Zur Nutzung von Laut- bzw. Anlauttabellen im Deutschunterricht der Grundschule
In current debates the media, policy makers and scientists are aiming to identify factors explaining negative trends in the orthography competencies of German primary school students. Especially a concept making use of initial sound tables and the method “reading by writing“ is often identified as a core factor. However empirical studies backing these claims are rare and contradictory. Also very little is known about the actual use of initial sound tables in primary schools. In this article we provide an overview of empirical studies on the effectiveness of the use of initial sound tables and the concept “reading by writing“. We then present data from a short teacher survey on the use of initial sound tables in German classes, which was realized as an extension to the PIRLS 2016 and is therefore representative for German primary schools. According to this survey about 70 % of all Grade 4 learners of 2016 have been exposed to initial sound tables as part of their German lessons throughout primary school. About half of these learners were asked to work almost every lesson with these tables in their first one-half years of schooling. We also find that teachers who work with sound tables differ in their beliefs about when student’s spelling mistakes should be corrected. In addition we find that the majority of teachers report to combine the use of sound tables with other materials, such as basic readers. We argue especially this finding should guide future designs of studies aiming to compare the effectiveness of different methods as most of the current studies possibly wrongly assume a distinctive or at least dominant use of initial sound tables or basic readers.