Aston Literacy Project

Aston Literacy Project

This website is a resource designed for teachers, parents and children involved in the Aston Literacy Project, and others interested in our research findings. We will update it regularly so please visit often to keep informed.

Our project investigates the relationship between auditory skills, phonology, and reading in children at the beginning and intermediate stages of literacy development. The research is funded by a four-year ESRC-funded grant (2011-2015) conducted by Dr Anna Cunningham (Research Fellow), Dr Laura Shapiro (Principal Investigator), Dr Caroline WittonProfessor Joel Talcott, and Professor Adrian Burgess.

For a summary of our findings:

See Phase 1 Newsletter for Autumn 2011 (beginning of Reception).

See Phase 2 Newsletter for Spring 2012 (middle of Year 2).

See Phase 3 Newsletter for Summer 2012 (end of Reception).  

Please click here for a brief summary of the project on the ESRC website.

The project involves two large groups of children from 16 schools in the Birmingham area.

  • Sample 1: 800 Reception-age children (beginning readers) will be tested at the start and end of the Reception year, and again at the end of Year 1 (phases 1,3 and 4).
  • Sample 2: 600 Year 2 children (intermediate readers) will be tested once in the Spring of Year 2 (phase 2).
The research has three aims:
  • To develop understanding of the different types of auditory and phonological skills displayed by primary school children
  • To investigate how these skills impact upon literacy development
  • To identify the pattern of difficulties shown by children who struggle with reading.

We have now finished phase 4 of the project. For now, this is the last planned data collection phase (although we are hoping to gain funding for a further follow-up in the future). Phase 4 took place May-July 2013 and involved re-testing the Reception children from phases 1 and 3 when they were in Year 1. Feedback to the schools on how the children in each class performed has now been sent.

This research will help lead to more effective early identification of children who are at risk of developing reading difficulties, and inform successful interventions. Your participation will make an important contribution.


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