Photo of Sarah Critten
  • Source: Scopus
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Personal profile

Vision Statement

Sarah’s motivation for her research in literacy development is to further elucidate the cognitive processes underlying the relationship between language and literacy development in young children. Sarah'spublished research concerns young children’s reading and spelling strategies, implicit and explicit knowledge of spelling, morphological spelling and writing abilities of children with written language difficulties, e.g. Specific Language Impairment/Dyslexia, techniques for assessing writing development and the relationship between prosodic sensitivity and literacy. Sarah utilises a range of innovative methods within her research to try and conceptualise the cognitive mechanisms underlying reading, spelling and writing. For example studies of reading and spelling she examines children’s verbal self-reports of understanding and strategy use alongside more traditional measures of standardised tests and error analyses. Furthermore in studies of morphological spelling specifically and text level writing she uses the handwriting software Eye and Pen to examine online processes of hand-writing, e.g. pause analysis alongside measures of the quality of the written product.


Sarah completed her BSc in Psychology (with first class honours) at the University of Hertfordshire in July 2003 and then worked as a graduate Research Assistant in the Psychology Department until September 2004. She then completed a PhD in the area of children’s implicit and explicit spelling development in July 2008.

After lecturing at University of Hertfordshire for a year she joined Oxford Brookes University as a Post-Doctoral Fellow in October 2009. This Leverhulme Trust-funded project (Project leaders: Vince Connelly, Julie Dockrell) examined the relationship between oral and written language in children with Specific Language Impairment and also involved the development of objective assessments for children’s writing. Follow-on funding from the ESRC enabled a series of workshops with project partners to explore issues of assessing writing further and culminated in a conference at Oxford Brookes involving teachers and other educational practitioners.

In July 2011 Sarah joined Coventry University as a lecturer in Developmental and Educational Psychology and as Course Director for the Post Graduate Certificate in Reading Development. Currently Sarah is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Course Director for MSc Applied Psychology


Education/Academic qualification

Doctorate, University of Hertfordshire

1 Oct 20041 Jul 2008

Award Date: 1 Jul 2008

Degree, University of Hertfordshire

1 Oct 20001 Jun 2003

Award Date: 1 Jun 2003

External positions

External Examiner for MA in Specific Learning Difficulties (Dyslexia), University College London

11 Oct 2016 → …


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