Ellen Taylor

I love reading and creative writing, so perhaps it’s not surprising that when I studied my BSc in Psychology at York St John, I became fascinated with reading development. Our ability to read not only allows us to curl up on the sofa to enjoy a good novel, but also enables us to access a wide range of materials. Reading is a means of communication, and through this skill we can learn almost infinite new information. Early literacy skills have large knock-on effects for later aspects of educational achievement and development, which is why I believe it is so important to discover why some children have difficulties learning to read, and how we can best help to support them. I’m particularly interested in how we learn to ‘map’ different representations of words, so how we learn to associate sounds with meaning and with written text.

My favourite word

My favourite childhood book

A tricky question, since there are so many words I love, but I’m going to go with ‘flourish’. There’s something very extravagant about it which seems almost magical. To me, it conjures images of elaborate gestures made by the heroes of romantic stories, alongside gardens overgrown with thriving wild plants.

This has to be Ingo by Helen Dunmore. It’s about a young girl living in Cornwall who befriends a mermaid and is pulled into a mysterious underwater world. I love the descriptions of the sea, encompassing both its beauty and its dangerous, destructive nature, which leads to all kinds of wonderful adventures.