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Old 02-13-2006, 06:29 AM   #1
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The Reading Gene?

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."

The research examined more than 600 pairs of identical and non-identical twins in Australia, the United States, Norway and Sweden from different racial and socio-economic backgrounds.

Byrne said bed-time stories early in a child's life, encouragement to read and remedial teaching would never totally make up for a child's genetic "bad deal".

"It just reinforces the idea that teaching is going to need to be more intensive for some children and it's probably going to have to be continued for a fair bit of their early schooling," he said.

"There's no single magic bullet that's going to fix their kids up."

Byrne said good genes for reading did not wholly determine a child's intelligence or success at school.

"We are not saying that genes are the whole story by any means and maybe account for something like 70% of the variability amongst children.

"This leaves a fair chunk left over for parent-encouraged activities and school-encouraged activities," he said.

The formulation of tests which would determine whether children needed extra help was still some years away, Byrne said.

Interesting concept, it did take me a while to get reading in primary school - but once I "got it" I was on top all the way through high school. I don't think that grammar was properly taught at the primary level and that really made it difficult to understand foreign languages in high school, it was only last year when I read a book on the principles of grammar that I was able to get ahead and understand what I was doing in Greek.

For a flashback to how things used to be taught here is the 1955 exam taken by Queensland schoolchildren.

Take the test

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Old 02-13-2006, 04:38 PM   #2
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I have some thoughts on this thread....but I will be late for church..

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Old 02-13-2006, 05:18 PM   #3
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Re: The Reading Gene?

Take the test [/B]


LOVE how colonialist it is.
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Old 02-13-2006, 05:26 PM   #4
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"There's no single magic bullet that's going to fix their kids up."

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Old 02-13-2006, 05:30 PM   #5
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Old 02-13-2006, 05:35 PM   #6
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Re: The Reading Gene?

Originally posted by A_Wanderer
For a flashback to how things used to be taught here is the 1955 exam taken by Queensland schoolchildren.

Take the test
I wonder how many (or how few) students today would understand these questions.
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Old 02-13-2006, 08:21 PM   #7
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I would be interested to see the difference in this test today's version versus this 1955 version. I do believe that reading should be encouraged in the home from a very early age-this helps keep children interested in reading. Unfortunately too many households today are too busy to devote enough time to reading books, especially with so many people allowing their kids to watch TV, play video games and have access to the internet.

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