Longitudinal stability in reading comprehension is largely heritable from grades 1 to 6

Brooke Soden, Micaela E. Christopher, Jacqueline Hulslander, Richard K. Olson, Laurie Cutting, Janice M. Keenan, Lee A. Thompson, Sally J. Wadsworth, Erik G. Willcutt, Stephen A. Petrill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Reading comprehension is a foundational academic skill and significant attention has focused on reading development. This report is the first to examine the stability and change in genetic and environmental influences on reading comprehension across Grades 1 to 6. This developmental range is particularly important because it encompasses the timespan in which most children move from learning how to read to using reading for learning. Longitudinal simplex models were fitted separately for two independent twin samples (N = 706; N = 976). Results suggested that the shared environment contributed to variance in early but not later reading. Instead, stability in reading development was largely mediated by continuous genetic influences. Thus, although reading is clearly a learned skill and the environment remains important for reading development, individual differences in reading comprehension appear to be also influenced by a core of genetic stability that persists through the developmental course of reading.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0113807
JournalPLoS One
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 20 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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