Against this background, a multivariate analysis based on the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) was conducted to analyse how daily reading out at the age of six years and reading at the age of ten years affect school grades four years later as well as the transition to secondary education. In order to determine the causal relationship, it was controlled for the family background of the children, since this can influence reading behaviour as well as school success. As a result, children who read daily at the age of ten years are 10 percent more likely to attend German high-track secondary schools when they reach the age of fourteen. There is also a positive effect in the order of three percentage points for daily reading at the age of six. However, due to the large measurement inaccuracy, it cannot be completely ruled out that there is no connection at all. The situation is different when it comes to the grade in the subject German at the age of ten, which is 0.18 better for the children who got regularly read out at the age of six. If children at the age of 10 years read in their leisure time daily, their grade in German at age fourteen is by 0.21 better, which equals almost a quarter of a grade. Amounting to 0.25, the effect on the grade in the first foreign language is even slightly larger. The grades in mathematics also tend to be better for children who have been read out and who read daily.
In order to maximize the benefits of reading, the promotion of reading in kindergartens and primary schools should be significantly expanded. Volunteer readers are already making a major contribution here and their commitment should be further promoted. Especially, in kindergartens and schools with a large share of children with parental homes in which reading and reading out is rare, the regular staff should promote reading more and the staff should be increased accordingly. If primary school children are successfully motivated to read regularly, they are also more likely to do so in their youth. According to multivariate analyses based on the SOEP, the reading biographies have a high degree of continuity once children are able to read themselves, whereas the influence of the family background decreases with age.