Promoting Reading Motivation in Primary School

Practical Measures to Promote Motivation and Gender-Specific Motivation Problems

Term Paper, 2009

26 Pages, Grade: 1,0


Table of contents

1. Introduction

2. Conceptual theoretical and conceptual considerations
2.1 On the concept of reading motivation
2.2 Extrinsic and intrinsic reading motivation
2.3 The relationship between reading competence and reading motivation

3. Social factors influencing the reading motivation of primary school pupils
3.1 The importance of the reading climate in the family
3.2 The importance of school

4. Motivation problems in reading lessons
4.1 Motivation problems at the beginning of school and in the first reading lessons
4.2 Motivation problems in further reading lessons
4.3 The meaning of gender: Reasons for motivation problems in boys

5. Practical ways to promote reading motivation in the classroom
5.1 The stimulating reading environment
5.2 Children's books as class reading
5.3 Reading aloud and author encounters
5.4 Reading pleasure with the reading box

6. Summary and conclusion


1. Introduction

In order to be able to participate in social life, the ability to read is an important prerequisite. Without them, many areas of daily life cannot be opened up.

Especially from this point of view, it was all the more frightening to see what results the Pisa1 - Study from the year 2000 presented to the public.

The findings regarding the reading motivation of pupils2, which will be the subject of this work, stated that 42% of the participating German 15-year-olds never read for pleasure, including not only reading books but also newspapers and magazines (cf. Artelt et al. 2001, p. 127). "Germany is thus unsurpassed in the number of students who say they do not read at all in their free time" (cf. Garbe 2005a, p. 10).

However, since my topic is "promoting reading motivation in primary school", one could ask oneself why findings of the PISA study are mentioned, which do not show the performance of primary school pupils, but those of 15-year-old school leavers.

The reason for this is that these poor results are due to the beginning of school. If primary school teachers do not succeed in conveying "reading" as something pleasurable and enriching from the outset, the children will not see reading as something personally valuable and may already turn their backs on the book during primary school and migrate to other media such as computers or game consoles.

The central question I have dealt with is which social factors have a supportive and inhibiting effect on the reading motivation of children and to what extent primary school can contribute to the long-term joy of reading in the pupils.

In the first chapter, a conceptual theoretical and conceptual approach is first made. What is behind the concept of reading motivation? It depicts different types of reading motivation, extrinsic and intrinsic. Another important basis of this work is the connection between reading competence and reading motivation, which is particularly evident in the motivation problems.

The second chapter deals with the emergence of reading motivation. Which social influencing factors have a beneficial and inhibiting effect?

First of all, the family environment is treated as an important influencing factor in the development of a person's reading motivation. As a second important influencing factor, the school will be addressed, whereby I will limit myself to primary school. Due to the scope of this work, the third factor, the peer group3, not treated.

The third chapter shows possible motivation problems of primary school children.

Starting with motivation problems at the beginning of the initial lessons to problems in further reading lessons to the motivation problem in the boys. Gender-specific differences in reading behaviour are explained and explanations are given. In addition, school solution perspectives are shown.

The last chapter of this thesis deals with practical support possibilities, i.e. it shows methods that the primary school teacher can use in the classroom so that the reading motivation of his students increases. Due to the large number of practical possibilities, I limit myself to the support measures that I have become acquainted with especially in my last internships.

I will refer to the study by Richter/Plath, which shows "possibilities of the school in the development and promotion of reading motivation", again and again within this work in order to support the previously discussed basics (cf. Richter/Plath 2005).

2. Conceptual theoretical and conceptual considerations

2.1 On the concept of reading motivation

Reading is a multiple activity that places high demands on the reader. When reading various partial services are required. In this work, however, it will only be about the motivational partial performance and thus about the willingness to take up reading processes.

For a better understanding of the topic, I will explain the concept of motivation at the beginning. Motivation is a term that is used both in everyday language and in scientific usage. When people talk about motivation in everyday life, they always mean "mastering a task or achieving a goal" (cf. Hartinger 2002, p. 17).

In contrast, the concept of motivation in psychology is broader: Motivation refers not only to a purposeful behavior, but "any form of initiation of action" (cf. Hartinger 2002, p. 17). Thus, the German psychologist C. F. Graumann defined motivation as "the one in and around us that drives us, drives us to behave in this way and not differently" (cf. Graumann 1969, p. 28; Zit. n. Hartinger 2002, p. 17).

Reading motivation therefore refers to the degree of motivation that a person has towards reading.

Psychologist Ulrich Schiefele defines an individual's current reading motivation as "the extent of the desire or intention to read a specific text in a particular situation [...]. One therefore speaks of high reading motivation when someone feels the strong desire to read the next chapter of a crime novel or a scientific article" (cf. Möller/Schiefele 2004, p. 102).

Reading motivation is also referred to the energy source of reading: it "is the activating energy for the willingness to deal with the necessary learning processes for learning to read" (cf. Schenk 2007, p. 64).

Teachers should use many opportunities to awaken and cultivate this willingness to read (cf. Chapter 5).

When talking about reading motivation, however, it is not only about the ability to be willing to read, but also about the formation of positive expectations towards reading and the overcoming of difficulties.

The concept of reading motivation is often mentioned in connection with the concept of reading interest. Karin Richter explained the meaning and differences of these two terms as follows: "While 'reading interest' is very strongly directed towards certain objects (texts, books, stories) and leads to a certain behaviour (e.g. reading certain types of text), the 'motive' or 'motivation' is regarded as a 'lasting disposition' for goal-oriented action" (cf. Richter/Plath 2005, p. 21).

2.2 Extrinsic and intrinsic reading motivation

The intention to read can have different reasons. On the one hand, reading intentions are distinguished into intrinsic (factual) and extrinsic (extraneous) components (cf. Deci/Ryan, 1985; Zit. n. Möller/Schiefe 2004, p. 102).

Intrinsic motivation means the willingness to pursue an activity for its own sake, i.e. because this activity is rewarding or satisfying for one (cf. ibid.).

With regard to reading, one is intrinsically motivated when a book is read out of interest or fun in the topic.

In comparison, extrinsic motivation means when an action is not carried out for its own sake, but external influences move or force the person to behave (cf. ibid.). In terms of reading, one is extrinsically motivated when the reasons for reading lie outside the reading activity and the subject of the text. The focus is on the goals and consequences associated with reading.

"The extrinsically motivated reader either strives for positive consequences [e.g. praise from the parents] or tries to avoid negative consequences [punishment]" (ibid.). Practically, this could look like this: A student who reads particularly well to be praised by the teacher and not get a bad grade.

With the help of motivation research, it is still possible to divide into habitual (lasting) or situational (temporary) reading motivation. A habitual reading motivation is when the constant and recurring desire to read something arises, whereas certain framework conditions must be present so that a situational reading motivation develops and manifests itself at irregular intervals.

A student who reads non-fiction books in her spare time in order to get good grades at school would therefore be extrinsically habitually motivated (cf. Möller/Schiefe 2004, p. 102f.). An example of intrinsically habitual reading motivation is a person who regularly reads books enthusiastically in their spare time.

For this term paper, the promotion of habitually intrinsic reading motivation is of particular importance. Because if a book offers a factual incentive, the chance that this reading will also be read outside the classroom is higher. Extrinsic reading motivation, on the other hand, often only bears fruit for a short time.

2.3 The relationship between reading competence and reading motivation

The international comparative studies PISA and IGLU4, in which the reading ability of students was measured, cite a significant association between reading motivation and reading competence5 of a person. A high reading motivation would lead to a higher reading competence (cf. Möller/Schiefele 2004, p. 118).

Reading motivation is therefore also regarded in PISA as a cause of the weak reading competence of German students in an international comparison (cf. ibid. p. 101). This is also confirmed by the finding that differences between boys and girls in reading competence were almost entirely explained by differences in reading motivation (cf. ibid.). Chapter 4.3 discusses these gender-specific reading motivational differences further.

The fact that reading motivation correlates with reading competence could also be shown in PISA by the fact that students with low socio-economic status and a high reading motivation performed better than students from higher classes with low reading motivation (cf. Möller/Schiefele 2004, p. 119).

Only when there is interest and joy in reading will a child read on its own and attach a positive importance to reading in his free time; and if reading is done more frequently, the reading ability, i.e. the reading competence of a child, improves. Because students who pick up the book more often increase their knowledge and vocabulary. This, in turn, simplifies future word recognizement, so that the reading speed as well as the reading fluency improve significantly. The working memory of the readers is thus relieved, since it is not constantly confronted with difficulties in deciphering new unknown words (cf. ibid., p. 221).

But also vice versa, a high reading competence influences the reading motivation of a person: "Only those who read well will like to read" (Lührs 2009, p. 5). Reading problems and difficulties in learning to read lead to the fact that one is hardly motivated to continue reading the text (see chapter 4.2).

In summary, the better a child can read, the more he enjoys reading; the greater his interest in reading, the more he reads and thereby increases his reading skills.

That is why it is important that teachers not only take action in teaching basic and advanced reading skills, but also in building up reading motivation. It must be made possible for "reading-learning" and "pleasure-reading" to develop at the same time.

3. Social factors influencing the reading motivation of primary school pupils

How is it that you like to read or don't like to read? Which experiences in childhood lead to a stable reading motivation?

The development of reading motivation and the acquisition of reading competence depend on competent adults. The following chapter deals with the two socialization instances family and school, which significantly shape the reading motivation of the children. However, it should not be forgotten that there are also other factors, such as the personality (e.g. creativity and intelligence) of the child, which favor or inhibit whether he likes to read. In this work, however, it will only be about the socio-cultural factors.

3.1 The importance of the reading climate in the family

It is known from reading socialization research that the family has the earliest and most effective influence on children's reading activity, reading development and reading motivation (cf. Hurrelmann 2002, p. 138).

A stimulating linguistic environment promotes reading, because conversations develop awareness of language, which in turn makes it easier to understand something read.

The parents read to their children from a book, fairy tales are told, nursery rhymes are recited and songs are sung. These activities are of such enormous importance because this handling of language connects the primary system of everyday language and the secondary system of literary language (cf. Lührs 2009, p. 17). This means that these "pre-literary communications" make it easier for children to transition from orality to writing (cf. ibid.). They can be seen as a precursor to reading, especially if the children are actively and playfully involved.

"The frequency and nature of such handling of decontextualized language [...] demonstrably promote reading pleasure, duration and frequency of reading in children" (Hurrelmann 2002, p. 138f.).

In particular, the culture of reading already is considered the most influential prerequisite for successful later reading careers. When the children are read aloud, they gain a first impression of what is hidden in a book (cf. Spinner 2006, p. 17).

However, a stubborn reading aloud will not promote the child's motivation to read. It depends on the type of reading aloud, i.e. whether the child is actively integrated into the reading situation and whether he or she is given the opportunity to express questions about history (cf. Lührs 2007, p. 19f.).

Parents are also reading role models, as the children observe them in dealing with books and can thus take over this literary interest and transfer it to their own, self-chosen literature. "If parents have a positive connection to the book, it is likely that this will be transferred to the children as a favorable reading ratio" (cf. Lührs 2009 p. 2). The role model of the parents can best be transferred to the child if reading is integrated communicatively into everyday family life. This means that parents talk to their children about their personal reading pleasure and explain why they are reading a particular book. In this way, they can give them their positive experiences with reading.

Many parents see reading as something important and positive, but a supportive reading practice is still not realized. This is contradictory for the child and little promoting for the emergence of reading pleasure. Parents are often unaware of their role as a reading role model and lack the knowledge of how to get their children excited about reading.

Equally contradictory for the children are parents who are not motivating readers themselves but emphasize the urgency of reading and try to force their child to do so (cf. Hurrelmann 2002, p. 139). If the parents themselves do not approach reading books with joy, it will be difficult to get their child to read only by a reading prompt.

Reading inhibitions are also more pronounced if the child experiences reading in the family only in isolation. The children must be given the opportunity to talk to their parents about what they have read. Therefore, it is beneficial if the parents have also read the book read by the child and the content can be discussed and discussed together.

Through this communication, children learn "[...] to connect social-emotional experiences with literature, which can form the basis for the development of literature-related-reflexive skills" (cf. Hurrelmann 2002, p. 139).

But also, the family's book ownership, the use of libraries and the reading frequency of the parents are factors that can affect the child's reading motivation. The different manifestations of these factors in different levels of education are repeatedly confirmed (cf. Hurrelmann 2004, p. 47).

The study by Richter/Plath shows that when book ownership in the household is large, reading is also more frequent and the amount of book ownership is often related to the social class (cf. Richter/Plath 2005, p. 46).

A connection between non-readers and their origin, from non-reading homes, can therefore be established.

In most cases, parents from lower levels of education lack the skills to be a good partner and companion for their children during their reading development due to their lack of own reading experience, which is often also due to low education, and thus they are not good reading role models.

"The problem with this development lies in the danger of an increasing polarization of starting opportunities for children from reader-friendly and reader-hostile milieus" (cf. Lührs 2009, p. 32). Because with these different previous experiences they come to school and the teacher then has the not easy task to compensate for these differences (see chapter 3.2).

Nowadays, however, not only children from lower social classes are a problem group. Due to the dramatic change in family structures6 and social living conditions of families, there are fewer and fewer parents who read fairy tales or stories to the child and tell stories based on a picture book. Many parents hardly have time to talk to their children about books. Due to the fact that fewer and fewer children receive support from their parents, there are also more often children who have never looked at or read a self-chosen leisure book at home (cf. Sahr/Born 2000, p. 37). Often the children are only put in front of the TV, which can extremely inhibit their language development. These children will only know stories from television, how much of them they understand is largely left to him due to a lack of follow-up communication.

In summary, the following factors promote the development of reading motivation in the parental home: "Reading aloud and other pre- and paraliterary communications [...] Reading model of parents, media use and general interaction and communication behaviour within the family or family culture" (cf. Lührs 2009, p. 13).

Children who are not supported in reading at home will hardly develop any motivation to do so. The quality of reading is then often lower than in children whose interest in reading was intensively promoted at home.

3.2 The importance of school

Frightening are findings of the "Stiftung Lesen", which have made it clear that the influence of parents on the reading motivation of their children has decreased by 50% and that the family is always in little position to promote reading motivation of their children (cf. Lührs 2009, p. 30).

The primary school is given the task of compensating for the lack of "literary primary socializations", especially among children from families of the lower social classes and educational milieus. For many children, school offers them the only authority to strengthen their motivation to read. So, she has to try to compensate for what was missed in the family. Through lessons that deal with books in a motivating way, disadvantaged children must also be given a chance to learn to read with joy.

Years ago, German lessons in primary school "only" had the task of teaching children to read and write, today they have to provide intensive access to the world of books from the very beginning, because children have to experience books as something exciting, valuable, necessary, rewarding and meaningful in order to develop a stable reading motivation. This importance is also consolidated in the sub-framework plan German in the primary school for Rhineland-Palatinate: The aim of The German lessons should be that the students learn that reading is a pleasure. Equally important is the knowledge that interest is required in the acquisition of reading skills (cf. Ministry of Education, Women and Youth 2005, p. 10).

Children from "non-reading" homes usually do not even know what to learn at school and why. Teachers must offer reading situations, especially for these children, in which they learn that the ability to read can be emotionally rewarding and that it also makes sense in a social context (cf. Hurrelmann 2004, p. 59f.). The students should be made aware of the importance of reading and the benefits it brings. After all, those who have access to literature have more differentiated language, their capacity for empathy is greater, their free time is more fulfilled and their educational and professional opportunities are better. The children should learn "that reading can satisfy specific interests and provide experiences of enjoyment" (cf. Rosebrock/Nix 2008, p. 90).

The promotion of reading motivation in primary school is of such enormous importance because the child's attitude is largely unchangeable after the age of 12. "Anyone who has not yet discovered and experienced the joy of reading should have been closed to the world of books" (cf. Sahr 2006, p. 5).

Reading lessons should therefore first be about maintaining and promoting a positive attitude towards the medium of books. If reading is perceived as something positive, the child will also later associate reading with something beautiful and exciting and, due to the positive relationship to reading at school, will most likely read more often in his free time.

The different prerequisites that the pupils bring to school should be taken into account and therefore "personal forms of dealing with a book" must be made possible and "subjectively significant reading experiences must become fruitful for the joint handling of texts" (cf. Daubert 1996, p. 10f cit. n. Sahr/Born 2000, p. 39).

On the other hand, joint activities within the class are particularly important for reading motivation. Children who are inexperienced in reading might otherwise feel left alone, which would certainly have a negative impact on their reading behaviour. "Children need individual and shared reading experiences" (ibid.).

Especially the open form of teaching with individual or project-like options such as books, magazines or computer media is suitable for this (cf. Hurrelmann 2008, p. 27). Because the "new media" can also contribute to "making reading and writing more important for children and young people and they can be instruments to stimulate the desire to read" (cf. Bertschi-Kaufmann 2008, p. 42). Teachers should therefore also be interested in the media use of their students (see Chapter 4.3.).

The school has many opportunities to increase the reading interest of the students. Some measures are taken up in Chapter 5. However, it should be mentioned that the commitment of teachers, unlike the parents, is directed to an entire class and thus individual interests and abilities of the individual children cannot be given the attention as within the parental home.

4. Motivation problems in reading lessons

The following chapter is about pointing out problems that negatively affect the reading motivation of primary school pupils or do not even allow them to arise. In addition, the gender differences regarding reading motivation are discussed and tried to explain them.

4.1 Motivation problems at the beginning of school and in the first reading lessons

The primary school has the task of organizing the first reading lessons in such a way that the students do not lose their reading motivation when learning to read. However, this happens so often because many "children already come to school with literary or narrative reception skills" and have to go back to the very beginning for learning to read (cf. Garbe 2005b, p. 30). By reading aloud by their parents or listening to cassettes, they are familiar with complex stories and characters (cf. ibid.).

In the reading primers, they are confronted with simple stories that often offer anything but motivation to read. Many children probably think that it is not worthwhile to take on the effort of learning to read for such texts. They experience that "deciphering writing is so laborious and lengthy that they cannot be satisfied in their literary comprehension skills by self-read texts. For a long time, they have to spend so much energy on those cognitive processes that experienced readers no longer penetrate into consciousness at all that a differentiated construction and meta-perception of contexts of meaning of what has been read is hardly possible, in contrast to the visual or auditory reception of stories" (cf. Rosebrock 2003, p. 94; cit. n Garbe 2005b, p. 30).

It can give the impression that texts in the classroom are banal. Therefore, it is particularly appropriate to read to the children at school, so that interesting texts appear in the classroom from the beginning and the motivation does not diminish (cf. Chapter 5.3.).

Another problem is the children from non-written worlds who come to school with little previous experience in the field of writing. "Here they are confronted with conservative methods of written language acquisition (e.B primer lessons) [...] which do not fit in with the conditions for the acquisition of written language acquired in the family only suboptimally" (cf. Garbe 2009; p. 196f.). Since they have hardly developed a reading motivation yet, it must first be made clear to them that reading is fun and worthwhile to take on some reading efforts.

In the initial lessons, "play-oriented learning, varied forms of learning, a positive learning atmosphere and the emotional relationship with the teacher" have a motivating effect (cf. Schenk, 2007, p. 223).

Often, however, there are still reading difficulties in addition to motivation deficits. Some children are confronted with failures after the first few weeks, which does not motivate them to continue learning to read. This is mainly due to the fact that they notice that they are not making progress in the reading learning process. In most cases, these problems at school in turn lead to conflict situations at home in children. It is admonished to read, which rather leads to reading refusal or to reading under pressure to perform. Motivation cannot become effective because other areas of reading literacy are under-trained to make an impact. Small progress in performance should therefore be made clear by the teacher (cf. Schenk 2007, p. 223). However, the demand to build up reading skills is not the subject of this work. However, it should become clear that reading problems and failures can have an unfavourable effect on reading motivation (cf. Chapter 1.3).

4.2 Motivation problems in further reading lessons

In certain phases of their school career, children are particularly at risk of reducing or even giving up reading motivation. These phases are often referred to as "reading kinks" (cf. Garbe 2005b, p. 31). Many studies point out that there is such a slump in reading in the transition from the 2nd to the 3rd grade, i.e. in the "transition from initial lessons to further reading lessons" (cf. ibid.). This means that as soon as the children have learned to read, they lose the great desire for it again. According to a study, 80% of children in grades one and two are positive about reading. At the end of the second and at the beginning of the third grade, the picture has changed significantly. Now only half of the children are positive (cf. Garbe 2005a, p. 17).

This can be explained above all by increasing "demands on reading comprehension, which the school places with the submission of increasingly difficult texts" (cf. Bertschi-Kaufmann, 2008b, p. 168). In addition, the reading interests of the children are often not taken into account enough by the teachers, which can also be a reason for the decreasing reading motivation. Reading researchers therefore also see the reasons for such reading crises in the lack of school support (cf. Lührs 2009, p. 29).

Especially the children who have problems with sentence comprehension and reading fluency are very likely to lose their reading motivation at the beginning of school. They struggle with texts, often still read letter by letter, therefore also have difficulties with the extraction of meaning and cannot overlook entire texts. Reading is usually associated with negative side effects for these children, as they are too often confronted with disappointment and possibly a bad reading diet. Learning success tendencies, i.e. school performance feedback, influence whether a child's reading motivation develops further or not. If a child constantly receives negative feedback from the teacher, it is predictable that this child does not associate anything positive with reading and is therefore not motivated to read in his free time.

It is very likely that the consequence is to avoid texts and if reading, then only because the teacher demands it. As a result, the already low abilities will continue to atrophy. A vicious circle arises: they do not read because they cannot read well, and this does not improve because they do not read much (cf. Rosbrock/Nix 2008, p. 49).

Children with reading difficulties sit at school at the side of children who are willing to read, who can read foreign and difficult texts independently and fluently and also have fun. Since reading is not difficult for them, they prefer to read and therefore more frequently. Due to the frequency of reading, they can also get to know interesting books much faster, which again has a positive effect on reading motivation and reading skills are consolidated.

This can be extremely frustrating for the children with reading difficulties. If the teacher provides the weaker children with methods to improve their performance and an encouraging assessment of the learning success, the child will be more likely to be motivated by smaller successes to continue practicing reading.

An important task of the primary school in this context is to promote reading fluency and "to increase the processing energy, and on the other hand to open up independent experiences with writing media" (cf. Rosebrock/Nix 2008, p. 28). The children need a certainty in dealing with texts and the experience of a successful reading in order to be positive towards reading (cf. Bertschi-Kaufmann 2008b, p. 165).

As these problems have shown, the heterogeneity of the class is a challenge for the teacher. He encounters joy, frustration and equanimity. Weak readers who are reluctant to read due to their low reading skills should be tempted to read and "gernelesers" should be provided with an appealing reading offer. The possibilities available in school are further described in Chapter 5.

4.3 The meaning of gender: Reasons for motivation problems in boys

There are clear findings (cf. Richter/Plath 2005) on the relationship between gender and the expression of reading motivation. Female students seem to prefer to read more often than male ones. "The significantly lower motivation of boys to read stories and books decreases with increasing grade, the difference in reading motivation between the sexes increases from grade two to four" (Richter/Plath 2005, p. 43).

The results of PISA with regard to reading motivation, which is significantly lower among boys, also confirm this impression. On average, 46% of OECD countries agree with the statement that they only read when they have to. In Germany it is even 52% and compared to the girls with 26% significantly less (cf. Garbe 2005a, p. 10f.).

Studies also show that "under comparable socializing conditions" girls read more often than boys and develop a greater interest in reading (Lührs 2009, p. 3).

But where do these gender differences come from?

On the one hand, there are neuropsychological explanatory approaches. However, going into this would be too extensive for this work. Therefore, only the sociological explanations are discussed.

Areas of life such as family, kindergarten and school are predominantly feminized. In the family, the mother is the formative person and in school the mostly female teacher who is involved in the reading development of the child. As a result, fewer identification patterns are offered for the boys. Mothers, educators and teachers often unintentionally select types of texts and topics that tend to arise from their "female" interests (cf. Garbe 2008, p. 74). Reading is unconsciously seen as a "female activity" and this brings the boys in late childhood into conflict with the demands of the male gender role (cf. ibid.). The problem most likely lies in a socially mediated gender role belief: Reading is a girl's thing!

Most boys therefore see books as something girlish and therefore they want to differentiate themselves from reading, as well as from other girlish activities. "Typical male" themes such as adventure, heroism and role models are more likely to be found by the boys in computer games, in which they are usually introduced by the fathers. As a result, they generally detach themselves from the book and read.

Such gender differences in reading are not taken up enough in the classroom.

At school, fictional texts predominate, and you are more interested in the girls. As a result, there is a reluctance to read on the part of the boys, for whom information and factual texts are more popular. "A balanced distribution of both types of text would not only meet the interest of the boys, but would also have a positive effect on the informational reading of the girls" (cf. Lührs 2009, p. 49).

Teachers should perhaps build on existing strengths of male students, such as knowledge of special types of text such as magazines and hypertexts. Because often the reading of such non-school "male" genres and types of text is not perceived as reading by the school.

Teachers must see the boys as a problem group and, especially for them, have a long-term development of reading motivation, otherwise they will migrate to other media such as Gameboy, PC or Playstation and reading will only be regarded as a compulsory school event that has nothing to do with their own media leisure practice.

The promotion of reading motivation in the media network is particularly promising, as reading in a multimedia context is considerably more motivating, especially for young people, than in pure print media environments (cf. Garbe 2008, p. 81). "Especially in primary school, multimedia versions of stories prove to be attractive reading for boys who are on their way to becoming book readers. The opportunity to gain reading experiences on the screen thus strengthens and stabilizes above all the reading activity of the young" (cf. Bertschi-Kaufmann 2002, p. 153; cit. n. Garbe 2008, p. 81).

The teacher should not see the "new media" such as computers and the Internet in competition with the print media, but should also give the opportunity to gain reading experiences on the screen, as this would meet the inclinations of the boys. There are specially developed funding programs that integrate books and new media, such as the Internet program Antolin7 (

However, it should be mentioned at the end of this chapter that students should not only be considered as sexual beings, but also as individuals. The interests and competences of the young must therefore not be generalized but, if possible, explored with each individual boy.

5. Practical ways to promote reading motivation in the classroom

After the problems of reading motivation have been addressed and some funding opportunities have already been briefly addressed, support measures that are particularly suitable for primary school are now following. Reading night, reading diary, author readings, storyteller in class, use of the school library, reading competition, book presentation and much more are all reading animation measures that have the goal of building up reading motivation among the students. They are intended to help the student to develop his reading habits and personal interest in reading and thus to enable reading pleasure and a sense of achievement in the accomplishment of difficult texts. However, these measures will only have an effect if they are practiced permanently, in a diverse and differentiated way in everyday school life. Due to the scope, I will have to limit myself to 4 measures below.

In this context, however, it should not be forgotten that these measures do not affect the reading process and that reading competence is assumed for most. Therefore, the measures in chapters 5.2 and 5.4 are particularly suitable for children who no longer have reading difficulties but are not motivated to read despite their reading ability.

5.1 The stimulating reading environment

In order for students to be able to read at all, a good infrastructure is needed. The children should feel comfortable reading and find an environment that makes them want to do more. Books must be available to a sufficient extent and be easily accessible. A class library can make this possible. If books are not part of the familiar appearance in the class, it will be difficult to create a corresponding atmosphere in dealing with them (cf. Bünning 1981, p. 32).

A class library that makes books visible to the children can encourage them to leaf through a book, read it freely, and possibly take a book home with them. If the students have the opportunity to choose their reading material as freely as possible, the probability that they are interested in what is chosen also increases.

However, the purpose of a library to initiate recreational reading through a wide range of activities can only be achieved through an updated range of books geared to the interests and abilities of the children, so that every child can find his or her preferences for reading material. In addition, digital texts should e.g. CD-Roms, with the help of which stories can be experienced interactively, are included in the offer (cf. Rosebrock/Nix 2008, p. 103).

Setting up a reading corner in the classroom, where you can sit down comfortably with a book, would be complementary to the classroom library. "You can always observe children who like to crawl into a corner to read – to be completely alone with the book or to read to another child undisturbed" (cf. Spinner 2006, p. 15). Reading corners can support the reading behavior of the students beyond the reading lessons, as the children can also withdraw to them during breaks and free hours.

In a reading-stimulating environment, there should also be freely defined reading times in which the children simply "only" read. They are allowed to choose their own reading material and there is no task, but only the obligation to really read and not to do something else. The books that the children read do not become the subject of further teaching activities. Especially weaker readers benefit from the free reading hour, in which the children themselves find texts, which is most likely to guarantee that the child reads the reading repeatedly (cf. Schenk 2007, p. 224).

The presence of a class, school library and reading corner alone is not sufficient for the promotion of reading, because without incentives from the classroom, the books are not borrowed.

5.2 Children's books as class reading

As a possible reason for the decreasing enjoyment of reading lessons, Richter/Plath cite the discrepancy between children's reading preferences and the school learning offer (cf. 2005, p. 36). Too little consideration is given to the reading interest of the pupils. When selecting a reading, the focus is more on pedagogical and technical aspects. This disparity carries the risk of "[...] that the teaching of German has little consequences for the development of a reading motivation, because the selection of literature and the type of literature treatment ignore the interests of young people" (ibid. p. 77).

In addition, it was confirmed that in many primary school classes not even one complete text is read per year (see Richter/Plath 2005, p. 76). For children who are not brought into contact with the world of books at home, this means that they are not given the chance to shoot themselves in this world at school (cf. Gabe 2005, p. 21).

These findings make it clear how important it is to include children's and young adult books more closely in the classroom and thus to build a bridge between school and leisure reading. From a student-oriented point of view, it is precisely the children's and youth books that are "experience has shown that these are among the most exciting topics of teaching for the pupils". (cf. Vohland 1979, p. 7; cit. n. Sahr/Born 2000, p. 1)

The release of the "Harry Potter books", for example, has shown that children have found their way back to their joy of reading by reading these volumes. When choosing books that are read in class, the interests of the children must therefore be taken into account more and this requires a sensitivity on the part of the teachers. The Richter/Plath study confirmed that adventure books and non-fiction books are preferred by children of different ages and of both sexes, but that this genre is very rarely chosen by teachers (cf. Richter/Plath 2005, p. 64).

Occasionally, a children's book should be read together as class reading. It would be advisable to let the children have a say in the election.8 Reading a full text can be a balance to the reading book or the first reading bible, which often "only" teach reading and do not create motivation for wide reading.

The teacher himself must also show the joy of reading this book to his class, because after all, he, just like the parents, is a reading model. In addition, the task of the teacher is to implement the corresponding lessons didactically appropriate. The time frame must be taken into account so that there is no weariness and boredom in the children.

For example, a reading box can be chosen by the teacher as an introduction to arouse the curiosity of his students for reading (see chapter 5.4.).

But one thing is certain, purely in terms of scope and with regard to the different reading skills of the students, many children's books are not an easy subject of instruction.

5.3 Reading aloud and author encounters

The IGLU study has found that German schools read aloud the least in an international comparison (cf. Lankes et al. 2004, p. 36). This also becomes clear when one considers the framework curriculum German for the primary level in Rhineland-Palatinate. The teacher's reading aloud and its meaning is not listed at all. Yet it is precisely the reading experiences that give the best prediction of a later reading success and the most effective method to make children want to read (cf. Schenk 2007, p. 225). The vast majority of children love it when they can immerse theself in a story and "only" have to listen. When reading aloud, the children's minds create their own images of a story. This is particularly fascinating for children and for many one of the main reasons to pick up the book at all (cf. Richter/Plath 2005, p. 9).

Especially in the initial lessons of primary school, it is often not yet possible for the children to read interesting texts and stories, because they still lack the reading skills and reading skills and only a faltering reading is possible. Especially in this situation, it is important that the teacher lays the foundations for the motivation to read aloud by reading books (cf. ibid. p. 8).

If a teacher himself is enthusiastic about a book, this enthusiasm can often be transferred to the children when reading aloud. Children who have never understood books from home as something exciting, reassuring and interesting could gain these experiences, especially in reading situations. Because there they realize that it is worthwhile to learn to read and to take on some reading efforts.

Of course, the reading texts must appeal to the children and therefore be deliberately selected for the respective class. They were supposed to tell of heroines and heroes with whom girls and boys can identify.

Getting to know an author who has written a book that inspires the children can lead to an even stronger reading motivation.

Through intensive contact with the author, the students experience direct access to texts. The children are allowed to ask the author questions and thus gain insights into his profession with its requirements and difficulties.

You will get to know the process of creating literary texts and the reflections as well as the personal experiences of the writer, which have influenced the creation of the respective book. The author is talked about the topics presented in his books, which often have to do with the experiences of the students, where experience has shown that the motivation for reading can be successfully strengthened. Author encounters can help students to discover literature as something that concerns them and in which they find their interests, desires, problems (cf. Conrady/Wiemer/ Friedrich-Bödecker-Kreis 2008, p. 60).

"Some children only realize through an author encounter that behind a story is a person who conceived it... Often it is not even the text or image content that occupies the children after the 'enjoyment' of what has been read or shown, but rather the person who is 'behind it'" (cf. Franz/Maar 2006; p. 149; zit. n. Conrady/Wiemer 2008, p. 37).

The boys often feel addressed by author readings, as they find a male reading model, especially in the author. "The approach to literature is different from that in German lessons and manages to appeal to a large proportion of young people and to impress them more, at least in the short term." (cf. Conrady/Wiemer 2008, p. 56).

Empirical studies have shown that reading motivation can be increased by author readings. 79% of the students surveyed liked the author reading very much, with boys and girls agreeing (cf. Conrady/Wiemer 2008, p. 37). 74% of third and fourth graders wanted to read a book by the author after the author reading (ibid. p. 40) and there are 10% who have read a book by the author in their spare time half a year after an author encounter (ibid.). In the children who are already motivated to read from the outset, these encounters can consolidate an existing positive attitude to reading.

However, effective author encounters can only be achieved with meaningful preparation and follow-up. This is where the teacher has to take action.

In order to motivate children to read permanently, however, such encounters must be accompanied by other support measures. Because author readings alone will not necessarily be able to turn "non-readers" into "frequent readers". However, the positive effects cannot be dismissed out of hand, because "author encounters bring more literature into school in a different way" (cf. Conrady/Wiemer 2008, p. 57).

5.4 Reading pleasure with the reading box

Although the reading box is a somewhat less well-known support measure, it is just as proven a way to get children to read. The idea is to challenge students' reading processes in a creative way. An advantage over the author reading is the fact that they are practically free of charge, easy to obtain and can be realized in different pedagogical-didactic connections.

A shoebox is filled before, during or after the individual, in a group, or with the whole class with objects that have played a role in the reading or that were addressed in the text. For example, the box contains a pinch of salt with which the main character seasoned the soup or a handkerchief that little Sams pulled out of the jacket pocket and then ate up.

This means that an initially empty shoebox becomes a reading-promoting reading box through read-relevant objects and a corresponding context (cf. Knobloch 2002, p. 3). "Objects serve the anticipation of the text, the motivation, the concretization, the action- and production-oriented examination of the text through illustration or creative writing and above all as an occasion for a quite complex communication process about the text" (cf. Knobloch 2002, p. 5).

Suitable items must be searched for and borrowed at home: Items such as moss, tablet packs, envelope, comb, pieces of wood, pasta or sand. By searching for this material at home and confeming it, the child may have to explain this to the parents and a literary communication process is created. The family takes part in the examination of a book (cf. ibid.). The book gets a concrete reference to the world of the students: "from the level of fiction to the level of reality" (ibid.). A small treasure chest is created and thus reading is also considered something valuable.

On the one hand, the reading box can serve as a motivating introduction before reading a complete font, because "in order to provoke curiosity and expectations and to initiate a strong reading drive, a motivating presentation of the book is important" (cf. Landherr 1984, p. 57; cit. n. Knobloch p. 8). As an introduction, the box can be opened in front of the class and the students discover objects that they only know are important for the course of the book's plot. Together, the possible meaning and purpose of the objects can then be discussed. Only in the course of reading does the actual relationship of the box to the book become revealed. When making the selection, it is of course important that the teacher takes into account that the relationship between text and subject matter is easily comprehensible.

But other possibilities would also be conceivable. Thus, reading boxes must not only be created for readings dealt with in class, but can also be created for individually different books that are read at home. With the help of the objects, a pupil presents his favourite book or the last book read and "makes his reading tangible for others" (cf. Knobloch 2002, p. 10).

But there can always be children who cannot be motivated to read despite the reading box. Especially children with reading difficulties can feel overwhelmed with such a reading box. And it could also be that the interest and motivation decreases if a reading box is created for every book that has been mentioned or treated in class.

6. Summary and conclusion

This homework shows that parents and schools can significantly influence whether a child's reading motivation develops or not.

The decisive factor is in which socio-economic milieu a person grew up, how the reading behaviour of reference persons such as parents, friends and teachers was experienced and how school performance feedback was processed in connection with reading.

As the family is less and less able to promote the children's motivation to read, the school is increasingly given the task of compensating for this deficiency. With the help of reading animation procedures, unmotivated readers can find the desire to read again. The teacher has the task of differentiating the enormous variety of these procedures and checking whether they are suitable for the respective class.

Uniform support measures must be critically scrutinized, since the gender differences have shown that some procedures motivate part of the class to read, but in others this measure is rejected.

Problematic are children from educationally disadvantaged homes, who cannot be easily motivated to read. Because often a vicious circle arises with them, because they are not motivated to read due to failures, which will not improve their reading ability. The children need security when dealing with texts in order to be positive about reading.

In addition to promoting reading motivation, reading techniques and reading strategies must therefore also be developed and promoted among the pupils. Therefore, reading motivation cannot be the only goal of reading lessons, because it will not be effective if the reading competence is too poorly developed.

When selecting the motivation support measures, the teacher should therefore also make sure that not only the students with strong reading experience benefit from it, but also that the living environment and needs of children from educationally disadvantaged families are taken into account. In addition, more attention must be paid to gender differences in reading motivation and thus support measures must be selected by the teacher that are equally attractive for boys and girls.

Support measures often have an effect if they have been part of a well-established school reading culture for years, in which books and texts are omnipresent, so that schools can also effectively compensate students from low-stimulation homes.

Most of the literature I have read for this term paper puts the importance of the family in the development of reading motivation above that of school. In order to effectively provide children with a stable motivation to read, school and parents must therefore work better together. The school should not "only" promote reading motivation of children but also find ways to engage as many parents as possible for reading. It must be made clear to them how important their reading model is. This could be done, for example, in the form of letters that explain practical suggestions and age-specific peculiarities for reading. Parents could also be informed about simple practices of motivation promotion in individual discussions and parents' evenings. Especially in primary school, there are many opportunities for successful parent work.

Finally, I would like to say that not all factors that influence reading motivation can be improved and therefore not every person can become an enthusiastic reader. Other factors, such as the child's personality, simply play a role in this. Nevertheless, the school and families should work together to increase the number of readers and to awaken and consolidate lifelong reading motivation in the students. School cannot do more than open up access to the world of books and promote reading skills; "the children then have to walk the opened paths on their own" (cf. Garbe 2005a, p. 22).


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1 PISA 2000: international comparative study on performance review with a focus on reading

2 In this work, instead of the female and male forms, I used only the male form so as not to interfere with the flow of reading. In all cases, however, this refers to both the male and female sex.

3 the group of peers

4 IGLU is an international study that examines children's reading comprehension skills at the end of the fourth grade.

5 In PISA, reading competence means understanding, using and reflecting on written texts in order to achieve one's own goals, to further develop one's own knowledge and potential and to participate in social life. (Artelt et al. 2001, p.80).

6 The number of divorces, working mothers and single parents is growing steadily.

7 "Antolin" is a program designed to encourage reading complete fonts and capturing the contents of the book, in which quiz questions on different levels of difficulty can be answered on the computer for over 20,000 books. If the student answers questions about the complete text he has read correctly, he will be rewarded with points, which can increase the motivation to read. Since the teacher has access to the student data, these can provide him with information about the development of his students and point out strengths and deficits (cf. Schenk 2007, p.202).

8 The teacher can, for example, learn about the students' favourite books in a discussion round and select three or four of them and offer them to the class to choose from (cf. Sahr 2000, p. 57).

Excerpt out of 26 pages


Promoting Reading Motivation in Primary School
Practical Measures to Promote Motivation and Gender-Specific Motivation Problems
University of Koblenz-Landau
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promoting, reading, motivation, primary, school, practical, measures, promote, gender-specific, problems
Quote paper
Sarah Junge (Author), 2009, Promoting Reading Motivation in Primary School, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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