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Helen Breadmore


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    Personal profile


    Helen Breadmore’s passion for research into the causes and consequences of literacy impairment emerged while studying for her BSc in Psychology (University of Warwick). Helen was awarded an MRes and then a PhD in Psychology by the University of Birmingham (2008). Her thesis examined profoundly deaf children’s use of inflectional morphology in reading and spelling. Helen continue to work as a Research Associate at the University of Birmingham, and was later awarded an ESRC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (2010-2011) to examine awareness of grammatical number marking during reading and to train in using eye-movement recording to study reading processes.


    From 2012-2014 Helen was a named Research Fellow and co-investigator with Dr Julia Carroll (University of Warwick) on projects examining reading and spelling development amongst children with dyslexia, a history of repeated ear infection and profoundly deaf children.

    Helen joined Coventry University in 2014. Her research continues to explore the causes and consequences of literacy impairment and educational attainment more broadly.


    Helen’s research has been supported by funding from the Economic and Social Research Council, Nuffield Foundation, and Education Endowment Foundation. She is Associate Editor of the Journal of Research in Reading, Chartered Member of the British Psychological Society, Office for National Statistics Accredited Researcher, Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Voting Member of the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading and Chair of URC GLEA and Faculty of HLS Ethics and Governance Committee (previously Vice Chair 2018-2019).

    Research Interests

    My research focuses on educational attainment and, in particular, language and literacy development. By combining experimental, population, longitudinal and intervention approaches, my research has high scientific rigor with real world implications.


    In my experimental work I examine the nature of linguistic and cognitive processes during literacy tasks using a range of methodologies, such as studying the time-course of spelling (spatio-dynamics of handwriting) and reading (eye-movement recording). Through population and longitudinal research, I consider the impact of different strengths, weaknesses and environmental influences on attainment more broadly. My research also includes examining the effectiveness of literacy interventions through large scale randomised controlled trials, and working closely with policy makers and educators to apply research findings to the classroom. For example, I led the Education Endowment Foundation Evidence Review on Literacy Development (2019), and am currently leading a Review of Measures of Attainment in Literacy, Mathematics and Science.

    Vision Statement

    Individuals with weaknesses in language and literacy have difficulty accessing the curriculum and are likely to have poor educational outcomes, limiting opportunities to access higher education and employment. Clearly, we need to do more to reduce this inequality. At the heart of my research is equity of opportunity – with a focus on improving the educational attainment of those disadvantaged due to language and literacy difficulties. In my research I investigate how language and literacy difficulties can be overcome and the extent to which unimpaired skills can compensate and support attainment.

    Education/Academic qualification

    Postgraduate Certificate, University of Warwick

    Award Date: 6 Jan 2015

    Doctorate, University of Birmingham

    Award Date: 1 Jul 2008

    MSc, University of Birmingham

    Award Date: 1 Nov 2004

    Degree, University of Warwick

    Award Date: 1 Jul 2003


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