Dr Helen Breadmore

Dr Helen Breadmore

School of Education
Associate Professor Psychology in Education

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 particularly interested in understanding the processes that underpin reading and writing, and how to deliver best practice in literacy education to improve outcomes. She has applied a wide range of research methods to her work, from experimental and cross-sectional studies to large scale randomised controlled trials. She works closely with policy makers to translate research into meaningful changes in education.

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 a Senior Lecturer in 2021. Prior to this 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 in 2019 and A Systematic Review of Measures of Attainment in 2021). She also led several projects exploring the role of morphological knowledge in literacy development and was Co-Investigator of an Education Endowment Foundation randomised control trials of Peer Assisted Learning Strategies for Reading (PALS-UK) with Dr Emma Vardy. 

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 undergraduate degree course.

Module Lead for Quantitative Research Methods in Psychology – Part 2.

Postgraduate supervision

Helen is keen to supervise doctoral students, particularly those with an interest in literacy and language development.

She supervises PhD students with on the following topics: Developing effective spelling interventions, spelling tests and well-being in SpLD (dyslexia), and teacher’s understanding of pupil’s language skills.

PhD students who have completed their studies:

Parminder Khela. Understanding the impact of children’s exposure to digital texts.

Sara Whylie. Morphological development: From the beginner to the proficient reader. 

Katherine Hall.  Patterns of verbal and nonverbal memory and executive function predict language and literacy ability.

Other activities

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

Lead editor of Special Issue of the Journal of Research in reading “Advances in understanding the role of morphemes in literacy development”


Enderby, J., Carroll, J.M., Tarczynski- Bowles, L., & Breadmore, H.L. (2021). The roles of morphology, phonology, and prosody in reading and spelling multisyllabic words. Applied Psycholinguistics. 42(4). 865-885. DOI: 10.1017/S0142716421000096 

Breadmore, H.L., & Carroll, J.M. (2021). A Systematic Review of Measures of Attainment in Literacy, Mathematics and Science. Evidence Review commissioned by the Education Endowment Foundation. 

Breadmore, H.L., Levesque, K., & Deacon S. H. (2021). Special Issue Editorial: Advancing the role of morphology in models of literacy development. Journal of Research in Reading. 44(1). 1-9. DOI: 10.1111/1467-9817.12346 

Levesque, K., Breadmore, H.L., & Deacon S. H. (2021). How morphology impacts reading and spelling: Advancing the role of morphology in models of literacy development. Journal of Research in Reading. 44(1). 10-26. DOI: 10.1111/1467-9817.12313 

Breadmore, H.L., Vardy, E.J., Cunningham, A.J., Kwok, R.K.W. & Carroll, J.M. (2019). Literacy Development: Evidence Review. London: Education Endowment Foundation. 

Breadmore, H.L. & Deacon, S.H., (2019). Morphological processes before and during spelling. Scientific Studies of Reading. 23(2). 178-191. DOI: 10.1080/10888438.2018.1499745. 

Carroll, J.M. & Breadmore, H.L. (2018). Not all phonological awareness deficits are created equal: Evidence from a comparison between children with Otitis Media and children with Dyslexia. Developmental Science. 21(3). e12588. DOI: 10.1111/desc.12588

Colenbrander, D., Ricketts, J. & Breadmore, H.L. (2018). Early identification of dyslexia: A practical guide. Language, Speech and Hearing Services in Schools. 49, 817-828. DOI: 10.1044/2018_LSHSS-DYSLC-18-0007.

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