Our guest author is Professor Ming Ming Chiu, Chair Professor of Analytics and Diversity, Special Education and Counseling Department and Director, Analytics\Assessment Research Centre, Education University of Hong Kong
A child's reading skills depends not only on her motivation, ability, and reading instruction, but also on her context—her country, family, schoolmates, and their interactions with her gender, according to large-scale international studies of over a million students in 63 countries across two decades using advanced statistics (including multilevel analysis of plausible values). Children with greater motivation to read than others, spend more time learning to read and do more reading, so they typically have stronger reading skills. Also, children with greater intelligence (IQ) learn to read more readily. Although some children learn to read on their own, most children receive direct reading instruction at home or at school (especially that each letter corresponds to a sound in languages with alphabets like English [alphabetic principle]) while constructing integrated meaning from the sequences of words.
Furthermore, the environment around a child also affects her reading skills, including her country's income, income inequality, and cultural values; her family's money, education, cultural knowledge, and social networks; her schoolmates' information sharing, evaluations, motivations, and norms; and their interactions with gender, such as favoritism, learning opportunities, and social interactions.