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News

New CWRU twins study to look at environment and reading

Case Western Reserve University : 10 February, 2007  (Technical Article)
Researchers from four universities and 350 pairs of same-sex twins will participate in a study, looking at environmental factors that influence how and when children read.
Researchers from four universities and 350 pairs of same-sex twins will participate in a study, looking at environmental factors that influence how and when children read.

Lee Thompson, associate professor of psychology, will contribute to the four-year, longitudinal study, 'Environmental Influences on Early Reading: A Twin Study,' along with behavioral geneticists and psychologists from Penn State University, the University of Oregon and the University of Houston. The project's lead researcher is Stephen Petrill, who earned his doctorate in psychology from CWRU in 1993 and now works at Penn State.

Thompson will recruit 350 pairs of same-sex twins within three hours of Cleveland. All children will be entering kindergarten or attending kindergarten classes. Over three years, the twins will be interviewed and tested in their home settings, starting in kindergarten, with subsequent interviews and testing in first and second grade in order to track their reading skills. The researchers also will interview and observe parents for their contributions to the reading process.

Across the four sites, each researcher will examine a different aspect of how the environment and genetics contribute to specific reading processes like word decoding and producing and understanding letter sounds. Their aim is to find the family environmental influences that promote reading.

The project has received a $2.063 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, with CWRU's support totaling approximately $698,000.
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