Dr Yvonne Griffiths

Dr Yvonne Griffiths


I studied BSc (Hons)  Life Sciences (Psychology) at the University of Westminster (graduating 1992) before I worked as a Research Assistant for Lolly Tyler at the Centre for Speech and Language, Birkbeck College (1993-1995) on a MRC funded programme on language comprehension in adults using psycholinguistic experimental methods. I then went on to study for a PhD in Psychology with Maggie Snowling at the University of York and my thesis focused on Individual Differences in Dyslexia, funded by a University of York/Dyslexia Action Scholarship (1996-1999). I remained at York for a further 3 years as a Research Fellow on a Welcome funded project investigating auditory processing in adults with dyslexia with Maggie Snowling, Peter Bailey and Nick Hill. I was appointed a Lecturer in Psychology in the Dept. of Psychology at the University of Essex in 2002, then in 2008 I took up a Lectureship in Psychology and Special Education in the Dept. of Psychology and Human Development at the Institute of Education (UCL IOE).  Whilst at the IOE, I was seconded to work for the DfE (then DCSF) as the Senior Research Scientist to review and evaluate the research evidence informing Sir Jim Rose's Independent Review of Dyslexia (2008-9).  In October 2015 I returned to the North to take up a post as Associate Professor in Childhood Studies and Education at the University of Leeds' School of Education. I was Academic Group Leader for the Childhood and Youth group from January 2016 - August 2018.

Research interests

Research Interests

My background is in psychology and its application to education, and specialist subject is in literacy development for individuals with language learning difficulties. A long-standing interest is the topic of individual differences in the cognitive-linguistic profiles of dyslexia (defined as severe and persistent difficulties learning to read words and spell with accuracy and fluency) and implications for assessment and intervention. I have been directly involved in reviewing research evidence that aims to inform and challenge education policy and practice in SEN&D (e.g., Sir Jim Roses 2009 Independent Review Identifying and Teaching Children and Young People with Dyslexia and Literacy Difficulties), and the design of specialist teacher training programmes. I value the opportunity to build partnerships and engage with practitioners and stakeholders (including children and young people) to inform my research agenda e.g., through participatory design research.

Whilst recognizing the central importance of spoken language skills as a solid foundation for literacy acquisition, my research also takes an ecological perspective to child development and learning, considering variation in home and education environments, social-cultural factors, linguistic diversity and structural factors as moderators and constraints in childrens development and learning. A central theme of my research is to provide an evidence base for development and change, specifically inclusion and equity in education. For example, effective approaches to support foundation learning and literacy development in challenging contexts (e.g., poverty and associated factors such as limited resources, poor health, multilingualism and biliteracy).

Global education issues and challenges has been the focus of two recent strands of applied research. This work has involved interdisciplinary collaborative approaches at the interface between child development, health and education, using a range of research design and methodologies (RCTs, systematic reviews, large scale community surveys of parenting and home learning environments, longitudinal designs).

  • Health and Cognition in education. Developing and adapting assessment tools for impact evaluations of large scale rural community-based programmes to improve health and cognition outcomes, for preschool and school age children in West African countries (Mali, Senegal, Ghana)
  • What works for children struggling with literacy learning at school from low and middle-income countries? Member of review team for recent DfID funded review (Nag et al. 2014 ) https://www.gov.uk/dfid-research-outputs/literacy-foundation-learning-and-assessment-in-developing-countries (foundation learning and literacy intervention strand)


Research Groups and Institutes

Centre for Childhood, Education and Social Justice (core member)

Centre for Language Education Research (affiliated member)


<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD Psychology
  • BSc Life Sciences (BPS Psychology accredited)
  • CPsychol.

Professional memberships

  • Society for Scientific Study of Reading
  • British Psychological Society
  • British Educational Research Association
  • British Dyslexia Association

Student education

I teach on a range of undergraduate and postgraduate modules (including supervision of dissertations) for the following programmes:

  • BA (Hons) Childhood Studies
  • BA Education
  • BSc Psychology with Education (new for 2018-19)
  • MA Special Education Needs
  • MA Childhood Studies

Topics I teach include:

  • Psychology of learning
  • Language development
  • Cognition and learning difficulties
  • Health and well-being
  • Inclusive Education
  • Special Educational Needs and Disabilities
  • Research design and methodology
  • Literacy development and dyslexia
  • Assessment, identification and intervention for individuals with language and literacy learning difficulties

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>The school welcomes enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>