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Does reading to children enhance their educational success?: Short- and long-term effects of reading to children in early childhood on their language abilities, reading behavior and school marks

Drawing on two unique German datasets, we explore the possible short- and long-term effects that reading aloud in early childhood has on children's language abilities, their reading behavior, and their school marks in kindergarten and at the end of both primary and secondary school. By applying propensity score matching, we found a positive effect of reading on the language abilities of preschool children and of students at the end of primary school. Additionally, a high frequency of reading to children in early childhood positively affects their own reading behavior. However, differences in reading in early childhood appear to be unrelated to school marks in the subject of German language at the end of primary school. Furthermore, we found no long-term effects of reading among secondary school leavers. Overall, our results confirm positive immediate and mid-term effects, but hardly any long-term effects, of reading to children during their early childhood. (author abstract)
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