Posted on February 10, 2006

Genes Influence Reading Skills: Study

AAP, Feb 8, 2006

Genetics can play a bigger role in determining a child’s reading ability than teaching, an Australian researcher says.

An international study showed some children were born with “an unfortunate deal of the genetic deck” when it comes to reading skills, said study co-author Brian Byrne, professor of psychology at the University of New England in northern NSW.

No “magic bullet” of encouragement and tutoring would fully improve their reading abilities, he said.

Published in the latest issue of the British-based Journal of Research in Reading, the study showed the influence of parents reading to their children diminished significantly a year or so after they started school.

“The home environment doesn’t leave its mark much on children as they start to go through school, which is surprising to a lot of people,” Byrne said.

“What seems to determine most of the differences amongst children, just in the normal school setting in terms of their reading skills, are genetics.”

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