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Literacy Lab

Literacy Lab

Collaborative research practices, to understand and improve children and young people's literacy experiences and outcomes

Open Research

As a research group we are committed to open science practices and preregister all studies (quantitative and qualitative) prior to commencing our research.  This means that details of our recruitment approaches, measures (e.g., questionnaires, interviews) and analysis plans are available before we start our research. Open science reflects a commitment to openness and transparency in research, and is really important to us as a group of researchers.

This transparent approach also provides teachers with more insight into the research process, and the different methodological approaches underpinning our projects.

You can access the preregistrations for our projects, and measures (e.g., interview schedules), here:


Love to read: A co-designed programme to motivate and engage child readers

 This project has three phases, details provided below:

Phase 1: Qualitative study:


1) To understand and describe the breadth and diversity of children’s book reading experiences.

2) To understand and describe school-based practices which children feel would encourage them, and their peers, to enjoy and read more books.

Phase 2:  Qualitative study:


1) To co-design (researcher-teacher collaboration) an intervention which is underpinned by relevant theory, research, and children’s insights.

2) To evaluate the co-design process, from participating teachers’ and researchers’ perspectives.

Phase 3: Acceptability and feasibility study:


To evaluate the acceptability and feasibility of the Love to Read programme in primary school classrooms, as measured by quantity and duration of implementation.

Additional aims:

  • To evaluate changes in children’s reading motivation, engagement, and knowledge, skills and behaviors associated with the six principles from pre to post-test.
  • To understand teachers’ perspectives of acceptability, feasibility and contribution to children’s outcomes and their own professional development.
  • To understand children’s perspectives and experiences of the Love to Read programme.


Children’s reading and wellbeing: Exploring the influence of reading to dogs.

Quantitative study:


1) To evaluate the influence of an online reading to dogs intervention (Paws and Learn – PAL) on the wellbeing and reading affect (i.e., confidence, attitudes) of children


The Young People’s Reading Project

This project has three phases, details provided below:

Phase 1: Young People’s Advisory Panel:


1) To explore how adolescents perceive and talk about their own book reading experiences.

2) To develop themes for subsequent interviews with adolescents (Phase 2) and to co-design an interview schedule for the purpose of understanding and describing the breadth and diversity of adolescents’ book reading experiences.

3) To contribute towards methodological knowledge regarding ways in which researchers can work alongside adolescents to understand their authentic experiences, specifically evaluating youth advisory panels of a means of doing this.

Phase 2: Qualitative Study:


1) Exploring how adolescents perceive and talk about their own book reading experiences

2) Exploring the motivators and barriers to reading as perceived by adolescents themselves

3) Contributing towards methodological knowledge regarding peer interviewing


Reading and Wellbeing: Developmental and Diverse Perspectives

Qualitative study:


1) To explore readers’ perspectives on the relationship between reading fiction and wellbeing across the lifespan.

2) To examine whether there are similarities and differences in readers’ perspectives of reading fiction and wellbeing at different ages.


Narrative Fiction: Understanding Ourselves and Others

Qualitative study:

Research Questions:

1)To what extent, and how, does reading narrative fiction support and develop adolescents’ understanding of themselves and others?

2) To what extent do adolescent readers engage in reflective literacy practices?

3) From adolescents’ perspectives, how can they be effectively supported to engage in reflective literacy practices to support understanding of themselves and others?


Augmented Reality Books and Reading

Qualitative study:


1) To explore how children read/interact with AR storybooks in a classroom setting in real-time, with an addition focus on understanding similarities and differences between children based on their levels of reading skill.

2) To explore to what extent, and how, children perceive the features of AR storybooks as supportive of their reading engagement and comprehension.

3) To explore to what extent, and how, teachers perceive the features of AR storybooks as supportive of children’s reading engagement and comprehension

4) To understand teachers’ perceptions of the usability of AR books in the classroom


Neurodiversity and Narrative Fiction

Qualitative Study:


1) To understand neurodivergent young people’s opinions and experiences of representation of neurodivergence in narrative fiction.


Reading Engagement Scale

Quantitative Study:


1) To examine the structure and validity of the newly created Reading Engagement Scale (RES)

Additional aims:

  • To examine the strength of the relationship between the four different dimensions of reading engagement (using the RES), children’s reading motivation (value) and reading skill
  • To examine sex and age differences across the four different dimensions of reading engagement.

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