Dr Silke Fricke


Division of Human Communication Sciences, Health Sciences School

Senior Lecturer

+44 114 222 2419

Full contact details

Dr Silke Fricke
Division of Human Communication Sciences, Health Sciences School
362 Mushroom Lane
S10 2TS

I am a Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Human Communication Sciences (HCS).

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 an oral language intervention RCT project at the Department of Psychology, University of York (see Nuffield Early Language Intervention). I joined the Department of Human Communication Sciences in January 2011 as a Lecturer and received an Exceptional Contribution Award in 2012. Furthermore, I completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in 2013 as well as a Cambridge Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages in 2014.

I am the admissions tutor for the postgraduate courses PGCert/PGDip/MSc in Speech Difficulties including cleft pathway and PGCert/PGDip/MSc in Acquired Communication Disorders. In addition, I am the Deputy Chair and HCS representative of the Faculty of MDH Early Career Group/Think Ahead Committee (ECG). The ECG group aims to ensure that all researchers in the Faculty have access to advice and training to develop their career trajectory. I am also a Faculty Think Ahead Career Mentor for ECRs and the departmental representative on the Excellence Through Inclusion Committee of the Faculty of MDH.

Research interests
  • Speech, language, and literacy development and difficulties including assessments 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 teaching, support and intervention approaches for children with speech and/or language weaknesses, children learning English as an Additional Language (EAL), and children and parents learning a second language


  • Fricke S & Schaefer B (2011) Test fuer Phonologische Bewusstheitsfaehigkeiten. Idstein: Schulz-Kirchner-Verlag. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Fricke S (2007) Phonological awareness skills in German-speaking preschool children. Idstein: Schulz-Kirchner. RIS download Bibtex download

Journal articles


  • Fricke S & Millard G (2016) A setting-based oral language intervention for nursery-aged children with English as an additional language In Murphy VA & Evangelou M (Ed.), Early Childhood Education in English for Speakers of Other Languages (pp. 171-186). London: British Council. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Schaefer B & Fricke S (2015) Language programmes In Kersner M & Wright JA (Ed.), Supporting Young Children with Communication Problems (pp. 119-140). London: Routledge. RIS download Bibtex download


Research group

Previous PhD Students

  • Chris Dixon (2014-2018), Language and Literacy Development in Children Learning English as an Additional Language: A Longitudinal Cohort and Vocabulary Intervention Study; full-time PhD funded by Faculty PhD Scholarship, University of Sheffield; 2nd supervisor: Jenny Thomson
  • Katharina Albrecht (nee Salgert) (2012-2017), Speech Sound Development in Turkish-German Bilingual Children; full-time joint-location PhD, University of Sheffield & European University of Applied Sciences Rostock; 2nd supervisor: Dr J. McCormack (2015-2017)/Prof J. Stackhouse (2012-2015); Joint location supervisor: Prof A.V. Fox-Boyer (European University of Applied Sciences Rostock)
  • Dea Nielsen (2012-2016), Cognitive, Linguistic and Literacy Development in Young Children Learning English as an Additional Language; full-time PhD funded by University Prize Scholarship, University of Sheffield; 2nd supervisor: Dr M. Warmington (2015-2016)/Prof J. Stackhouse (2012-2015)
  • Chloë Bate (2008-2016), Relationships between Oral Language and Writing and their Development in 7-9-year-old Children; part-time PhD funded by University Scholarship, University of Sheffield; 1st Supervisor (until 2015): Prof J. Stackhouse
Teaching activities

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 intervention and teaching approaches, bi-/multilingualism and research methods. I coordinate two postgraduate research methods modules as well as two modules focussing on developmental speech difficulties (nature & investigation and intervention & management).

Professional activities
  • 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 and New Arrivals 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); British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL)
  • Refereeing: Grant reviewer and rapporteur and reviewer for Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) and Nuffield Foundation, 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

  • Ways in which digital technology intersects with assessment of individuals with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) 2018 – 2019 (Funded by Heather Van Der Lely Foundation Trust; PIs: Jenny Thomson and Silke Fricke (both University of Sheffield); £49,754)
  • 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 Sheffield); 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: Claudine Bowyer-Crane (academic theme lead) and Dea Nielsen (Post-doc; University of York), Silke Fricke (University of Sheffield), Anna Weighall (University of Sheffield), Lorna 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, 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):

Invited Member of Advisory Boards

  • Talking Together: An early evaluation of a home-based language support programme for families of children aged 2 years (2018 – 2021; funded by Nuffield Foundation; £ 226,990.99; PI: Dr C. Bowyer-Crane (University of York))
  • The development and evaluation of a mother tongue-based preschool language intervention program on the language and literacy outcomes of Portuguese language-minority children growing up in Luxembourg using a randomised controlled study (2014 – 2018; funded by POLILux – National Research Fund (FNR), CORE grant; € 910,000; PI: Dr P. Engel de Abreu (University of Luxembourg))
  • Bilingual families, identities and learning in the Early Years funded by UK Comenius Regio Partnerships grant (2013 – 2015; € 44,983 awarded to Sheffield City Council (UK) and Stavanger kommune (N))

Internal & External Collaborators

  • Jenny Thomson (University of Sheffield, UK)
  • Meesha Warmington (University of Sheffield, UK)
  • Danielle Matthews (University of Sheffield, UK)
  • Anna Weighall (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)
  • Cecile De Cat (University of Leeds, UK)
  • Annette Fox-Boyer European University of Applied Sciences Rostock (EUFH) Rostock, DE)
  • Marcin Szczerbinski (University College Cork, IE)
  • Pascale Engel de Abreu (University of Luxembourg – EMACS, LU)