Research & Development

'We aim to continually develop our knowledge & expertise to make deaf children's future the best it can be. Our vision is of a world where all young deaf people have the same opportunities, rights & worth as any other child .  We look to current and cutting edge research to inform our practice and engage in national and international research initiatives.'


What's new?

Look here regularly to see what is going on in the world of Bilingual Deaf Education and research.  You will find reports of our current research activities, links to our publications, a list of key research papers and links to other relevant research papers.

Current Research Activities

 The Sign Bilingual Consortium is involved in a number of research activities:

1.      Deafness and Reading for Meaning Project (DReaM)

The DReaM project is concerned with developing appropriate reading assessment tools and intervention strategies for deaf young people. This project is led by Leeds University and involves a number of bilingual schools and services in England. The first phase of the DReaM project focused on the theory and practice of reading comprehension and deafness and particularly the diverse perspectives those practitioners on reading for meaning issues. (reported in full in Swanwick, Clarke & Kitchen, 2012). This work has now been takenforwardinto the development of a design process for a framework for reading comprehension intervention.

2.      Action research networks

As a result of the DReaM work many practitioners in bilingual settings have now set up their action research projects to investigate their own research questions. Some of the early projects are reported in the BATOD Magazine (2012, pp 40 -41.) and on the DReaM website  This work is practitioner-led and supported by Leeds University who have hosted three Action Research Symposiums. These have included participation from European and USA partners and expanded the action research model across the UK and beyond.

Longwill School has engaged in action research as a way of promoting the reflective practice of it's classroom practitioners .  More information can be found at or, for a brief summary, click here

3.      Language Planning

As sign bilingual schools and services are developing their language practices a number of settings have become involved in a language planning project.  This is a collaborative project between the University of Leeds and four Deaf Education Schools/Services. The aim of the project is to develop a methodology and protocol to accurately describe and profile deaf children’s bilingual and bimodal (sign and spoken) language experience and use.


4.      Executive Function abilities in Deaf children

The aim of our project is to look at the relationship between language and Executive Function skills in deaf children. To date we have visited many schools and homes and we have already seen 71 deaf and 33 hearing children.

We still have many more children to visit and are still looking for more severely or profoundly deaf children aged between 6-11 years old with no additional needs.  Early findings show that in a small group of signing deaf children there is a relationship between language and executive function. Deaf children who had better scores on a narrative measure were better at a number of problem solving and planning tasks.

We are halfway through the project now and will provide more updates on our website:

Please contact me if you would like any more information




 Carter, A. & Swanwick (2012). 'Action Research Makes a Difference' BATOD Magazine: March Edition. pp. 40 – 41

Gregory, S. & Swanwick, R. (2012) 'The sign bilingual movement'. British Association of Teachers of the Deaf (BATOD) Magazine: March Edition. pp. 11 – 13

Swanwick, R. A., Kitchen, R. and Clarke, P.J. (2012) Practitioner Talk on Deaf Children’s Reading Comprehension: Analysing Multiple Voices. Deafness and Education International 14 (2):100 – 120. 

Swanwick, R. (2011) 'The DReaM project'. BATOD Magazine March Edition.pp. 14 – 15

Swanwick, R. (2011) 'The Year of Reading'. BATOD Magazine. March Edition. pp. 16.



Visual Phonics

Phonics with deaf children is now possible...and you can learn it in 10 minutes!  

Visual Phonics by Hand is now published!
Go to www.visualphonicsbyhand.comThis phonics method is getting some great feedback from users...look out for reviews in BATOD and SEN magazines. It is valuable as a resource for including deaf children into their class phonics or for individual or small group work in any setting.
to browse.   A download of the training films is available for £89-99. A printable PDF is available now for anyone to order a CD version and pay by cheque.  Some LAs have problems with accessing downloads and paying by paypal. 


International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism:

Book Publishers: w

Dr Ruth Swanwick
Senior Lecturer in Deaf Education, School of Education
University of Leeds, LS2 9JT
Tel: 0113 343 4582


A new translation...A First!  A BSL book!
On October 30th in Sheffield at Off The Shelf festival, we are launching the very first BSL translated book on Romeo and Juliet.

For details of the launch, click

To see a preview of the BSL book, please click the following:

and click the Preview button.

This book is a vital supplement to every school's library for Deaf children in respect to the National Curriculum. The book has a CD at the back where BSL clips will be shown. For more details on what the book should look like, please visit



Deaf children and Research: a model of good practice and participation

The Bercow Review into Provision for children with Special Needs in Speech, Language and Communication needs