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Literacy Lab

Literacy Lab

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

Our Team

We work regularly and routinely with partners from different national and community organisations and charities, in addition to teachers, children and young people to carry out our research.  Details of the research team based at the University of Edinburgh coordinating these projects can be found here.

Literacy Lab Lead

Dr Sarah McGeown.  Sarah’s research involves working with children, young people, teachers and other professionals to support the literacy skills and experiences of primary and secondary school students.  She is PI on the Nuffield Foundation Love to Read project ( and Leverhulme Trust Reading and Wellbeing project.  Sarah co-founded LALco ( in 2019 with Lynne Duncan to improve communication, collaboration and co-production among those working across research, practice and policy contexts.  Email: X: @DrSarahMcG


Research Fellow

Charlotte Webber. Charlotte is a final year PhD student at Moray House School of Education and Sport, University of Edinburgh, in collaboration with Scottish Book Trust. Her PhD project uses participatory approaches to work with young people (13 – 14 years old) to understand their experiences with reading for pleasure and to tackle the adolescent drop-off in reading motivation (funded by ESRC and managed by SGSSS). Charlotte has a particular interest in co-production and co-design with young people and in the benefits of reading for pleasure in adolescence. She is also working on a number of projects at Scottish Book Trust including StoryCon and the “My Life as a Reader” outreach project. You can learn more about her research here: Email: X: @charlwebber_ 


PhD researchers

Kawla Alhamad.  Kawla is a Lecturer at the Special Education Department at Imam Abdulrahman bin Faisal University in Saudi Arabia (SA). In August 2017, she completed her graduate degree in Special Education at Seattle University (US). Kawla is current a third year Ph.D. student in Moray House School of Education and Sport, University of Edinburgh. Kawla’s project examines The Impact of Augmented Reality (AR) Books on the Reading Enjoyment, Engagement and Comprehension of Struggling Readers. You can learn more about her research here: You can contact her on email:  or X: @alwakn


Elena Santi. Elena is a third year PhD student at Moray House School of Education and Sport, University of Edinburgh. She has an MA in Children’s Literature and is interested in how literature may support children and young people’s wellbeing and self-development. Her PhD project focuses on understanding the reading experiences of young people (aged 12-14), specifically the extent to which narrative fiction helps them understand more about themselves and others, and aims to create a guide to support reflective literacy practices.  You can learn more about her research here: Email:


Maggie Chan.  Maggie Chan, Fellow of Advance Higher Education, is an Associate Tutor and PhD researcher at the Moray House School of Education and Sport, University of Edinburgh.

She also works as a support worker for the Disability and Learning Support Service of the university. Prior to her work in the UK, Maggie was a children’s book author and university lecturer in Hong Kong, where she received multiple teaching awards. Her research focuses on disability representation in picturebooks, specifically the nature and use of these books.

Further information on her work can be found at:



Ross Young.  Ross is a former primary school teacher and co-founder of The Writing For Pleasure Centre. His books Real-World WritersWriting for Pleasure, and The Science Of Teaching Primary Writing translate research insights into real-world applications for teachers. Ross is currently an ESRC funded PhD researcher studying the writing lives of children and young people, in collaboration with University of Glasgow and National Literacy Trust. You can learn more about his PhD research here:


You can learn about the research of previous and associate members through the Alumni page.


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