We gratefully acknowledge the ongoing contribution of the participants in the Twins Early Development Study (TEDS) and their families. TEDS is supported by the UK Medical Research Council (G0901245; and previously G0500079), with additional support from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (HD044454, HD059215). R.P. is supported by a Medical Research Council Research Professorship award (G19/2) and a European Research Council Advanced Investigator award (295366).
Empirical Report: Accepted Under Cynthia Garcia Coll's Editorship
Does Learning to Read Improve Intelligence? A Longitudinal Multivariate Analysis in Identical Twins From Age 7 to 16
Version of Record online: 24 JUL 2014
© 2014 The Authors. Child Development published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Society for Research in Child Development.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Volume 86, Issue 1, pages 23–36, January/February 2015
How to Cite
Ritchie, S. J., Bates, T. C. and Plomin, R. (2015), Does Learning to Read Improve Intelligence? A Longitudinal Multivariate Analysis in Identical Twins From Age 7 to 16. Child Development, 86: 23–36. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12272
- Issue online: 14 FEB 2015
- Version of Record online: 24 JUL 2014
- UK Medical Research Council. Grant Numbers: G0901245, G0500079
- U.S. National Institutes of Health. Grant Numbers: HD044454, HD059215
- Medical Research Council Research Professorship. Grant Number: G19/2
- European Research Council Advanced Investigator. Grant Number: 295366
Evidence from twin studies points to substantial environmental influences on intelligence, but the specifics of this influence are unclear. This study examined one developmental process that potentially causes intelligence differences: learning to read. In 1,890 twin pairs tested at 7, 9, 10, 12, and 16 years, a cross-lagged monozygotic-differences design was used to test for associations of earlier within-pair reading ability differences with subsequent intelligence differences. The results showed several such associations, which were not explained by differences in reading exposure and were not restricted to verbal cognitive domains. The study highlights the potentially important influence of reading ability, driven by the nonshared environment, on intellectual development and raises theoretical questions about the mechanism of this influence.