A new study of identical twins has found that early reading skill might positively affect later intellectual abilities. The study, in the journal Child Development, was conducted by researchers at the University of Edinburgh and King's College London.
"Since reading is an ability that can be improved, our findings have implications for reading instruction," according to Stuart J. Ritchie, research fellow in psychology at the University of Edinburgh, who led the study. "Early remediation of reading problems might aid not only the growth of literacy, but also more general cognitive abilities that are of critical importance across the lifespan."
Researchers looked at 1,890 identical twins who were part of the Twins Early Development Study, an ongoing longitudinal study in the United Kingdom whose participants were representative of the population as a whole.
They examined scores from tests of reading and intelligence taken when the twins were 7, 9, 10, 12, and 16. Using a statistical model, they tested whether differences in reading ability between each pair of twins were linked to later differences in intelligence, taking into account earlier differences in intelligence.
Because each pair of identical twins shared all their genes as well as a home environment, any differences between them had to be because of experiences that the twins didn't share, such as a particularly effective teacher or a group of friends that encouraged reading.
The researchers found that earlier differences in reading between the twins were linked to later differences in intelligence. Reading was associated not only with measures of verbal intelligence (such as vocabulary tests) but with measures of nonverbal intelligence as well (such as reasoning tests).
The differences in reading that were linked to differences in later intelligence were present by age 7, which may indicate that even early reading skills affect intellectual development.
"If, as our results imply, reading causally influences intelligence, the implications for educators are clear," suggests Ritchie. "Children who don't receive enough assistance in learning to read may also be missing out on the important, intelligence-boosting properties of literacy."
Besides having implications for educational intervention, the study may address the question of why individual children from one family can score differently on intelligence tests, despite sharing genes, socioeconomic status, and the educational level and personality of parents with their siblings.
The study was funded by the UK Medical Research Council, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the European Research Council.
Summarized from Child Development, Does Learning to Read Improve Intelligence? A Longitudinal Multivariate Analysis in Identical Twins From Age 7 to 16 by Ritchie, SJ, Bates, TC (University of Edinburgh), and Plomin, R (King's College London).
Copyright 2014 The Society for Research in Child Development, Inc. All rights reserved.
Hannah Klein | Eurek Alert!
Risk-taking propensity changes, especially in young adulthood and in older age
29.01.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
Designing a pop-up future
27.01.2016 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Automobiles increase the mobility of their users. However, their maneuverability is pushed to the limit by cramped inner city conditions. Those who need to...
Advance in biomedical imaging: The University of Würzburg's Biocenter has enhanced fluorescence microscopy to label and visualise up to nine different cell structures simultaneously.
Fluorescence microscopy allows researchers to visualise biomolecules in cells. They label the molecules using fluorescent probes, excite them with light and...
NASA's follow-on to the successful ICESat mission will employ a never-before-flown technique for determining the topography of ice sheets and the thickness of sea ice, but that won't be the only first for this mission.
Slated for launch in 2018, NASA's Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) also will carry a 3-D printed part made of polyetherketoneketone (PEKK),...
In the last decades, sea level has been rising continuously – about 3.3 mm per year. For reef islands such as the Maldives or the Marshall Islands a sinister picture is being painted evoking the demise of the island states and their cultures. Are the effects of sea-level rise already noticeable on reef islands? Scientists from the ZMT have now answered this question for the Takuu Atoll, a group of Pacific islands, located northeast of Papua New Guinea.
In the last decades, sea level has been rising continuously – about 3.3 mm per year. For reef islands such as the Maldives or the Marshall Islands a sinister...
The ‘Internet of Things’ is growing rapidly. Mobile phones, washing machines and the milk bottle in the fridge: the idea is that minicomputers connected to these will be able to process information, receive and send data. This requires electrical power. Transistors that are capable of switching information with a single electron use far less power than field effect transistors that are commonly used in computers. However, these innovative electronic switches do not yet work at room temperature. Scientists working on the new EU research project ‘Ions4Set’ intend to change this. The program will be launched on February 1. It is coordinated by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR).
“Billions of tiny computers will in future communicate with each other via the Internet or locally. Yet power consumption currently remains a great obstacle”,...
02.02.2016 | Event News
26.01.2016 | Event News
26.01.2016 | Event News
05.02.2016 | Life Sciences
05.02.2016 | Materials Sciences
05.02.2016 | Physics and Astronomy