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The socio-economic gradient in children's reading skills and the role of genetics

Jerrim, J; Vignoles, A; Lingam, R; Friend, A; (2015) The socio-economic gradient in children's reading skills and the role of genetics. British Educational Research Journal , 41 (1) pp. 6-29. 10.1002/berj.3143. Green open access

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Abstract

By the time children leave primary school there is a large socio‐economic gap in their reading proficiency. There are a number of potential explanations for this socio‐economic gap and in this paper we investigate the role of three particular genes and gene–environment interactions in determining children's reading skills, using the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) dataset. We find that whilst these genes are indeed correlated with reading outcomes, effect sizes are small and sensitive to the choice of test used and the sample selected. Our results suggest that these leading candidate genes can jointly explain just 2% of the socio‐economic gap in children's reading test scores. We conclude that the influence of these three genes on children's reading ability is limited, and their role in producing socio‐economic gaps in reading ability is even more limited still.

Type: Article
Title: The socio-economic gradient in children's reading skills and the role of genetics
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1002/berj.3143
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/berj.3143
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Research Institute
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1472910
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