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Hearing, Speech and Literacy


Coventry University



Project team

Dr. Helen Breadmore, Professor Julia Carroll, Professor Margaret Snowling, Professor Hélène Deacon and Dr. Johanna Barry.

Project objectives

When children have difficulty making connections between spoken and written words this makes it hard to learn to read. Because of this, difficulties hearing and speaking can affect literacy. In this project we’re looking at two very common speech and hearing difficulties – Speech Sound Disorder and Otitis Media with Effusion. Speech Sound Disorder is a difficulty producing speech sounds. Otitis Media with Effusion (also known as Glue Ear or multiple ear infections) causes fluctuating hearing levels. Most children with either (or both) speech/hearing difficulty in early childhood might be more likely to have difficulty learning to read.

Research impact

The goal of this research is to identify the strengths and weaknesses in auditory processing, speech, language and literacy that lead to success or failure in learning to read. The sooner intervention reaches children with difficulties the better the outcomes. We want to support earlier identification of children who are at risk of literacy difficulties and provide educational advice relevant to all children.

We are keen to hear from anyone with experience helping children with these difficulties to hear your thoughts and share your knowledge. Please get in touch if you’d like to join our special interest group mailing list to find out more. We will be hosting a free event to share knowledge about speech, hearing and literacy in Spring 2016.

For more, email

 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2023