Academic journal article Science and Children

Schools, Genetics Play Role in Child's Reading Ability

Academic journal article Science and Children

Schools, Genetics Play Role in Child's Reading Ability

Article excerpt

Good genes can give a child a head start when learning to read. But it's not enough to overcome the effects of a poorly rated school, according to new research that looked at whether schools or genetics play a greater role in influencing a child's ability to read.

The study indicates that while attending a top, or "A," school will help a child's natural intellectual abilities flourish, that same child might falter if he or she attended a school with a lower ranking.

"The letter grade a school receives has such power--from the funding the school will receive to the autonomy it is allowed to the home prices around the school and real estate purchases," says Sara Hart, an author of the study.

The study sought to see how students do in different learning environments and whether school rankings reflected a child's reading performance. It found that genetic factors had a greater influence on pre-reading skills for students who attended "A" schools than on children who attended lesser-ranked schools. In lower-ranked schools, environmental factors appeared to be more varied, leading to inconsistency in pre-reading skills among students.

The researchers examined 1,313 sets of twins in kindergarten through third grade who were given five reading assessment tests, including knowing the letters of the alphabet, recognizing and producing the first letter of a word, segmenting a word into groups of syllables, fluidly reading text, and correctly reading syllables of made-up words. …

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