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Genetics play small role in reading skills

07/06/2013 Joanna
The genetic makeup of children only plays a small role in their reading ability. 

Researchers from the Institute of Education analysed data from the Avon Longitudinal Study to see if there is a relationship between kids from a lower social background and poor reading skills, the BBC reports. 

They discovered genes only accounted for two per cent of the achievement gap between those from the highest and lowest social background, highlighting the importance of people in the teaching profession when it comes to developing these attributes. 

As part of the study, reading tests taken by kids of seven, nine and 11 years of age were looked at, with the results divided into five socio-economic groups, while three different genes were considered. Kids with professional parents got an average of 60 out of 100, while children with unskilled parents typically scored 42.

This is in contrast to previous research in the area. For example, an earlier study suggested 75 per cent of the variation in children's reading skills is based on genetic factors.

Dr John Jerriam told the news provider: "We were thinking that there would be a comprehensive and substantial link because of previous research, but that's not what we found.

"It is a very small difference and it may come back to the fact that we can only look at these three genes. Many more genes maybe implicated in the reading process - possibly hundreds, each with small independent effects."

This demonstrates how important it is for primary school teachers to help kids along the way. For example, research by Oxford and York universities has discovered the phonics tests introduced in 2012 for six-year-olds in England is working well when it comes to identifying children who are struggling to read.

Once those in teachers jobs have established who needs assistance, they can come up with specific plans to boost the skills of the children in danger of falling behind. 

Posted by Theo FouldsADNFCR-2164-ID-801596032-ADNFCR
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