Dr Helen Breadmore

Dr Helen Breadmore

School of Education
Associate Professor Psychology in Education
Deputy Head of Department and Research Lead for Education and Social Justice

Contact details

School of Education
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Helen Breadmore is a psychologist whose research focuses on language and literacy development. She is Deputy Head of Department and research lead for the Department of Education and Social Justice, and leads the School of Education Literacy research network.

Dr Helen Breadmore’s research focuses on understanding the processes and skills that underpin successful reading and writing. She works with educators, programme developers and policy makers to apply this knowledge to deliver best practice in literacy education. Helen has applied a wide range of research methods to her work, from experimental and cross-sectional studies to large scale randomised controlled trials.

Ongoing and recent projects include several studies exploring the time course of cognitive processes used during reading and writing (particularly morphological processes), understanding how attitudes and motivation impact on literacy, and evaluation of the impact of literacy programmes such as Peer Assisted Learning Strategies for Reading (PALS-UK), Reading Planet Rocket Phonics and Charles Dickens Research School’s Fluency Focus.

Dr Helen Breadmore’s research has been supported by funding from the Education Endowment Foundation, Nuffield Foundation, Economic and Social Research Council and Medical Research Council. 


  • Chartered Member of the British Psychological Society
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Academic and Professional Practice, Learning and Development Centre, University of Warwick, 2014
  • Ph.D. in Psychology, School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, 2008
  • M.Res. in Psychology, School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, 2004
  • B.Sc.(Hons) in Psychology, Department of Psychology, University of Warwick, 2003


Dr Helen Breadmore joined the University of Birmingham as an Associate Professor Psychology in Education in 2021. Prior to joining UoB she was an Associate Professor (Research) at Coventry University (2014-2021), where she led two evidence reviews for the Education Endowment Foundation (Literacy Development: Evidence Review and A Systematic Review of Measures of Attainment in Literacy, Mathematics and Science), led several projects exploring the role of morphological knowledge in literacy development and was Co-Investigator of the delivery team for an Education Endowment Foundation randomised control trial of Peer Assisted Learning Strategies for Reading (PALS-UK)

Dr Helen Breadmore completed her PhD in Psychology at the University of Birmingham in 2008. Her thesis examined profoundly deaf children’s use of inflectional morphology in reading and spelling. She then continued to work in the School of Psychology first as a Research Associate and then as an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow (2008-2011) examining awareness of grammatical number marking during reading and studying eye-movement recording during reading. Her second postdoc was at the University of Warwick with Prof Julia Carroll (2012-2014) as Co-Investigator of a Nuffield Foundation Grant examining reading and spelling development of children with dyslexia and children with a history of repeated ear infections.


  • BSc Psychology in Education.  Module Lead for LI Quantitative Research Methods in Psychology – Part 2 and LH Psychology in Education Research Project/Dissertation.
  • Module support for LC Quantitative Research Methods in Psychology – Part 1, LI Qualitative Research Methods in Psychology – Part 2, LH Critical Approaches to Psychology in Education.

Postgraduate supervision

Dr Helen Breadmore is experienced in research student supervision in both psychology and education. She has examined a variety of research degree theses (e.g., PhD in Education, Doctorate in Applied Educational and Child Psychology). Please get in touch with her directly with proposals for postgraduate research projects or examination requests. She is keen to supervise and exam doctoral students with an interest in literacy and language development and evidence-based education broadly. Those with an interest in morphological processes, spelling and/or literacy difficulties are particularly encouraged. 

Previous postgraduate research students who have completed their studies:

  • Parminder Khela, PhD. Understanding the impact of children’s exposure to digital texts
  • Sara Whylie, PhD. Morphological development: From the beginner to the proficient reader
  • Jodie Enderby. MScR. Prosody, phonology and morphology in reading and spelling.
  • Katherine Hall, PhD.  Patterns of verbal and nonverbal memory and executive function predict language and literacy ability. 

Current postgraduate research students:

  • Zhenyan Yin. PhD. Working title: The Role of Morphological Awareness and Cross-language Morphological Transfer in Bilingual Children with Dyslexia. Supervisory team: Dr Helen Breadmore and Dr Yaling Hsiao.
  • Kathryn Cawley. PhD at Coventry University. Working title: Developing the effectiveness of spelling teaching in mainstream classrooms to improve outcomes for all learners. Supervisory team: Prof Julia Carroll (Coventry University), Dr Helen Breadmore and Dr Sarah Critten (Open University).

Other activities


Recent publications


Breadmore, H, Halliday, LF & Carroll, JM 2024, 'Variability in auditory processing performance is associated with reading difficulties rather than with history of otitis media', Dyslexia, vol. 30, no. 1, e1760. https://doi.org/10.1002/dys.1760

Breadmore, H, Côté, E & Deacon, H 2023, 'The timing tells the tale: Multiple morphological processes in children's and adults' spelling', Scientific Studies of Reading, vol. 27, no. 5, pp. 408-427. https://doi.org/10.1080/10888438.2023.2186233

Joyce, A & Breadmore, HL 2022, 'Sleep‐disordered breathing and daytime sleepiness predict children’s reading ability', British Journal of Educational Psychology, vol. 92, no. 2, e12465, pp. 576-593. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjep.12465

Vardy, EJ, Otaiba, SA, Breadmore, HL, Kung, SH, Pétursdóttir, AL, Zaru, MW & McMaster, KL 2022, 'Teacher–researcher partnership in the translation and implementing of PALS (Peer‐Assisted Learning Strategies): an international perspective', Journal of Research in Reading, vol. 45, no. 3, pp. 517-532. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9817.12404

Levesque, K, Breadmore, H & Deacon, H 2021, 'How morphology impacts reading and spelling: advancing the role of morphology in models of literacy development', Journal of Research in Reading, vol. 44, no. 1, pp. 10-26. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9817.12313

Enderby, J, Carroll, J, Tarczynski-Bowles, L & Breadmore, H 2021, 'The roles of morphology, phonology and prosody in reading and spelling multisyllabic words', Applied Psycholinguistics, vol. 42, no. 4, pp. 865-885. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0142716421000096

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Côté, E, Breadmore, H & Deacon, SH 2023, It's About the Process, Not Perfection: What spelling fluency tells us about spelling. in Routledge International Handbook of Visual-motor skills, Handwriting, and Spelling. 1 edn, Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003284048-6


Ricketts, J & Breadmore, H 2022, What makes texts difficult to read? in Inside every book... : A report on the art and science of levelled reading books 2022. Oxford University Press, pp. 9-9. <http://fdslive.oup.com/www.oup.com/oxed/international/Primary/ORL_levellingreport_int.pdf?region=international>

Commissioned report

Breadmore, H & Wood, C 2023, Interim evaluation report: The Reading Planet Rocket Phonics programme 2021-2023 impact trial. Hodder Education. <https://www.risingstars-uk.com/media/Rising-Stars/Reading/Rising-Stars_Rocket-Phonics_impact-report_pf5.pdf>

Breadmore, H 2023, Interim outcome evaluation: Reading Planet: Rocket Phonics Trial 2021-2023. Hodder Education. <https://www.risingstars-uk.com/getmedia/e3ef5f86-3845-4f4d-8a52-2df144b4d855/Interim-Outcome-Report.pdf>

Breadmore, H & Carroll, JM 2021, A systematic review of standardised measures of attainment in literacy, mathematics, and science: Evidence Review. Education Endowment Foundation. <https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/public/files/Review_of_Attainment_Measures_final.pdf>

Carroll, JM & Breadmore, H 2021, Literacy and assessment. <https://theeducationhub.org.nz/literacy-and-assessment/>

Carroll, JM & Breadmore, H 2021, The pedagogy of reading. The Education Hub. <https://theeducationhub.org.nz/the-pedagogy-of-reading/>


Breadmore, HL, Levesque, K & Deacon, SH 2021, 'Special issue editorial: advances in understanding the role of morphemes in literacy development', Journal of Research in Reading, vol. 44, no. 1, pp. 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9817.12346

Other report

Gupta, S, Mann, G, Breadmore, H & Lewis, J 2023, Pilot Evaluation of Fluency Focus. Education Endowment Foundation. <https://d2tic4wvo1iusb.cloudfront.net/production/documents/Fluency-Focus_Pilot_Study_Plan.pdf?v=1694423810 >