Why children differ in their reading and related skills: answers from identical and fraternal twins.
Speaker : Professor Richard Olson, Department of Psychology, University of Colorado, USA.
Date : 27th of November 2012, 12:30PM until 2:00PM
Location : C5C498 - Palermo Room, Macquarie University.
Children learn to read through their home and school environments, and it is often assumed that variation in these environments is the main reason why children differ in their reading and related skills. This assumption is questioned by studies comparing the similarities of identical and fraternal twins who share their family environment but differ in their genetic similarity. I will focus first on results from twins tested for reading disability and ADHD in the Colorado Learning Disabilities Research Center, and second on results from the International Longitudinal Twin Study that includes unselected samples from Australia, Colorado, and Scandinavia. Both studies show that genes are the main average influence on individual differences and deficits in reading, but the environment may be most important for some individuals in these samples, and on average in other population samples with greater environmental variation. Implications of the results will be discussed for remediating reading disabilities and for public education policy that demands grade-level performance for all children.
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