method investigation, because here the demand for gender-differentiated promotion - especially with regard to reading skills - is explicitly stated as a task:

"The promotion of reading skills takes into account the different inclinations and interests of girls and boys." (Ibid., P. 39)

Reading competence is highlighted not only in the guidelines, but also in the PISA and IGLU studies as extremely important and particularly affected by gender differences: Reading is considered a “central cultural technique in our society” because it is necessary “in writing To be able to understand fixed content in a meaningful way, “to orientate oneself, to inform and to further educate” (Bos et al. 2003, p. 266).

Overall, I will therefore consider the reading development of boys and girls a little more than the writing development. Since learning to read and write are closely linked and support each other, written language skills are always taken into account.

In the last part of my work, I will deal in particular with the school possibilities of promoting reading, which takes into account the individual subjective interests and abilities, whereby didactic consequences in relation to writing support are also discussed. The promotion of reading should be emphasized not only because of the prominent importance of reading competence, but also because of its influence on the writing competence of boys and girls. The understanding and ideas of texts and their intentions expand with increasing reading experience and receptivity. This also entails a change in the conception of your own writing.

2. Problematisation of gender-specific differences in the acquisition of written language

Empirical findings from standardized international studies on reading and writing show that there are differences in the reading and writing performance of girls and boys. Most of the results show that girls are clearly superior (see e.g. Bos et al. 2004; Deutsches PISA-Konsortium 2001; Richter / Brügelmann 1994; May 1994). In areas that are independent of the written language, such as intelligence, the concept of numbers and the perception of quantities, however, no significant differences were discernible, so that it can be ruled out that the girls are generally superior (cf. Richter / Brügelmann 1994, p. 10). If no cognitive performance outside of the written language acquisition can explain the differences between girls and boys, factors such as learning motivation and work style must come into particular focus.

In the following I would like to give an overview of the empirical findings on the questions of whether boys come to school with poorer qualifications or whether the teaching practice produces differences and in which partial performance the gender differences lie in the acquisition of written language. I will go into detail on the causes and consequences in the following chapters.

Already at the beginning of school, school beginners are more likely than school beginners to provide more complex written language skills such as writing down words, and the number of girls also dominates in the spring group (cf. Richter 1996, p. 98). It is noteworthy, however, that within the group of early reading children the boys performed better than the girls in all the variables examined - number of texts read, understanding of meaning, reading accuracy and especially in reading speed. The reason for these qualitative differences could be the motivation to read: While more girls than boys learn to read by imitating older siblings before starting school, boys often learn to read on their own initiative. This interest-based learning to read could lead to better reading performance than imitation learning (cf. Neuhaus-Siemon 1994, p. 69).[1]

In other preliminary skills for the acquisition of written language, however, the genders do not differ at the start of school. At the beginning of the first grade, the boys seem to be able to cope with the entry into the written language acquisition just like the girls successfully. As far as reading performance is concerned, the girls' lead becomes apparent by the end of the second grade at the latest. As has also been shown by PISA, the boys do not manage to catch up by the end of lower secondary school. On the contrary, while in the international comparative study for the primary school IGLU 2001 the German boys were significantly behind their classmates in the mean values ​​but not seriously behind their classmates (cf. Bos et al. 2004, p. 71), the difference is between those tested by PISA 15-year-old pupils are considerably larger, here the performance advantage corresponds to about half a competence level (cf. Deutsches PISA-Konsortium 2001, p. 253).

Even if German pupils in elementary school did better than those in secondary schools, improving support and qualification in the area of ​​pre-school and elementary school education is a central educational policy task. The primary school institution is the only school institution in Germany that has the task of promoting all pupils regardless of previous performance and social background. Problems at the primary school level that have not been resolved satisfactorily can no longer be compensated for in secondary schools; rather, they become more acute, as was shown by the PISA results (cf. Bos et al. 2003, p. 299f.). The level of performance achieved by boys and girls at the end of the fourth grade is of central importance for their further school career. Children in particular, who can be counted in the “risk group” in elementary school, will in all probability have considerable difficulties in the further course of their schooling and will also belong to the lower ability group at the end of lower secondary level. In connection with reading and writing skills, this particularly affects children with reading and writing difficulties; boys are diagnosed with these difficulties far more often than girls. It should be positively emphasized that in an international comparison between German girls and boys who attend elementary school, the extent of the differences in terms of reading comprehension is lower than in most of the other countries tested (cf. ibid. P. 114).

But here too, the girls' performance in reading literary texts is significantly higher; the difference in reading informational texts, on the other hand, is quite small in favor of the girls (cf. ibid.).

In terms of reading performance, the genders differ considerably, particularly in terms of reading quantity and intensity, reading material and reading methods, reading pleasure and reading propensity (cf. Eggert / Garbe ²2003). Girls read more and have different reading preferences than boys. While male readers are more interested in factual information, girls prefer identifying reading of fictional stories (cf. Hurrelmann 1994, p. 25). The pure tension genres and comics are of particular reading interest for boys (cf. Bischof / Heidtmann 2002b, p. 27f.). Primary school pupils perceive comics on the whole more time-consuming than books (cf. ibid.).

The differences, however, are not limited to the use of print media, but can also be found in the use of other media (cf. Vorderer / Klektiven 2002, p. 215). The differences that apply to reading continue in the use of television: women and girls prefer fiction and romance films, men and boys are more interested in action-packed adventure films or informative magazine programs. The entertainment function of the media is important for both sexes; Beyond that, however, information seems to be a preferred function for the male sex and the opportunity for socio-emotional experience for the female.

A comparison of the spelling performance of elementary school pupils shows that in this area too the girls overtake their peers during the first two years. Sigrun Richter has compiled several studies on gender differences in the spelling performance of children and examined how these develop during school time. It came to the conclusion that all studies confirm two trends:

1. The girls are significantly superior to the boys from the second to the ninth grade, which was the last examined grade, with regard to their spelling.[2]
2. In almost all studies, girls in the upper and boys in the lower performance group are significantly overrepresented at all measurement times (cf. Richter 1996, p. 108).

The observed differences in performance relate to all examined partial aspects of spelling. When writing free texts, however, the differences are even greater than when writing dictations.

The study “On spelling vocabulary and error rates in free texts by fourth graders” shows the following differences: On average, girls write about 20 percent longer texts than boys, but make fewer spelling mistakes. The lower error rate and the larger text volume are related to the extent that the girls thereby achieve a greater effect of the exercise. The vocabulary you use is around 15 to 20 percent more extensive, which is - at least in part - a consequence of the longer texts. When it comes to articles, conjunctions and particles, however, boys have a broader vocabulary. The vocabulary used by girls and boys differs considerably: overall it overlaps by less than two thirds, and for content words even by less than half (cf. Prevot 1993).

With regard to the free text production following previous reading activity, Bertschi-Kaufmann was able to determine constant gender-specific differences in the course of a project on the literal activities of primary school children: The writing activity within the open framework of a reading diary is generally higher among girls (cf. Bertschi-Kaufmann 2000 , P. 257). The willingness to describe what has been read or parts of it in their own narrative texts and to proceed in detail is generally much more pronounced among girls. Boys express themselves narrative less often and in most cases less in detail (cf. ibid.).

Although boys lag behind girls' spelling performance overall and in the extreme groups, if the writing performance of words that originate from their experience is taken into account, it becomes apparent that they use these words more often than others, in some cases even more often than the girls who are otherwise superior write correctly. The hypothesis that subjective gender-specific meaning and word (spelling) spelling are related was confirmed by May, Brügelmann and Richter in several studies (May / Brügelmann / Richter 1993, May 1994). This influence of the subjective meaning of words applies to both genders. In a comparison of gender-typical words, May states that boys write boys 'words better and girls write girls' words better (May 1994, p. 112). IGLU confirmed these results insofar as the boys did not make significantly more mistakes than the girls with words from the technical environment (oily, inform, sink, turn) and with reference to adventures (muscles, exertion, haunted) than the girls, but also not the other way around . Only one word was spelled correctly by the IGLU tested students than by the female students: 'Petrol tanks' (cf. Bos et al. 2003, p. 249).

As a consequence of this observation, Richter puts forward the following investigation hypothesis:

The overall lower written language performance of boys can be attributed to an overall lower consideration of boy-specific experiences and interests in written language lessons.

(Richter 1996, p. 241)

This thesis will be taken up in the last part of the thesis.

Just as boys are more likely to correctly write words that are particularly meaningful to them, even if they are difficult words, it is also true of reading that there is a connection between performance and interest. Lehmann found out that boys develop special skills when reading factual and practical texts.

In this context, too, the hypothesis was raised that the boys' inferiority was due to their insufficient consideration in German lessons.

In fact, when analyzing the IEA study, Lehmann found that the girls' superiority was limited to reading performance on narrative texts, which make up the majority of both German lessons and reading tests. IGLU also confirmed these results: the boys achieved better results when reading informational texts than when reading literary texts (cf. Bos et al. 2003, p. 114).

Overall, the studies consistently report shifts in the mean values, the relevance of which one could possibly ignore. However, these results hide the fact that there are a particularly large number of boys in need of support in the group of poor performers. If one considers the two lower proficiency levels of orthographic proficiency, which comprise the lower quartile, boys are overrepresented with almost 60 percent each. In the upper performance quartile, however, there are 61.5 percent more girls (cf. Bos et al. 2003, p. 250). The differences in the extended orthographic area are greater than those in the elementary area. IGLU thus also confirms that girls have seen a more rapid development of orthographic strategies (cf. ibid.).

The IGLU study also did not classify the reading skills of boys as particularly worrying worse than that of girls. But here, too, it should be noted that, on the one hand, the goal of long-term motivation to read beyond school is missed, especially among male students and, on the other hand, significantly more boys than girls with reading difficulties - partly due to the lower motivation and the resulting lack of exercise effect Suffer.

Boys from families with a migration background are particularly common in the lower performance groups. Both PISA and IGLU have shown that the problems of these children with regard to the development of reading and writing skills are particularly pronounced in Germany. Due to various factors, they often belong to the potential risk group of weak and extremely weak readers and writers. Risk factors that increase the likelihood of belonging to this group are the low class, the low level of education, the migrant background of the family of origin and the male gender. The alarming results indicate the urgent need for early intervention - for example through early language learning - in and before elementary school.

Boys and girls are not enrolled in the precursor skills with the same requirements. Even before school starts, boys are much more likely to enter the risk group of written language acquisition than girls. Mannhaupt reports a ratio of around 4: 1 to the disadvantage of the boys (cf. Mannhaupt 1994, p. 48). The boys are disadvantaged from the beginning of the written language acquisition. The existing differences among schoolchildren do not only arise in the first years of school, but are a consequence of the interplay of frequent lack of prerequisites and insufficient adaptation of the methodology of the initial lessons to the difficulties of these children It can be assumed that the school teaching does not counteract existing differences. The primary school thus misses the task set out in the guidelines that “different interests, perspectives and learning paths of girls and boys” (Ministry 2003, p. 14) are taken into account. The extent to which family written language socialization contributes to the cause of the differences and to what extent the school can specifically support disadvantaged boys will be discussed in the following chapters.

3. Develop reading and writing skills

3.0 Orality and written form

Learning to read and write at school is usually referred to as written language acquisition.

The term “written language acquisition” already suggests the considerable requirements in the linguistic and cognitive areas associated with learning to read and write. The terminology of "acquisition" emphasizes the independence of appropriation. Just as the child learns to speak in an active exchange with adult others by forming its own rules with regard to the semantics and the structure of words, discovering laws and relationships, it also learns to know its structure by dealing with writing (cf. Dehn et al. 1999 ).

However, as early as the late 1960s, Vygotsky noted that there are fundamental differences between spoken and written language (cf. Vygotsky 1969): Written texts require a certain abstraction from the interlocutor and also from the phonetic level of the language. The use of writing when reading and writing requires the conscious control of attention to the text and thus a withdrawal from the immediate situation in which the writer or reader finds himself. In relation to language, writing therefore not only represents a secondary system, as it was long considered in linguistics, but has moved into the focus of research in recent decades as an independent system. The relationship between language and writing, or between speaking and writing, was particularly examined in Germany by Günther (cf. Günther 1993):

Orality and written form differ not only in terms of media, phonic on the one hand, graphically on the other, but also conceptually. Reading does not mean decoding graphic characters into spoken language. Writing is - for the competent reader - its own communication system, which requires its own reception conditions and language strategies. Koch and Austrians show some characteristics that are typically more related to orality or written form: While oral language is assigned dialogic, spontaneous, situation-bound, private, etc. communication conditions, there are monologic, reflective, situation-relieved, public, etc., on the side of writing With regard to the verbalization strategies, Koch and Österreicher cite, for example, procedurality and provisionality for orality, and also draw the oral speech, among other things lower compactness, complexity, elaboration and information density compared to the written form (cf. Koch / Österreicher in Günther 1993, p. 88).

These prototypical structural differences are conceptually classified as "conceptual orality" and "conceptual written form".

The conceptual dimension of orality and writing is gradual, while the medial difference is always dichotomous: a text can only be either phonic or graphic. However, a text that is available in written media can have a high degree of conceptual orality (e.g. an SMS or a diary entry), while an oral text can be conceptually of written quality (e.g. a lecture or a sermon).

The importance of the distinction between conceptual orality and conceptual writing for learning to read and write is that when children acquire the written language, they not only have to learn to understand the principle of alphabet writing, but that they also acquire a new form of language . Günther explicitly points out the inappropriateness of reading and writing lessons that focus solely on teaching another channel. According to Günther, this would require that school beginners already had all the necessary prior knowledge and that they only had to learn to transfer the letter forms to the phonology that was already available to them. Günther assumes that the phonological awareness of language only develops after understanding the elementary properties of what is written, i.e. is a consequence of the acquisition of the written language. Only through spatial, non-volatile, written texts do children have the opportunity to construct a phonological system and its structure. (cf. Günther 1993, p. 91). To what extent the development of phonological awareness is a prerequisite or a consequence of the acquisition of the written language, I will explain in more detail in

Children do not only gain their first experience of writing and writing in elementary school; Instead, they begin their school career with a wide variety of prior knowledge that they have already acquired within the family since they were small.

3.1. Developing Literacy in the Family

The translation of the word "literacy" into the German language is problematic because no single word meets the meaning. Sometimes it is translated as “literacy” in specialist literature, but it literally means reading and writing skills. However, this translation needs to be supplemented, as the term “literacy” describes more than the basic skills of reading and writing. It encompasses competencies such as text comprehension and understanding of meaning, linguistic abstraction ability, reading pleasure, familiarity with books, the ability to express oneself in writing, familiarity with written or “literary” language, or even media skills.

The development of literacy in the family includes, on the one hand, the area of ​​initial experience with the abovementioned competencies, which is important for the development of writing and reading skills; has far-reaching influence on the reading career in the further course of the children's lives. Reading socialization research has mainly dealt with this influence of the family on children. Reading socialization, however, also has a decisive influence on the development of writing skills through dealing with and becoming familiar with the written language.

In the following I would like to first go into the conditions and influencing factors of family reading (and writing) socialization and then explain the gender-specific differences between girls and boys. Then I will address some theoretical explanations of possible causes of gender-specific differences in the literary development of boys and girls.

3.1.1 Family conditions and influencing factors

As mentioned, the development of reading and writing skills in children does not begin with the acquisition of the written language in school. Children gain their first experience of writing by encountering a wide variety of reading materials, literal practices and, above all, oral forms of conceptual writing in their social environment. He sees adults or older children reading the newspaper, writing notes, reading maps and many other everyday activities that give the child an idea of ​​the importance of literacy.

Strictly speaking, language acquisition is already a preliminary stage of children's reading socialization, because during this time parents already set the course for every subsequent relationship between their children and language and writing. Under favorable conditions, the child learning to speak is motivated to deal with linguistic-narrative phenomena and is gradually made familiar with word knowledge, grammar, sentence structure and the knowledge of the symbolic and communication functions of language.

In the first, pre-literary and paraliterary phase of reading socialization, there are various culturally established forms that introduce children to the use of written language before they even begin to read. A semi-literary form of communication that is already practiced in early childhood and can be described as a bridge between written and oral language for children is reading aloud and subsequent communication about what has been read (cf. Hurrelmann 2003a, p. 184). The written form is prepared by the elaborate orality that is represented by the reading. How great the importance of reading (aloud) is for the linguistic development of children was shown by Bruner and Ninio as early as 1978 in their studies of early language acquisition (cf. Bruner / Ninio 1978): In the interaction between mother and child when looking at one together In the picture book, the child learns elementary literary rules such as the symbolic character of what is shown in the book before the age of three. It can "make the transition from treating the world as the epitome of 'objects for action' to a view of the world that is primarily about 'objects of contemplation'" (Hurrelmann 1994, p. 20). Through the possibility of constant viewing of the picture book and the continuous linguistic context of action, the child finds a "contemplative attitude in 'reading" books in which he learns to delimit and differentiate himself from the world to a certain extent "(ibid.). The reading situation not only has a key function for language development, as Bruner and Ninio discovered, it is also a key situation for acquiring literature and developing writing skills.

First and foremost, the child learns to deal with abstract and decontextualized language through the person reading the book (cf. Snow / Ninio 1986). It depends on the competence of the adult reader to what extent there is a mediation between the requirements of the text on the one hand and the skills and experience of the child on the other. A reception situation characterized by closeness and intimacy and an “atmosphere of intellectual partnership between adults and children”, says Hurrelmann, is just as important for competent reading. If reading aloud is completed as a compulsory exercise or, for example, functionalized as a means to rest before going to sleep, etc., it has a rather counterproductive effect (cf. Hurrelmann 1998, p. 137). Reading situations as a compulsory pedagogical arrangement, as they are often observed in the lower social classes, may block an enjoyable access to literature at a very early age. Through observations of reading situations between parents - especially of mothers, since they usually still have the task of introducing the “sphere of symbolic representation of the world” (Hurrelmann 1999, p. 188) in the pre- and early phase of literary socialization - and Small children showed that striking class-specific differences can be observed even in this early phase (cf. Wieler 1998). Especially in families of the middle social classes, the common picture book reception in the sense of an ideal language learning situation is tied to a specifically exemplary form of readings. Mothers of lower social classes and lower educational levels do not allow interaction with their children while reading to the same extent as mothers with higher school qualifications. Questions and topic deviations are tolerated to a much lesser extent, although the active participation of children in particular promotes readiness to learn (cf. Scheerer-Neumann 2003, p. 513). Just as a restricted or elaborated language code is passed on within the family, a restricted or elaborated 'literature code' is also passed on to the children.

Other pre- and paraliterary forms of communication that introduce children to writing are reading picture books, telling stories, singing songs, inventing word games, learning nursery rhymes and poems. These transitional forms are oral in the media, but show different degrees of conceptual writing. From the knowledge of the ideal-typical development of literacy in the family, it can be deduced that this playful and orally dominated use of written language promotes phonological awareness and thus later reading and writing skills (Dehn / Sjölin 1996, p. 1148). In particular, the forms that require activity on the part of the child, such as learning to rhyme or play word games, are particularly suitable as transition aids in the written language due to their playful character. Many parents, especially the fathers, are completely unknown to these forms of communication, although they offer a high linguistic and literary stimulus potential (cf. Becker / Elias et al. 2002, p. 194).

Not only because it has the earliest influence on children in the reading development process, the family is - according to the unanimous opinion of researchers - the most important authority for imparting reading and, through its introduction to writing, also writing competence, it has the possibility of everyday, diffuse and unplanned influence are also the most lasting influences (cf. Groeben / Hurrelmann 2002, p. 138). The processes of literary socialization are shaped by the family not only before school entry, but also during school reading and writing education.

First of all, through observation and co-orientation, the children experience the meaning and value of reading and writing in their social environment. The role model function of the parents plays an important role here. A study by the Reading Foundation on reading behavior in Germany showed that the reading practice of schoolchildren is very closely related to the reading practice of their parents. Seventy-seven percent of children classified as “frequent readers” have parents, at least one of whom reads regularly (cf. Reading Foundation 2001). Reading practice is of course not to be equated with reading competence, but intensive reading practice is an important prerequisite for the acquisition of competence. The reading socialization study on the reading climate in the family has shown with regard to the role model function of the parents that there are large gender-specific differences with regard to the reading behavior of the parents. Only reading books shows effects on the reading behavior of the children; the parents' reading of newspapers and magazines is irrelevant (cf. Hammer / Hurrelmann 1994, p. 7). Not only do the women show a higher affinity for reading books, they also belong less often to the group of the extremely hard-to-read[3]. Overall, they read more often and longer than fathers. Fundamental gender differences between parents are also evident in the reading experience: for the mothers, enjoyable reading and aesthetic-reflexive reception are decisive, the fathers primarily aim at the cognitive-intellectual form of processing. The importance of socio-emotional participation for women is also reflected in their book genre interests. They favor “women's literature” over “biographies”, as well as “books about human knowledge” as well as “cookbooks” and “books about health”. The spectrum of genres of interest to mothers, who mostly deal with psycho-social content, is broader than that of men, who are mainly interested in factual topics (cf. Hurrelmann et al., 1995). This broader spectrum of reading interests of the mothers is in a clearly positive relationship with the reading pleasure of the children.

The mother also appears more often as a writing role model: z. B. through diary entries, letters, notes in the household, etc.

The role model effect of the mother, but also of the father with regard to conveying the appreciation of writing, plays a major role in the family: Children who see adults only with pragmatic use of writing such as filling out forms, etc., tend to be reduced to writing make their normative claim and, under certain circumstances, resist it until they have their own experiences with the cultural use of writing and get to know this as an impetus to cope with pressing desires (cf. Dehn / Sjölin 1996, p. 1149).

The differences shown in the reading and writing behavior of the parents already indicate that the mother in particular should be emphasized as a reading and writing role model (cf. Hurrelmann 2002, p. 193). It is particularly important that the mothers 'book reading is more often integrated into family life than the fathers' reading activity, which in most families takes place at a greater distance from family interaction. As a result, the fathers only have a marginal role model effect for the children.

According to Hurrelmann (ibid.), The mother is the central reference person for reading and writing development as long as she is responsible for the central upbringing and care work. In a survey of 153 male library users between the ages of six and eighteen from May to July 2001, however, the surveyed reading boys stated that only about 70% of their mothers and 50% of their fathers read (Heidtmann / Bischof 2002a, p. 260f.). In addition, in the course of this study, no difference could be found between the influence of the reading behavior of the mothers and that of the fathers. However, the fact that it has a positive effect on the boys' reading behavior if one of the parents reads regularly was also confirmed here (ibid., P. 261f.). To what extent the Cologne reading study and the study described by Bischof and Heidtmann can be compared is questionable, since the survey by Heidtmann and Bischof is an empirically non-representative cross-sectional study. In addition, the families themselves were included in the Cologne study by Hurrelmann, Hammer and Nieß, while in the 2001 survey only the pupils were asked about their parents' reading behavior. In addition, the 2001 study only looked at the group reading Boys acts because the data were collected in libraries and so it can be assumed that library users do not belong to the group of little readers. In addition, the socializing function of the sex of the child's caregiver is apparently overlooked here[4]. In my opinion, this survey is not able to refute the results of Hurrelmann.

The reading model of the parents plays a decisive role in the socialization of reading, but the reading development of the children is built up primarily through the social references of the reading activity (cf. Hurrelmann 1994, p. 7, 79; Bischof / Heidtmann 2002b, p. 31 ). The social, natural integration of book reading into everyday family life, i. H. both in an interactive and communicative way, is significant. Children from families in which shared experiences of reading situations, conversations about what has been read and joint visits to bookshops and libraries take place, read longer and more frequently and also enjoy reading books more. Reading in a family context must not be isolated, but rather, if the aim is to achieve stable, intrinsic motivation to read, the children should be able to participate in the reading experiences of their parents.

The diffuse, natural integration of book reading into everyday life has far more positive effects than conscious reading education by parents. Especially when these primarily combine performance and advancement goals for the children with encouraged reading promotion, but the children perceive their parents to be unfamiliar with books, admonitions to read can have a demotivating effect (cf. Hurrelmann 1994, p. 8). Children at the end of their primary school years do not want to be admonished or monitored with regard to their reading behavior. Reading or not reading partly serves to regulate her relationship with her parents. Many parents meet the need to lean on and the still pronounced need for closeness that children express through their reading; Just as important, however, is acceptance if reading is to create distance, as adolescents try to secure an area of ​​experiences, adventures and dreams in reading that only belongs to them.

Other condition factors that have a prominent influence on the acquisition of reading skills and the acquisition of literacy in general are the social status and the education of the parents. However, the education of the parents cannot in itself serve as an explanation for the different development of the children; rather, most of the factors through which reading pleasure and fixed reading habits are concretely conveyed are closely linked to educational requirements. The social class is even a more important indicator of the development of reading and writing skills than age. There is clear overlap in the distribution of benefits in the various social classes; the connection between social class and literacy skills can thus be interpreted as narrow, but not determining (cf. Bos et al. 2003, p. 282). This class dependency has also been shown through studies on the development of language awareness and language analysis, the cognitive aspects of literacy acquisition (cf. Ferreiro / Teberosky 1982). It therefore relates not only to reading, but also to writing skills.

Equipping a family with books, for example, clearly shows their social status and is seen as an indicator of the closeness to education (cf. Bos et al. 2003, p. 50). While families with a lower level of education and class more often equip their children with electronic media such as their own television, video recorder, computer or stereo system, parents from the upper class and level of education pay attention to a “higher access threshold” for uncontrolled use of these media (cf. Hurrelmann et al. 1995, p. 35). They try to steer their children's media consumption in the direction of books. Although children today can become readers in different media environments, the restriction of television consumption is an important developmental condition (cf. ibid., P. 80). With the new media, the book has grown fierce competitors, but there is no simple substitution (cf. Groeben 2002, p.11). According to Groeben, the displacement thesis has been largely falsified through empirical research. Rather, a distinction must be made between different media usage patterns in which reading takes on a more or less constitutive role. So it is not only in parents who are purely book-oriented that children can grow up to be readers, the prerequisites for developing into readers are also given in families in which diverse media activities take place. If audiovisual media are only used for entertainment purposes, this reduces the chances of successful reading socialization. The selective use of electronic media in a family and a focus on the use of print media offer the most favorable conditions for the development of children's reading ability (cf. Hurrelmann et al. 1995, p. 6). According to Schön, however, it is usually the case that too narrow a reading term is assumed when the repression of reading by newer media is spoken of. What is implicitly meant is literary reading at an aesthetically high level and historically this has only ever taken place in a small group, so that the loss of this “reading culture” in the broader class cannot be deplored (cf. Schön 1999). Despite these critical voices (cf. also Bertschi-Kaufmann 2000, p. 25), the term reading culture seems to describe the overall reading-promoting and motivating attitude of families, schools and social institutions outside of school. Reading culture by no means only means dealing with high-level literature, here I agree with Bertschi-Kaufmann (cf. ibid.), But rather an attitude towards reading that is borne by different sides and that is expressed in a variety of suggestions and support options.

Overall, however, it should not be ignored that with the expansion of television offerings and the expansion of television consumption, the parental reading model is offered less and less and that families - here it is nice to agree - especially the lower social and educational classes offer children richer opportunities to watch TV instead To become book consumers, because the television is integrated into their everyday life much more naturally than the book.

The fact that reading is a central cultural technique that is an indispensable prerequisite for participating in a script-based culture has often been emphasized in the literature (cf. e.g. Richter / Christmann 2002; Schreier / Rupp 2002; Hurrelmann 2003). What role this assumes, however, in our society, which has changed and is still changing into an information and media society, is the subject of controversial discussion. On the one hand, there is the assumption that reading competence is a basic competence, especially for dealing with newer media (cf. e.g. Christmann / Groeben 1999; Hurrelmann 2003). One reason that underlines this view of the importance of reading competence is that reading is the most productive source of concept learning and the best form of exercise for dealing with elaborate language (cf. Hurrelmann 1994, p. 20). If reading is viewed as the absorption of information and reading as entertainment separately from one another, it is considered certain that reading promotes the development of a structure of interests that supports the absorption of information through a wide variety of media (cf. Hurrelmann 2003, p. 4). A child needs the ability to understand conceptual writing not only in order to be able to deal with media written texts, but also in order to be able to understand informational texts and argumentative texts of the audiovisual media (cf. Hurrelmann 1998, p. 130). For the understanding and the learning effect of informative television programs, it has been found that regular reading and the associated active and cognitively demanding mode of reception are more important than confident, routine use of the television medium. Habitual readers learn from the fact that they are the more conscious recipients, not only from TV programs, they are also the more critical viewers, which in turn increases their competence lead (cf. ibid.). With regard to hyper (media) texts, font is also presented in new aesthetic contexts. The structural peculiarity of multimedia text versions in which the font. is in connection with other sign systems and is integrated into a hypertext structure, consists of a relaxed coherence and a manner of expression close to conceptual orality (cf. Bertschi-Kaufmann 2000, p. 29)

The position that reading skills will gradually become more and more meaningless as a result of television consumption and that childhood will also be displaced, as has been the case since the 1980s, for example. B. is represented by Postman (see Postman 1984), is in my opinion not tenable due to the investigations and statements by Hurrelmann, Groeben, etc.

The use of books is therefore associated with special cognitive performance and social interaction processes that make the regular reader a more competent user of other media. But if a well-developed reading ability represents the basic competence for the sovereign use of the entire media offer, reading abstinence also means a massive difficulty in dealing with electronic media.

The necessity and importance of reading competence in relation to the informational function cannot be questioned in connection with the acquisition of media competence either. The entertainment function of reading, on the other hand, seems to be replaceable by other electronic media such as audio cassettes, films or computer games. The extent to which gender-specific differences affect this area and what possible causes are considered is discussed further below.

The child's socialization in the family thus has a decisive influence on the children's previous knowledge of the already experienced and available conceptual writing. Of great importance for the initial development of written language production and for the continuous aspects of learning to write are, on the one hand, the uncontrolled acquisition process of functions of reading and writing in the family and, on the other hand, the uncontrolled acquisition of text structure knowledge, also with regard to monological texts, through listening to Stories that the caregivers tell. In addition, through its influence on the child's oral language skills, the family has an impact on the child's development in the first primary school years. The insights into writing that many children already have before starting school can be divided into three categories (cf. Scheerer-Neumann 2003, p. 514):

1. Characters represent spoken language in some form. As an example of the early distinction between orality and writing, the carelessness of the voice and the special expression that children use when they pretend to read aloud can be cited. 2. Writing has a communicative function. There is a considerable proportion of “›› letters ‹‹, signs and wish lists and even verbal abuse” (ibid.) Among early childhood writings by children only four or five years old. 3. In addition to these basic knowledge, the children acquire very specific prior knowledge. Knowledge of letters and, in some cases, even holistic reading and writing of individual selected words are to be cited here. Children gain the knowledge of the first two categories through suggestions in the family. This complex of suggestions and support, which the family can provide at an early age, differs not only quantitatively but primarily qualitatively according to class and level of education. The quality is determined by the fit to the developmental needs of the children and the stimulation for follow-up communication. For children from families with little educational background and thus also less well-educated families, this means, however, that they have to cope with the start of school with much less insight into the written language.In the early reading and writing lessons, children from parents who are distant from writing often have significant problems understanding what is required of them.

Hurrelmann concludes from this that the problems that many children have with learning to read and write arise more from the difficulties involved in dealing with the written language than from the difficulties associated with acquiring 'technical' reading skills (Hurrelmann et al., 1995, p.64).

3.1.2 Gender differences

Despite comparable family structures, there are considerable differences between the reading behavior of girls and that of boys. Although it can be proven that the girls do not experience any more intensive family support, they develop greater reading pleasure, read more often and for longer than their peers. Accordingly, their reading skills are also better developed. Not only can they read better, they also mention other, less severe, reading inhibitions than boys. For boys, the choice between other leisure activities and reading is often to the disadvantage of reading, which is perhaps also due to the fact that reading is perceived by boys as even more strenuous because of their somewhat poorer reading skills. The same can be said with regard to writing behavior: girls write longer and more demanding texts (cf. Brügelmann 1994, p. 17), which also has the effect of practicing. In my opinion, it is doubtful whether writing support in relation to text production is gender-equal: gifts such as diaries, stationery, and poetry albums encourage girls to express themselves in writing.

With regard to reading preferences, one can say in a typifying exaggeration that girls - like their mothers - are more interested in fictional reading, literary entertainment and boys and their fathers are more interested than girls in information and non-fictional reading, i.e. a combination of reading with pragmatic use . The reading styles that correspond to these preferences are on the one hand more emotional-identifying and on the other hand more cognitive-intellectual. Girls report much more often than boys that a book has already touched them strongly (see Runge 1997, p.32). For them, the social-emotional dimension of reading is important; enjoyable and reflective reading plays a prominent role for them as well as for their mothers (cf. Hurrelmann et al. 1995, p. 32). Girls are more willing to participate emotionally, they develop affective and richer relationships with books more quickly. Boys, on the other hand, keep more distance, they emphasize cognitive modes of reception more, and thus have less rewarding reading experiences. More recent studies have shown that, in addition to reading, boys limit themselves to comics and tension- and action-oriented genres for informational reasons (cf. Bischof / Heidtmann 2002b, p. 27ff.). When boys read literary fiction, they tend to ask about a possible return to reality; technical analysis is closer to them than empathic empathy (cf. Barth 1997, p. 19f.). The intensity of the reading experience, however, has an impact on reading pleasure, reading frequency and reading time (cf. ibid.). If children are intellectually and socially and emotionally addressed by books, their reward expectations rise, which is reflected in stable reading motivation. The better reading performance of girls, who also acknowledge PISA and IGLU (cf. Deutsches PISA-Konsortium 2001, p. 251ff .; Bos et al. 2004, p. 71), seem to be related to this higher reading motivation and the resulting more extensive reading practice . Daughters benefit more than sons from the promotion of reading within the family, which, as already mentioned above, is the institution with the most lasting effect on the children's gratification expectations.

At this point it should be emphasized once again that it cannot automatically be concluded from gender affiliation whether a child deals with texts a lot or little. Just as there are poor readers and writers among girls, boys are also among the top performers in the written language area.


[1] Neuhaus-Siemon points out, however, that the validity of some of the data with regard to the surveys on girls 'learning to imitate is limited, as the teachers' statements about the motives for learning to read early are only based on the subsequent assessment of the parents and children themselves.

[2] The only exception: a non-significant result in class 5, which is due to the "ceiling effect", i.e. H. the text used was too light to be able to differentiate in the upper area (cf. Richter 1996, p. 101).

[3] According to their own statements, a total of 2% of the mothers questioned and 7% of the fathers questioned are less-readers whose reading time is less than ten minutes a day (Hurrelmann / Hammer / Nieß ²1995, p. 33).

[4] See 3.1.3 for a more detailed explanation of the influence of gender-specific socialization.

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