image used for variss blog 18.09.17

Picture credit:

Reading and Vocabulary (RAV)

The Reading and Vocabulary project is funded by the Nuffield Foundation to investigate whether the amount of reading that children and adolescents do is important for vocabulary growth. We are working with Dr Laura Shapiro, Professor Adrian Burgess and Dr Sanne van der Kleij at Aston University.

If you’re interested in reading more about the RAV project then please click here

If you are a parent/guardian and want more information about the RAV project then please click here or if you are interested in taking part then please click here.

If you are a student who is currently taking part in this project and want more information then click here


Vocabulary and Reading in Secondary School (VaRiSS)

The VaRiSS project aims to examine the relationship between oral vocabulary and reading in secondary schools. We are interested in the role that vocabulary knowledge plays in reading and reciprocally the extent to which reading promotes vocabulary development. Most research on vocabulary and reading development focuses on primary-aged children and relatively little is known about secondary-aged pupils. In this project, data has been collected from 200 secondary school pupils, from Years 7, 8 and 9.  This research has highlighted the importance of continuing to look at vocabulary and reading development in adolescence to inform theory and educational practice and policy.

You can see one of our presentations on this page

We are currently working on research articles, watch this space!

Opportunities for Word Learning (OWL)

The Opportunities for Word Learning project is funded by the US National Institutes of Health to investigate how children with Developmental Language Disorder learn new words and how this relates to their reading abilities. We are working with Professor Tiffany Hogan (MGH Institute of Health Professions), Professor Julie Wolter (University of Montana) and Dr Suzanne Adlof (University of South Carolina) on this project.

OWL Logo Final with black

Harnessing Reading to Promote Vocabulary Learning

We have worked on various projects that aim to investigate how reading affects language development. For a blog on this topic for the Teacher Development Trust, click here

Reading to learn: we have investigated how children learn new words while they are reading. For relevant publications, see Jessie’s publication list by clicking here. In particular, see here and here.

Orthographic facilitation for vocabulary acquisition: we have shown that emphasising written words helps children to learn their spoken forms. For relevant publications, see Jessie’s publication list by clicking here. In particular, see here and here.

If you are interested in listening to Jessie and Dr Laura Mickes discuss orthographic facilitation over a drink then click here to listen to the pubcast.

We have also created an accessible poster summarising our original study, a pdf can be downloaded here: OF poster

OF poster

We have also created another accessible poster summarising our orthographic facilitation in children with autism and specific language impairment study, a pdf can be downloaded here: ASD and SLI poster

The role of semantic knowledge in word reading

We have worked on a number of projects that look at how knowledge of word meanings helps children to learn to read words. It is well established that vocabulary knowledge is important for reading comprehension. Indeed, a child must understand all of the words in a given text in order to fully understand it. In addition, there is extensive evidence that knowledge of how words sound, and how sounds map onto letters (phonics) is important for word reading. Our research indicates that vocabulary knowledge can supplement phonics knowledge, helping children to read words.

For relevant publications, see Jessie’s publication list by clicking here. In particular, see here, here and here.