Denyse Hayward

Denyse Hayward

Associate Professor

Educational Psychology

Research and Interests /or Research Interests

My current research examines the assessment and instruction of language and literacy skills in young children with and without language learning difficulties.

Investigating the Inclusion of Constitutive Aspects of Spelling in Alberta’s Spelling Curriculum

Historically, spelling was considered a core subject but has suffered a decline over several decades. Many people still believe that spelling is primarily a visual skill which has led to a resistance to explicitly teach spelling in schools. However, there is mounting evidence showing spelling to be a complex language skill requiring knowledge of phonology (sounds and syllables), orthography (letters), morphology (word parts), semantics (word meaning), syntax (grammar), and pragmatics (context). Spelling helps us understand underlying difficulties in reading and writing.

In this study I will examine ministry of education curriculum guidelines for spelling, and commercial spelling programs used in Albertan schools to determine if they incorporate the language components that comprise spelling.

The Design and Development of an Early Language and Literacy Screening Test

Building on existing research, our goals are to develop a national early language and literacy assessment instrument, the Test of Early Language and Literacy (TELL) and a complementary intervention program. National norming of the TELL is almost complete. Work is currently underway on the Environmental and Print Awareness teaching modules.

The Accuracy of Reading Classification: Comparison of Conventional and Dynamic Measures of Word Reading

In this study we examine the contributions of an alternative assessment model, referred to as Dynamic Assessment, to the assessment of phonological awareness and word reading skills in beginning readers from non-mainstream backgrounds.

Representative Publications and/or Presentations

Testing Instruments

Schneider, P., Dubé, R. V., & Hayward, D. (2005). The Edmonton Narrative Norms Instrument (ENNI).

Ritter, K., & Hayward, D.V. (2015). Sound Access Parent Outcomes Instrument (SAPOI). Edmonton: Alberta Health Services.

Phillips, L.M., Hayward, D.V., & Norris, S.P. (2016). Test of Early Language and Literacy. Toronto, ON: Nelson Education.


Hayward, D., Gillam, R., & Lien, P. (2007). Retelling a script-based story: Do children with and without language impairments focus on script and story elements? American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 16(3), 235-245.       

Hayward, D., Das, J.P., & Janzen, T. (2007). Innovative programs for improvement in reading through cognitive enhancement: A remediation study of Canadian First Nations children. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 40(5), 443-457.   

Hayward, D.V., Schneider, P., & Gillam, R.B. (2009). Age and task related effects on young children's understanding of a complex picture story.  Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 55(1), 54-72.   

Phillips, L.M., Norris, S.P., Hayward, D.V., & Lovell, M.A. (2014). Unique contributions of maternal reading proficiency to predicting children's preschool receptive vocabulary and reading proficiency. Early Childhood Education Journal, 1-9, 10.1007/s10643-014-0632-y   

Hayward, D.V., Phillips, L.M., & Sych, J. E. (2014).  Analysis of phonological and phonemic awareness content in pre-service textbooks on the teaching of reading. Canadian Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, 38(1), 6-24.

Lee, J.Y., Hayward, D.V., & Kim, S.A. (2015). A pilot study to adapt the ENNI as a screening tool for children with disabilities. Korean Journal of Early Childhood Special Education, 15(3), 1-25.

Hayward, D.V., Ritter, K., Mousavi, A., & Vatanpour, S., (2016). The Sound Access Parent Outcomes Instrument (SAPOI): Construction of a new instrument for children with severe multiple disabilities who use cochlear implants or hearing aids. Cochlear Implants International, 17(2), 81-89.

Books/Book Chapters

Hayward, D.V., Stewart, G.E., Phillips, L.M., Norris, S.P., & Lovell, M.A. (2008). Language, Phonological Awareness, and Reading Test Directory. London, ON: Canadian Centre for Research on Literacy and Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network. Hayward, D.V., & Phillips, L.M. (2009). Considering research quality and applicability through the eyes of stakeholders. In M. C. Shelley II, L. D. Yore, & B. Hand (Eds.), Quality research in literacy and science education: International perspectives and gold standards (pp. 139-148). Dordrecht, The Netherlands, Springer. 

 Hayward, D.V., & Phillips, L.M. (2012). The relationship between spelling and reading ability. In D.G. Jamieson (Ed.), Encyclopaedia of Language and Literacy Development (pp. 1-7). London, Ontario, Canada: Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network. (URL:

hillips, L.M., Norris, S.P., Hayward, D.V., & Vavra, K.L. (2012). Reading comprehension instruction. In D.G. Jamieson (Ed.), Encyclopaedia of Language and Literacy Development (pp. 1-12). London, Ontario, Canada: Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network. (URL:

Courses Taught

EDPY 301 Inclusive Education: Adapting Instruction for Students with Special Needs
EDPY 458 Assessment and Programming for Children with a Specific Reading Disability
EDPY 472 Introduction to Language Development
EDEL 404 Developing Literacy: Pre-school to Grade Three

Academic Qualifications and Background

I began my professional career as a speech-language pathologist working in clinical and educational settings to support young children with speech and language delays. I completed my doctoral studies at the University of Alberta (Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine) specializing in narrative comprehension in young children with and without language impairments. Following my doctorate, I completed two post-doctoral fellowships. The first with Dr. Ron Gillam in the Dept. of Communication Disorders at the University of Texas at Austin and the second with Dr. Linda Phillips in the Dept. of Elementary Education at the University of Alberta.