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Hélène Deacon

Killam Professor

Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Dalhousie University

Research Themes: 

The Communicating Mind and Body

Hélène Deacon is a Killam Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Dalhousie University, where she directs the Language and Literacy Lab.

She completed her PhD as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford in 2004. She is internationally regarded as an expert in children’s reading development.

She has served as an Associate Editor with Scientific Studies of Reading, the top international reading journal, and she is currently on the editorial board for 4 international journals. She also served as board member and visiting professor for many international organisations, including the Language Sciences Initiative at UBC, MacQuarrie University in Australia and the University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. She publishes widely, with more than 80 papers to date in peer-reviewed journals.

Dr. Deacon’s research is funded by Canadian national grants from SSHRC and NSERC, in addition to extensive local and international contracts and grants. She also mentors research students across multiple disciplines, including education, psychology, and health. Her research has won extensive recognition across fields, including from the National Academy of Education, the Canadian Association of Speech Language Pathology and the United Kingdom Literacy Association.

Research interests: Hélène is interested in understanding how children learn to read, specifically how they use their oral language skills to support the transition to skilled reading. In this research, she works with children and adults from across Canada and around the world. She believes it is vital that we understand how children learn to read in English, as well as in other languages, including those growing up bilingually.