Now and then I’m trying to recall memories from my childhood when learning to read. It was a bit of a struggle, took a long time and the texts were boring and without any touch of interest. I remember when I was trying to make sense of sentences as “Sisi saw the sun”. It is dangerous for the eyes to watch the sun without sunglasses! Meaningless texts did not increase interest in learning to read. My mother helped me at home, and we read other short and interesting texts, and discussed the meaning of words and sentences. Gradually I became a reader, reading all sorts of children’s books and even magazines. My grandmother gave me the first poetry book, which she loved and talked about. At the age of 10 I read the poems again and again. Later she gave me more books and sometimes we listened novels read on radio together. – Literacy became my lifelong work, teaching, doing research and lecturing. Often, I have been thinking about the role of the home in the literacy development of children.
Since the end of summer 2015, more than one million refugees have come to Germany, fleeing wars, terrorism, economic hardship or climate change in Africa (Schlechter et al. 2019). In the light of this migration movement, the situation in schools in Germany has also changed significantly. School systems are straining to meet the needs of these newcomers, trying to put together quality programmes that will meet their needs (Law & Eckes 2010). In this article, a part of a possible quality programme will be shown, one that was developed for the purpose of supporting a German secondary school in meeting these challenges within the framework of a five-way model of school improvement. The model’s focus is on the development of staff, instruction, organization, cooperation, and family engagement with regard to students with German as a second language. The main focus in this article is set on family engagement development as one of the five elements.