Genetic and Environmental Etiologies of the Longitudinal Relations Between Prereading Skills and Reading

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College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Psychology


The present study explored the environmental and genetic etiologies of the longitudinal relations between prereading skills and reading and spelling. Twin pairs (n = 489) were assessed before kindergarten (M = 4.9 years), post‐first grade (M = 7.4 years), and post‐fourth grade (M = 10.4 years). Genetic influences on five prereading skills (print knowledge, rapid naming, phonological awareness, vocabulary, and verbal memory) were primarily responsible for relations with word reading and spelling. However, relations with post‐fourth‐grade reading comprehension were due to both genetic and shared environmental influences. Genetic and shared environmental influences that were common among the prereading variables covaried with reading and spelling, as did genetic influences unique to verbal memory (only post‐fourth‐grade comprehension), print knowledge, and rapid naming.

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