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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


Postdoctoral Researchers

Dr Nicola Currie.  Nicola is a Research Fellow on the Leverhulme Trust Reading and Wellbeing project, exploring readers’ perceptions of whether, and how, reading narrative fiction supports wellbeing. Her PhD research examined developmental differences in primary school children’s inference generation, with a focus on how vocabulary knowledge and memory support this skill. After completing her PhD, Nicola worked at Lancaster University on several projects investigating the development of a language and literacy skills in children and adolescents. Email:


PhD Researchers

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_ 


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:


Pauliina Vuorinen. Pauliina is a 4th year PhD student at School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh (funded by ESRC and School of Informatics). Pauliina uses innovative observational methods to track reading behaviour while adults read on e-readers. Her PhD project studies how adults read for fun using digital devices.  In particular, the project investigates how adults fit reading for fun in their daily lives, and how motivation influences reading behaviour. Pauliina is supervised by Prof Frank Keller from School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh, and Prof Ben Tatler from School of Psychology, University of Aberdeen. Pauliina is an associate member of the Literacy Lab. You can learn more about her research here: Email: X: @PTEVuorinen


You can learn about the work and interests of previous team members through the Alumni page.


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