Reading ability: nature or nurture?


For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

Matthew, 13:12

The Matthew Effect has become something of a truism. Those with find it easy to acquire more, whereas those without are trapped into a vicious cycle of poverty and disadvantage. Clearly this is a matter of social injustice: if only we could ensure that all were treated equally then we could do away with such asymmetry. This is something I’ve been particularly interested in ever since hearing Geoff Barton refer to Daniel Rigney’s book, The Matthew Effect: How Advantage Begets Further Advantage. In it Rigney summarises the work of Keith Stanovich and discusses how reading ability depends on social advantage.

This seemed to make perfect sense and I accepted it uncritically. (My post on this is the second result suggested by Google when you search for the Matthew Effect.) But as ever, comforting, convenient answers aren’t always as correct as we’d wish them to be.

Read more on The Learning Spy

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