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A new science of reading: theory, tools and data


Wednesday 5 June 2024

1pm - 2pm




B001, Business School



A photograph form behind of a person reading an unspecified book

The ability to read fluently with enjoyment is the bedrock of literate life. Unfortunately, despite major investment, 20% of 15 year old children in the UK and in the US do not achieve level 2 functional literacy.

In this talk Professor Rod Nicolson develops the thesis that it is fruitful to reconsider learning to read within a skill acquisition framework. Furthermore, he unveils his new five stage model of reading (VISTA) highlighting the need to progress from the initial reading-by-Voice stage via reading-by-Inner-voice to reading-by-Sight and reading-by-Time-stretching to the final stage of reading Automatically.

Professor Nicolson will unveil his new app, RAppID, Reading App for Intervention and Diagnosis, that is able to identify a reader’s VISTA stage and administer appropriate support to progress to the next stage. Finally he will provide evidence from recent research that supports the VISTA framework and provides insights not only into reading but also into the development of thinking and inner voice.

Guest speaker

Professor Rod Nicolson, Department of Psychology, Edge Hill University. Prof. Nicolson is a renowned researcher in the field of dyslexia and developmental learning disabilities. In collaboration with Angela Fawcett since the late 1980s, he has developed several influential theories on dyslexia, including the automatisation deficit hypothesis (1990), which highlights difficulties in skill automation, and the cerebellar deficit hypothesis (1995), linking these issues to cerebellar function.

Photograph of Professor Rod Nicolson

Their work continued with the ontogenetic causal chain model (2001), offering a developmental view of dyslexia, and the Specific Procedural Learning Difficulties framework (2007), examining dyslexia through neural systems.

With over 100 publications, including influential screening tests like the Dyslexia Early Screening Test, his work is highly cited, with over 10,000 citations on Google Scholar. Notably, he co-founded the Positive Dyslexia movement and co-authored “Positive Dyslexia” in 2015. Currently, he champions the Dyslexia-360 framework, furthering the interdisciplinary approach to understanding and treating learning disorders.

Who is this event for?

Academic staff Current students Everyone