"Youth Magazines Have Great Potential for Promoting Reading"

So much for children and young people only using their cell phones or tablets and spending hours watching TikTok videos! A new study from Germany ("Kids-Medien-Kompass" by Blue Ocean Entertainment Verlag) proves this: primary school children also enjoy reading magazines. "Magazines open up educational opportunities," says Sabine Uehlein, Managing Director of Programs at the Stiftung Lesen (German Reading Foundation), underlining the great importance of reading print products.
From "Mickey Mouse" from Egmont-Verlag to "Princess Lillifee" published by Blue Ocean Entertainment AG and "Dein Spiegel", the news magazine for children from Spiegel-Verlag – the range of printed children's magazines is huge. And, according to Sabine Uehlein, they have "great potential for promoting reading".
Popular special interest magazines
Magazines are still exciting for young people too. Around 14% of them pick up a magazine every day or several times a week (JIM Study 2022) According to the literature and journalism researcher, there are several reasons why magazines are still popular: "Children's and youth magazines are versatile, up-to-date and low-threshold. They contain different types of short and snappy texts and they are visually strong. This makes them easier to grasp and appeals in particular to children and young people who don't usually read that much. Tip for parents: For children aged around four to five, the feel – keyword: thicker paper – also plays an important role."
Sabine Uehlein is convinced that there is a suitable magazine for every child or young person. "Animals always work at primary school age, but also sport because of the role model function for children. Later on, other topics such as politics or the environment are added." Most of these are special interest magazines – a concept that also works very well for adults.
"Young people simply live the media mix"
It is not uncommon for young people to read magazines on topics they are familiar with from TV series or digital media. For example, the computer game Fortnite is accompanied by the magazine "Battle Royale". And children can accompany the TV show "Sam the Fireman" not only with YouTube videos, but also with a magazine of the same name.
Whether digital media inspire print products or vice versa is irrelevant, according to Sabine Uehlein. "This question doesn't even arise. Young people simply live the media mix. The goal is much more important: to promote reading skills. Being able to understand texts is crucial for later life. Without reading skills, you won't understand the context – and you won't get any further with computer games because you don't understand the instructions. In a nutshell: being able to read makes a difference in life!"

Sabine Uehlein, Managing Director of Programs at the Stiftung Lesen (German Reading Foundation)

21 years of "Magazines in the schools"
Stiftung Lesen is a central pillar in Germany for promoting reading skills and thus increasing educational opportunities for young people. To motivate young people to read with magazines, it launched the nationwide "Magazines in Schools" campaign in 2003. Over the past 21 years, together with the Gesamtverband Pressegroßhandel e. V. and the Medienverband der freien Presse e. V., it has delivered over 11 million magazines to more than 6 million pupils. Currently, around 9,000 classes at secondary and vocational schools receive a total of over 400,000 magazines free of charge. Teachers also receive suitable teaching materials to help them make the best possible use of the magazines.
The patron of the campaign is Claudia Roth. For the Minister of State for Culture and the Media, reading is – as she emphasized on the 20th anniversary of the 2023 campaign – "the key to education and at the same time an important basic skill for a vibrant democracy. Reading allows us to access a wide range of sources and perspectives and to form our own opinions."
In addition to the "Magazines in Schools" campaign, Stiftung Lesen is working with the BNP Paribas Foundation to provide magazines for children and young people who have had to flee their home countries. After all, new languages are best learned when it is fun
 and young people are picked up in their own living environments. "Magazines that report on our country and our society offer young people support in learning German and orientation in a country that is new to them," says Sabine Uehlein.
You can also read these articles on the subject of printed texts and reading comprehension on the Muller Martini website