Welcome to “Lesestart – Three Reading Milestones!”

“Lesestart – Three Reading Milestones” is a program to promote language and reading that is geared to the very young. It is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and run by Stiftung Lesen.
Learn everything you need to know about Lesestart, the program that promotes reading and reading aloud. Have a look through our reading recommendations to find books for every age and liking.
In addition, in our parent section you will find many tips and tricks on reading aloud, coloring pages as well as rhymes.

Greeting from the Federal Minister of Education and Research

(c) BMBF

Dear Parents,
Your child’s first steps, the first day of kindergarten and the first written words are all milestones in the development of a child and are vivid memories in the minds of all parents. Children never again learn as much as they do in their first few years of life. Happiness and pride go hand in hand with every new discovery your child makes and the skills he or she acquires. These are moments that demonstrate just how inquisitive children are, that they want to be a part of the world and shape it. You as parents support your children on this path and prepare them for life’s challenges.

The ability to read and write well is the key to learning at school. Looking at books together and reading aloud help foster childhood development and language in a playful way. Concentrating, expanding vocabulary and understanding contexts are all foundations of education that are trained automatically while reading aloud. At the same time, your child feels closeness and security.

The Lesestart project which is funded by the Ministry of Education and Research and run by Stiftung Lesen encourages you to master the milestone of reading together with your child starting from the initial interest in books to the first library visit all the way through to reading independently.
I wish you and your children much enjoyment and every success in this endeavor.

Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka, MdB
Federal Ministry of Education and Research


The Reading Start Sets

The complementary Reading Start (Lesestart) sets, which contain an age-appropriate children’s book and a guide with tips and information on reading aloud and storytelling in everyday family life, are the heart of Reading Start (Lesestart). The sets help embed reading aloud and storytelling in daily family life and motivate children to read on their own.

Set I

Set II

Set III


The Reading Start (Lesestart) Ambassadors

What connects Ranga Yogeshwar and Steffi Jones? What do The BossHoss and Motsi Mabuse have in common?
They are among the numerous outstanding personalities from different areas in public life who are active as Reading Start (Lesestart) ambassadors!
Here they reveal why reading aloud and storytelling are one of the most wonderful family moments.

See here


Reading Recommendations: Books and Media Tips for Children

Are you looking for children’s books that will be enjoyable for your children? Are you looking for more tips about reading aloud?

Use our search function that allows you to search by topic and age group. By clicking on bookmark, you can put together your own tips on children’s books for downloading.

And in your local library you will find many exciting children’s books to read aloud together and talk about. Drop by and have a look!


For Parents

Many adults are uncertain when it comes to reading aloud and ask themselves questions like:

  • Why should they read to their children?
  • Does it make sense to read to very young children?
  • Do they read aloud enough?
  • What is the right way to read aloud?
  • How do you find time to read aloud in hectic daily life
  • What do you do if your own child has little interest in reading aloud?

Answers to these questions along with read-aloud tips, a media center with lots of videos, different coloring pages as well as songs, rhymes and finger games are in the parent section.

If you like, you can also register for our newsletter. This way you will always be the first to know about what’s new at Lesestart.


Tips for reading

  1. Find a comfortable spot for reading - your child will love the cozy atmosphere.
  2. Choose a good time for reading and looking at picture books: e.g. an inactive phase during the day or before going to bed.
  3. Read regularly so that reading will become an integral part of your everyday family life.
  4. Be patient with your child. Respond to his or her reactions, questions and needs. When reading a picture book, everything your child is concerned with can be discussed quite openly.
  5. Also let your child choose books. Respond to his or her interests and wishes and read his or her favorite book over and over again.
  6. When talking to your child in other everyday situations, refer to picture books and stories.
  7. Read to your child in the language you speak best. This also applies to storytelling.

Don’t forget:

Each child is different and has different wishes and needs which will change over time. You know best what your child likes and what is good for him or her!


The Lesestart Apps – Free download

Reading aloud and telling stories are important building blocks to sparking children’s interest in language and reading at an early age. In addition to printed picture books, picture book apps are another great way to encourage young readers.
For this reason, the Lesestart program offers a selection of Lesestart apps free of charge for parents with children from one to six years of age.