At LALco, we work closely with non-academic partners (e.g., teachers, children and young people, third sector organisations etc) to ensure meaningful input from research users in the research process. Research is better when it is collaborative: it draws upon a broader range of knowledge, expertise and experience, and ensures the research being conducted is relevant and meaningful to research users. Collaboration during all stages of the research process is crucial and below we provide details of some of our most recent projects.

Motivation and engagement in reading

An online survey was distributed in 2019 to understand the practices used by teachers in primary schools to promote children’s motivation and engagement in reading. We also asked teachers to set our research agenda in this area, by identifying specific research questions that they would like the answer to. Questions asked by teachers included: How do we increase intrinsic motivation for children from unmotivated home environments? Does level or complexity of vocabulary in a book affect engagement? We plan to use these questions to focus our future research in this area.

eLIPS: Early Language in Play Settings
eLIPS is an observational system to help early years practitioners make and record observations about a child’s communication skills to encourage and support discussion about language development in practice. It was developed in an Action Research project linking Dundee University and Fife Council. More details about this project can be found on the eLIPS website:

Growing up a Reader

Growing up a Reader is an interdisciplinary research project (Education, Psychology and English Literature) running from 2018-2019 in collaboration with two non-academic partners – the Scottish Book Trust and Edinburgh’s Museum of Childhood. For this project, we trained a group of 12 primary and 10 secondary school students to join our research team and interview their peers about what it means ‘to read’ and ‘be a reader’ in the 21st century. Details of this project can be found on our website:

Improving children’s reading: Research informing practice

In collaboration with 22 reading partnership schools across six local authorities in Scotland, this project ran from 2017-2018 and brought together researcher and teachers’ knowledge, expertise and experience through four focused workshops aimed at improving children’s reading. These workshops covered the following topic areas: early reading instruction, word reading and spelling, reading comprehension with different text types and reading for pleasure. Resources developed from this project were aimed at making previous research findings accessible and relevant to teachers, and included short videos, research/practice posters and blog posts. All resources can be found on our website: and a short evaluation of the project can be found here: Improving reading evalution