Profiling children with language and literacy needs: defining skill-sets and evaluating responses to vocabulary/context-based strategy intervention.

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Language and Cognition


The aim of this PhD is to investigate the profiles of children with language and literacy needs and their response to vocabulary skills/context-based strategy intervention. A particular emphasis will be placed on children's ability to utilize context to infer meaning when reading. The PhD will adopt a multi-phrase approach, with the initial stage exploring children's oral language and literacy skills alongside their ability to use contextual cues to infer the meaning of unknown words in texts. A subsequent stage of the project will focus on vocabulary intervention and teaching strategies such as how to decipher word meaning from written context. As many researchers have highlighted the need to view reading comprehension difficulties within the broader context of cognitive and linguistic skills, figurative language (see Nation, Clarke, Marshall & Durand, 2004; Cain, Oakhill, & Lemmon, 2005) will be targeted as part of this approach. Following Ouellette (2006) sensitive measures of vocabulary depth and breadth will also be taken alongside tests of word meaning recall. This is particularly important as vocabulary depth is thought to be implicated in drawing global coherence inferences when reading, while vocabulary breadth may be linked to ability to make local cohesion inferences (Oakhill, Cain, & McCarthy, 2015). The study aims to provide useful insights for both practitioners and researchers working in fields related to oral language/reading comprehension impairment.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/J500185/1 30/09/2011 01/10/2021
1772775 Studentship ES/J500185/1 30/09/2016 21/11/2023 Claire Murphy
ES/P000592/1 30/09/2017 29/09/2027
1772775 Studentship ES/P000592/1 30/09/2016 21/11/2023 Claire Murphy