The mission of the Language Literacy Essentials in Academic Development (LLEAD) Lab (P.I. Julie Wolter, PhD, CCC-SLP) at the University of Montana is to conduct research on the language influences on literacy development that will be directly applied to speech-language pathology and education practices.


Another mission of the LLEAD Lab is to disseminate best practices for the facilitation of language and literacy success and graduate training.
Dr. Wolter’s past role as a certified speech-language pathologist fuels her teaching and research interests in the area school-age language and literacy development, assessment, intervention, and interdisciplinary collaboration. Dr. Wolter served as an Associate Editor and published in journals with high clinical impact such as the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and Topics of Language Disorders. Dr. Wotler is an internationally recognized expert in the areas of multilinguistic influences on literacy success in children with developmental language disorders and her research and clinical work are widely published and funded by agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and the United States Department of Education. She was recently recognized for her research and service in the award of Fellow of the American Speech Language Hearing Association.


Dr. Julie A. Wolter, PhD, CCC-SLP an internationally recognized leader in language and literacy studies is the director of the LLEAD Lab.

Dr. Wolter directs a number of ongoing studies in the LLEAD Lab that includes current investigations regarding the development and influences of meaning (morphological awareness) and letters (orthographic knowledge) in school-age children at risk for or diagnosed with Language Impairment, Language-Literacy Deficits, Learning Disability, and Dyslexia.
Her current work is focused on a longitudinal research study, the Orthography and Word Knowledge (OWL) Project.  This 5-year multi-site longitudinal study is part of a National Institutes of Health R01 grant through National Institutes of Deafness and Communication Disorders in which Dr. Wolter serves as Co-PI with her colleague Dr. Tiffany Hogan of Massachusetts' General Hospital Interprofessional Health Program. She and her colleagues in Boston, London, Florida are studying how young school-age children with and without developmental language disorder and/or dyslexia use their knowledge of letter patterns to facilitate their reading and writing skills. Outcomes of this study are focused on developing and informing early screening, assessment, and best intervention and instruction for these children who struggle to learn to read and write.


Research within the LLEAD Lab is focused on how language influences the ability to read and write in school-age children with and without deficits of language and literacy. Findings from this research are currently providing insights into best practices to test and teach literacy skills for children with all levels of oral language, reading, and/or writing abilities. Ultimately goals of the research include a) developing early reading and writing screening instruments, b) adapting and improving current literacy assessment measures, and c) creating effective intervention and instruction materials to improve language, reading, and writing outcomes for school-age children with and without language and literacy deficits.