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Literacy Development


Focus of Our Research

Our research links theoretical perspectives of learning to read and write with more practical intervention work. Literacy skills underpin all areas of the curriculum and it is essential that children are enabled to achieve all that they can in primary school, in order to unlock their potential across the curriculum at secondary school. To that end we focus on a range of different themes, including:

  • The difficulties shown by children with dyslexia, 
  • Oral language impairments or hearing impairments; 
  • The role of technology and digital media in literacy; 
  • The role of motivation and self-esteem in reading progress; 
  • The links between spoken language skills and literacy development. In this final case, we are interested how understanding of the sounds, rhythms and structures of spoken language can help children develop their written language.

Much of our research focuses on literacy interventions, often working closely with partners such as the Educational Endowment Foundation, the Reading Agency or the National Literacy Trust to assess ‘real world’ programmes. This work is backed up with our theoretically oriented work focusing on the role of oral language skills and personality factors in reading development and difficulties.



The Team

 Math Noortmann Thumbnail

Prof. Julia Caroll (Research group leader)

Reading, literacy, writing, phonology, morphology, dyslexia, language impairment  

 Janet Vousden Thumbnail

Dr. Janet Vousden

Reading, literacy and reading development

 Anna Cunningham

Dr. Anna Cunningham

Literacy development, dynamic assessment, alternative approaches to education

 Helen Breadmore

Dr. Helen Breadmore

Reading and spelling development, morphology, hearing impairment/deafness and dyslexia

 Helen Johnson

Dr. Helen Johnson

Cyberbullying, children and young people use of social media and educational psychology practice

 Emma Vardy

Dr. Emma Vardy

Childrens literacy and evaluation methodologies

 Claire Pillinger

Claire Pillinger

Dialogic reading, violence and interpersonal aggression reading development and interventions

 Luisa Tarczynski-Bowles Thumbnail

Dr. Luisa Tarczynski-Bowles

Developmental psychology

 Rosa Kit Wan Kwok Thumbnail

Dr. Rosa Kit Wan Kwok

Language impairment, reading comprehension and bilingualism


Upcoming Events

We hold regular public engagement events, particularly for teachers and educational practitioners. If you would like to receive information about these, please email Emma Vardy.

March 29th - Sharing Knowledge Event