Dr Sarah Kuppen

Senior Lecturer

Faculty:Faculty of Science and Engineering

Department:School of Psychology and Sport Science

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.

Follow Sarah on Twitter: @sarah_kuppen


Sarah researches children’s reading and language development and disability.  She has recently completed the Tune Time project, which investigated the role of rhyme, rhythm and singing in boosting literacy skills in Year 1 pupils.  Sarah leads the MSc in Clinical Child Psychology at ARU.

Research interests

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 has recently written a book on parenting young children - Little Kids, Big Dilemmas: Your parenting problems solved by science (www.littledilemmas.com) - which provides advice based on the outcomes of scientific research.

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.


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, standardisation 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. (2018) Little kids, big dilemmas: your parenting problems solved by science. Published by Routledge.

Kuppen, S. & Bourke, E. (i2017) Rhythmic rhymes for boosting phonological awareness in socially disadvantaged children.  Mind, Brain, and Education, 11(4), 181-189.

Kuppen, S. E., & Goswami, U. (2016). Developmental trajectories for children with dyslexia and low IQ poor readers. Developmental Psychology, 52(5), 717-734.

Kuppen, S., Huss, M., & Goswami, U. (2014). A longitudinal study of basic auditory processing and phonological skills in children with low IQ. Applied Psycholinguistics, 35(6), 1109-1141.

Kuppen, S., Huss, M., Fosker, T., Fegan, N., & Goswami, U. (2011). Basic auditory processing skills and phonological awareness in low-IQ readers and typically developing controls. Scientific Studies of Reading, 15(3), 211-243.

Recent presentations and conferences

Neuroscience and Education. Invited speaker at the Essex Secondary Science Festival, June 2018.

Making Sense of the Early Years. Cambridge Science Festival. March 2018.

BPS Developmental Section 2016 (Belfast). Oral Paper. Developmental trajectories for phonological and auditory processing in children with dyslexia and low IQ poor readers.

Festival of Ideas (2016). Opinions on parenting – how to sort the help from the hype.

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.

Media experience

Excerpts from Sarah's book have featured in:
The Daily Mail Online
i paper

In addition, she has contributed to parenting articles for:
Yahoo Style
The Telegraph
The Guardian
Mum’s Magazine