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Our History

Twin Boys Field

The Western Reserve Reading Project is a longitudinal study that has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and Child Development of the NIH. Presently, we have around 450 pairs of twins who have participated in annual data collection sessions over the past 15 years.

As our study progresses, we will continue to expand and develop our research interests based on data we have collected over the past several years. As a result, our families will be offered additional opportunities to participate in the research, and will continue to contribute to a world of knowledge yet to be discovered!

During the first phase of the research project, we examined the environmental influences on early reading in the context of a genetically sensitive design. In the second phase, we conducted a systematic developmental genetic examination of reading comprehension in the context of current and prior oral language skills, decoding skills, behavioral skills, and the home and school literacy environment. We then collaborated with the University of Colorado to assess the three important dimensions of adolescent school performance as children enter middle school and high school. We have most recently been studying brain function as children solve math and reading problems.

We received a 4-year, 2.8 million dollar grant to study how the genetic and environmental influences on reading and math are processed in the brain. This grant was awarded by the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development as a "Learning Disabilities Innovation Hub"—one of only four in the entire United States.

This was the first time any study integrated brain scanning to understand how genetic and environmental differences affect how and where people process reading and math skills in the brain. We had hoped to gain not only better understanding of math and reading, but also to quickly identify and treat learning difficulties as well better tailor learning to a person's particular cognitive strengths and weaknesses.