Dr Laura Shapiro

Senior Lecturer in Psychology

Laura Shapiro 001

Senior Lecturer on the Psychology Teaching Programme

School of Life & Health Sciences

Aston University

B4 7ET

Email: L.R.Shapiro@aston.ac.uk
telephone: +44 (0) 121 204 4052
fax: +44 (0) 121 204 4090

Research Group

Basic and Applied Neurosciences

Research Centre

Aston Research Centre for Healthy Ageing (ARCHA) 

Centre for Research in Vision and Hearing(CRVH)

Reading Development

I am interested in the relationship between pre-school cognitive skills and instruction on early reading progress, and in particular, the relative importance of general auditory skills and specific speech skills in beginning and intermediate stages of reading. My main approach is to conduct longitudinal studies with large, heterogeneous samples of beginning readers in order to build models of the relationship between underlying skills and reading. I am fortunate to have received generous support for these projects. Previous work was supported by the ESRC and British Academy, in collaboration with Julia Carroll and Jonathan Solity. Current projects include:

The Aston Literacy Project, an ESRC funded project, with Research Fellow Anna Cunningham, PhD student Kate Swoboda and Co-Investigators Caroline Witton, Joel Talcott, Kim Rochelle and Adrian Burgess. See the ALP website for more details.

The Aston Phonics Comparison project, with Co-Investigator Jonathan Solity, funded by the Learning Skills Research. Our aim is to examine the reading progress of children attending schools across Birmingham that deliver different Synthetic Phonics programmes.

The Reading Comprehension Project, with Research Assistant Salma Kadiri and Co-Investigator Selma Babayiğit. Our aim is to examine which skills (e.g., vocabulary, grammar and memory) are most important for reading comprehension in children from diverse home language backgrounds. See the Reading Comprehension website for more details.


I am also interested in how children learn to categorise objects and how adults store and access this knowledge. This research has been supported by an ESRC studentship to Julia Badger and a research grant from Twycross Zoo Education Department.

Ali GWilliams (commenced 2018): Using brain imaging to study the transition from effortful to efficient word reading in school-age children. Main supervisor: Jo Taylor, advisor: Joel Talcott

Natalie Walsh (commenced 2016): Profiles of reading difficulties and approaches used to support poor readers. Advisor Adrian Burgess.

 Julia Badger (completed 2011): An investigation into children’s inductive reasoning strategies: What drives the development of category induction? Julia is now a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Oxford, see Julia's website for more details.

Jessica Gilbert (completed 2010): A systematic exploration of perceptual and semantic differences in category-specific object processing using MEG; Co-supervisor Gareth Barnes. Jessica is now a Postdoctoral Associate at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, see Jessica's website for more details.

Recent Publications