Dr Silke Fricke, PhD, MSc, SLT
Department of Human Communication Sciences
University of Sheffield
362 Mushroom Lane
Tel: +44 (0) 114 222 2419
I am a Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Human Communication Sciences. My principal research interests lie in the field of speech, language, and literacy development and difficulties (including assessments) in monolingual and multilingual children, as well as the evaluation of intervention approaches.
Having qualified and practised as an SLT with a specialisation in children with speech, language, and literacy difficulties; and adults with functional voice disorders in Germany, I came to the UK for postgraduate studies at Masters level followed by a PhD by joint location in Human Communication Sciences (University of Sheffield/UK & University of Applied Sciences Fresenius Idstein/GER). In my longitudinal PhD project, I investigated the influence of speech and language processing skills on early literacy development in monolingual and bilingual German-speaking children. From 2009 to 2011, I worked as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow on the Nuffield Language4Reading project at the Department of Psychology, University of York. I joined the Department of Human Communication Sciences (HCS) in January 2011 as a Lecturer and received an Exceptional Contribution Award (ECA) in 2012.
I am the admissions tutor for the postgraduate courses PGCert/PGDip/MSc in Speech Difficulties and PGCert/PGDip/MSc in Acquired Communication Disorders. In addition, I am the departmental representative on the Early Career Group (ECG) Committee as well as the Excellence Through Inclusion (ETI) Committee of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health. The ECG group aims to ensure that all researchers in the Faculty have access to advice and training to develop their career trajectory.
- Speech, language, and literacy development and difficulties in monolingual and multilingual children (including cross-linguistic comparisons)
- Cognitive predictors of literacy acquisition
- Relationships between oral and written language in monolingual as well as multilingual children
- Evaluation of early intervention approaches for children at risk of literacy difficulties
I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I teach on a variety of modules at postgraduate level focussing on speech, language, and literacy development and difficulties, as well as bi-/multilingualism. I coordinate two postgraduate research methods modules as well as two modules focussing on developmental speech difficulties (nature & investigation and intervention & management).
Professional Activities and Memberships
- Member of and registration with Deutscher Bundesverband für Logopädie (dbl; German Federal Association of Qualified Logopedics/SLTs; equivalent to Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists/RCSLT)
- Associate member of LARRY (Language & Reading Research in Yorkshire), ELDEL (Enhancing Literacy Development in European Languages - A Marie-Curie Initial Training Network), PERC (Psychology in Education Research Centre; York), Centre for Reading and Language (CRL), a virtual research network with colleagues at various institutions (e.g. Oxford, UCL, York), EALL-N (English as an Additional Language and Literacy Network - network of UK academics developing a comprehensive programme of research to address inequalities faced by children growing up with EAL)), EAL Steering Group (Sheffield City Council), and Language and Cognitive Development Group (Luxembourg)
- Member: International Association for the Study of Child Language (IASCL); Society for the Scientific Study of Reading (SSSR); National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum (NALDIC), NALDIC Regional (Yorkshire) Interest Group (RIG)
- Refereeing: Rapporteur and reviewer for Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC), Grant pre-submission reviewer for University of Luxembourg, Book Reviewer for NASEN journals (British Journal of Special Education, Support for Learning and Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs), Manuscript Reviewer for several national and international journals
Previous and Current Projects
- White Rose DTC ESRC Network (2015 – 2018): Understanding and enhancing reading and language skills in children learning English as an Additional Language (EAL) (Academic Lead: Anna Weighall (University of Leeds); Collaborators: Claudine Bowyer-Crane and Emma Marsden (University of York), Silke Fricke and Jenny Thompson (University of Sheffield), Anna Weighall and Hannah Nash (University of Leeds); Partners: Born in Bradford (BiB))
- Better Start Innovation Hub: Early Language and Communication Theme (Part of Better Start Bradford funded by Big Lottery Fund; 2014-2019), Theme team: C. Bowyer-Crane (academic theme lead) and D. Nielsen (Post-doc; University of York), S. Fricke (University of Sheffield), A. Weighall (University of Leeds), L. Hamilton (York St John)
- Oral Language Intervention for Children with English As an Additional Language and Monolingual Children with Language Weaknesses 2012 – 2015 (Funded by the Nuffield Foundation; PIs: Silke Fricke (University of Sheffield), Claudine Bowyer-Crane (University of York) and Charles Hulme (UCL); £206,744
- The Nuffield Early Language Intervention: A large-scale trial of an evidence-based intervention designed to improve young children’s oral language skills (Funded by The Education Endowment Foundation; Collaborating institutions: UCL, The University of Sheffield, Oxford University, University of York and ICAN; £738,112)
- Developing a Tablet application to assess receptive vocabulary skills in multilingual children (Funded by Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health: Research and Innovation Award 2012 – 2013 (University of Sheffield); PIs: Silke Fricke and Blanca Schaefer; £10,285.50)
- Promoting Oral Language in Nursery-aged Children with English as an Additional Language 2011 – 2012 (Funded by an Early Career Researcher/Knowledge Transfer Grant; University of Sheffield; PI: Silke Fricke; £39,948)
- Nursery Language4Reading project 2010 – 2011 (University of York; Department of Psychology; Centre for Reading and Language)
This project was an extension of the nursery part of the Nuffield L4R programme run by Ally Haley, a Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher working on the ELDEL project
- Nuffield Language4Reading (L4R) Project 2009 – 2012 (Funded by the Nuffield Foundation; PIs: Margaret Snowling and Charles Hulme (University of York) and Claudine Bowyer-Crane (Sheffield Hallam University):
This large-scale project aimed to establish whether identifying oral language weaknesses in preschool children, and providing oral language intervention in nursery and Reception, helps monolingual children at risk of literacy difficulties respond to reading instruction. Following the research project, the intervention programme has been developed into a licensed intervention programme, the Nuffield Early Language Intervention (for further information about distribution and training please contact Denise Cripps firstname.lastname@example.org).
Internal & External Collaborators
- Blanca Schaefer (University of Sheffield, UK)
- Meesha Warmington (University of Sheffield, UK)
- Danielle Matthews (University of Sheffield, UK)
- Claudine Bowyer-Crane (University of York, UK)
- Dea Nielsen (Better Start Bradford Innovation Hub & University of York, UK)
- Charles Hulme (University of Oxford, UK)
- Maggie Snowling (University of Oxford, UK)
- Hannah Nash (University of Leeds, UK)
- Anna Weighall (University of Leeds, UK)
- Cecile De Cat (University of Leeds, UK)
- Annette Fox-Boyer (Europäischen Fachhochschule (EUFH) Rostock, DE
- Marcin Szczerbinski (University College Cork, IE)
- Pascale Engel de Abreu (University of Luxembourg – EMACS, LU)
Previous PhD Students
- Dea Nielsen (Cognitive, linguistic, and literacy development in young children learning English as an Additional Language)
- Chloë Bate (Relationships between Oral Language, Oral Narrative, Spelling and Writing Development in 7-9 Year Old Children
Fricke, S., Burgoyne, K., Bowyer-Crane, C., Kyriacou, M., Zosimidou, A., Maxwell, L., Lervåg, A., Snowling, M., & Hulme, C. (2017). The efficacy of early language intervention in mainstream school settings: a randomized controlled trial. Journal Of Child Psychology And Psychiatry, Early View Online, n/a-n/a.
Bowyer-Crane, C., Fricke, S., Schaefer, B., Lervåg, A., & Hulme, C. (2017). Early literacy and comprehension skills in children learning English as an additional language and monolingual children with language weaknesses. Reading and Writing, 30(4), 771-790.
Haley, A., Hulme, C., Bowyer-Crane, C., Snowling, M. J., & Fricke, S. (2017). Oral language skills intervention in pre-school—a cautionary tale. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 52(1), 71-79.
Fricke, S., Szczerbinski, M., Fox-Boyer, A., & Stackhouse, J. (2016). Preschool Predictors of Early Literacy Acquisition in German-Speaking Children. Reading Research Quarterly, 51(1), 29-53.
Schaefer, B., Bowyer-Crane, C., Herrmann, F., & Fricke, S. (2015). Development of a tablet application for the screening of receptive vocabulary skills in multilingual children. Child Language Teaching and Therapy, 32(2), 179-191.
Fricke, S., & Millard, G. (2016). A setting-based oral language intervention for nursery-aged children with English as an additional language. In V. A. Murphy & M. Evangelou (Eds.), Early Childhood Education in English for Speakers of Other Languages (pp. 171-186). London: British Council.
Schaefer, B., & Fricke, S. (2015). Language Programmes. In M. Kersner & J. A. Wright (Eds.), Supporting Young Children with Communication Problems. London: Routledge.
Schäfer, B., Wessels, S., & Fricke, S. (2014). Phonologische Bewusstheit bei Dreijährigen [Phonological Awareness in German-Speaking 3-Year-Olds - A Pilot Study]. Sprache-Stimme–Gehör, 38, 1-5.
Fricke, S., Bowyer-Crane, C., Haley, A. J., Hulme, C., & Snowling, M. J. (2013). Efficacy of language intervention in the early years. Journal of Child Psychology And Psychiatry, 54(3), 280-290. [OnlineOpen Article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jcpp.12010]
Fricke, S., Bowyer-Crane, C., Haley, A., Snowling, M. & Hulme, C. (2012). Nuffield Early Language Intervention - Nursery, Reception Part 1 and Reception Part 2 Programmes. University of York/Nuffield Foundation/I CAN.
Fricke, S., & Schäfer, B. (2011) Test für Phonologische Bewusstheitsfähigkeiten (TPB) [Test of phonological awareness skills in German] (2nd edition). Idstein: Schulz-Kirchner.
Schaefer, B., Fricke, S., Szczerbinski, M., Fox-Boyer, A.V., Stackhouse, J., & Wells, B. (2009). Development of a test battery for assessing phonological awareness in German-speaking children. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics, 23(6), 404-430.
Fricke, S., Szczerbinski, M., Stackhouse, J., & Fox-Boyer, A.V. (2008). Predicting individual differences in early literacy acquisition in German: The role of speech and language skills, and letter knowledge. Written Language & Literacy, 11(2), 103-146.
Fricke, S. (2007) Phonological awareness skills in German-speaking preschool children. Idstein: Schulz-Kirchner.
Fricke, S., Stackhouse, J. & Wells, B. (2007) Phonologische Bewusstheitsfähigkeiten deutschsprachiger Vorschulkinder - eine Pilotstudie [Phonological awareness skills in German-speaking preschool children – a pilot study]. Forum Logopädie, 21(3), 14-19.