The last year has been a very strange and challenging time for all. The pandemic has impacted and will continue to impact everyone in a myriad of ways. The current changes in restrictions have given Dr Jessie Ricketts and the LARA lab time for reflection, and to think about what we have been doing.

Much of our data collection has been on hold, though some projects are just starting to get underway again, our work with preschoolers and infants, and with adolescents. We are very excited to get going again!

This last year has brought a lot of engagement with non-academic stakeholders. Here is a brief overview of some of the things we’ve been doing.

Research in the LARA lab focuses on how spoken language underpins reading and how reading opens up a new world of language experiences. Our work has highlighted how important it is to support reading in secondary as well as primary pupils – not an obvious idea for many. Click here to read the article and here to find a poster that summarises it.

This work has been showcased in an article in Tes (was Times Educational Supplement) and contributed to the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Oracy inquiry, with the report published in April.

Work showing how printed words can be used as a strategy for teaching new vocabulary (read all about it here) underpins recommendations for addressing vocabulary disparities between children in a recent report from Oxford University Press.

Jessie has also been working closely with many schools, including those in Blackpool to improve literacy standards (click here to read more about the project). Blackpool continues to receive government funding to address disadvantage as an Opportunity Area.

Jessie’s quotes in a recent report published by GL Assessment were picked up by the press.

Quote - Dr Jessie Ricketts

Reflections on the last year from the LARA lab

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