Dr Sarah Kuppen

Senior Lecturer

Faculty:Faculty of Science & Technology


Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: Psychology

Sarah’s expertise is in child development, particularly in the areas of language and literacy.  She's also interested in evidence-based parenting, where scientific research is used to guide parenting practices.

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Sarah focuses her research on reading and language development and disability in infants and children. She is currently conducting an investigation into reading in low IQ children and acts as principle investigator for Tune Time, a research project investigating the role of rhyme, rhythm and singing in boosting literacy skills in Year 1 pupils.

Research interests

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Sarah is interested in developmental trajectories and uses the technique to investigate differential outcomes in children with dyslexia and children with low IQ and poor reading. She is also interested in the role of rhythm in speech, language and literacy development and was the primary investigator for the Tune Time early literacy project. Full resources for this Year 1 classroom project, including songs and sheet music are freely available to interested parents and teachers (email sarah.kuppen@anglia.ac.uk). Sarah frequently talks and writes on matters of parenting as related to developmental science. She is currently writing a book on parenting preschoolers which provides advice based on the outcomes of scientific research (due for publication by Routledge end 2017). You can follow Sarah on twitter @sarah_kuppen

Sarah is a member of our Child Development Research Area which forms part of our Brain and Cognition Research Group.

Find out more about our Psychology PhD.


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MSc Clinical Child Psychology


  • PhD, University of Cambridge
  • MSc, Oxford University
  • BSc Psychology, UCL
  • Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE), Institute of Education, London

Memberships, editorial boards

  • British Psychological Society (developmental branch)
  • Society for the Scientific Studies of Reading

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

  • Channel 4 Child Genius, 2013-ongoing, advisor for Wall to Wall productions on IQ test administration with children
  • Pearson Publishing, tandardisation team for updates on the following children’s measures: Ravens Matrices, Bayley Scales, WPSII, WISC, Test of Everyday Attention for children
Research grants
  • Harpur Trust (£25K+), Tune Time Early Literacy Project
Knowledge exchange
  • Wellcome Trust funded, 'I’m a scientist' public engagement project
  • Frequent contributor to Wellcome Trust Education and Neuroscience Initiative

Selected recent publications

Kuppen, S., & Bouke, E., under review. Spoken rhythmic rhymes support literacy development in children with poor phonological awareness.  Journal of Educational Psychology.

Kuppen, S. and Goswami, U., (in press). Developmental trajectories for children with dyslexia and low IQ poor readers. Developmental Psychology.

Kuppen, S., Huss, M. and Goswami, U., 2013. A longitudinal study of basic auditory processing and phonological skills in children with low IQ. Applied Psycholinguistics. Advance online publishing, DOI: 10.1017/S0142716412000719.

Kuppen, S., Huss, M., Fosker, T., Fegan, N. and Goswami, U., 2011. Basic Auditory Processing Skills and Phonological Awareness in low IQ readers and typically developing controls. Scientific Studies of Reading, 15(3), pp.211-242.

Recent presentations and conferences

Cambridge Festival of Ideas, 2015. Tantrum taming:  How developmental science can help us to be effective parents. 

Cambridge University Science Festival, 2015. Science based approaches to early education: The case of rhythm and literacy.

Centre for Educational Neuroscience University of London, 2014. Tune Time: spoken and sung rhymes for early literacy.

European Dyslexia Association, 2013. Tune Time: investigating the role of sung versus spoken rhymes in boosting early phonological awareness. Linnaeus University, Sweden.

BPS CogDev joint Section Conference, 2013. Tune Time: investigating the role of sung versus spoken rhymes in boosting early phonological awareness. Reading University, UK.

BPS Developmental Section Conference, 2010. A longitudinal study of basic auditory processing & phonology in low IQ good and poor readers and their controls. Goldsmith's College, London, UK.