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TES talks to Dr Jessie Ricketts

  • Date03 November 2017

Research that exposes the links between reading and oral language development in childhood and adolescence is the subject of a ‘TES talks to’ article published on 3 November 2017, featuring Dr Jessie Ricketts from the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Jessie Ricketts TES3

Dr Jessie Ricketts, image by kind permission of Russell Sach


Dr Jessie Ricketts leads the Language and Reading Acquisition (LARA) research lab at Royal Holloway, which has a focus on the role of language in reading, and reciprocally, the role of reading in language. The studies involve children with and without reading and language difficulties and use longitudinal and experimental designs.

Dr Ricketts explains in the article,

“Explicit teaching of vocabulary is really important and is typically more effective than when children learn vocabulary incidentally by listening to spoken language or reading. We should aim for a combination of this and equipping pupils with the skills to learn new words independently.”

The article reveals how Dr Ricketts’ research is contributing a better understanding that could have an impact on the educational progress and life chances as children grow up, and emphasises the importance of doing more to promote literacy and language in secondary schools.

 “Once children learn to read, reading abilities impact on vocabulary and the relationship becomes reciprocal. We are still working out the precise nature of this reciprocity as part of my Vocabulary and Reading in Secondary Schools (VaRiSS) project, following 200 pupils through key stage 3. But, so far, there seems to be a close relationship between oral vocabulary and reading in late childhood/early adolescence and it seems to get closer as children move through the school system.”

TES is a leading UK education magazine and resource read by policy shapers, teachers and school leaders. You can read the full article here

Find out more about the work of the lab directed by Dr Jessie Ricketts on the LARA lab webpages

Discover more about research and teaching opportunities in the Department of Psychology


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