Charlotte Webber (PhD Student)

Thesis title: Tackling the Drop-Off: Understanding the Teenage Reading Experience


My PhD research uses participatory approaches to explore young peoples' reading motivation and their experiences with volitional reading. More information about the project can be found here: The Young People’s Reading Project – Literacy Lab (  Prior to starting my PhD at the University of Edinburgh, I completed my BSc and MSc in Psychology at the University of Birmingham and worked as a Research Assistant on Literacy and Reading projects at Aston University


I also currently co-convene the UKLA Special Interest Group on Participatory Approaches in Literacy Research with Dr Sarah McGeown (University of Edinburgh) and Dr Melanie Ramdarshan Bold (University of Glasgow). More details can be found here: Participatory Approaches in Literacy Research SIG - UKLA


MSc Psychology by Research

University of Birmingham | 2017


BSc Psychology (Hons), Class I

University of Birmingham | 2016

Responsibilities & affiliations

Co-convener | Participatory Approaches in Literacy Research SIG - UKLA 

Ideas Group Member | University of Edinburgh Participatory Research Network

Knowledge exchange

Journal publications:

Participatory research methods and co-production:

  • Webber, C., Santi, E., Calabrese, J., & McGeown, S. (2024). Using Participatory Approaches with Children and Young People to Research Volitional Reading. Language and Education.
  • Webber, C., Wilkinson, K., Duncan, L. G., & McGeown, S. (2024) Working with a young people’s advisory panel to conduct educational research: Young people’s perspectives and researcher reflections. International Journal of Educational Research, 124. 
  • Webber, C., Wilkinson, K., Andries, V., & McGeown, S. (2022). A reflective account of using child‐led interviews as a means to promote discussions about reading. Literacy, 56(2), 120-129.

Neurodiversity and neurodivergence:

  • Webber, C., Santi, E., Crompton, C. J., Fletcher-Watson, S., & McGeown, S. (2024). Representation in fiction books: Neurodivergent young people's perceptions of the benefits and potential harms. Neurodiversity, 2,
  • Webber, C., Santi, E., Cebula, K., Crompton, C. J., Fletcher-Watson, S., & McGeown, S. (2024). Representation of neurodivergence in fiction books: Exploring neurodivergent young peoples' perspectives. Literacy.
  • Crompton, C. J., Fotheringham, F., Cebula, K., Webber, C., Foley, S., & Fletcher-Watson, S., (preprint). Neurodivergent-Designed and Neurodivergent-Led Peer Support in School: A feasibility and acceptability study of the NEurodivergent peer Support Toolkit (NEST).

Adolescent reading motivation and engagement:

  • Webber, C., Wilkinson, K., Duncan, L. G., & McGeown, S. (2023b) Adolescents’ perspectives on the barriers to reading for pleasure. Literacy.
  • Webber, C., Wilkinson, K., Duncan, L. G., & McGeown, S. (2023a) Approaches for supporting adolescents' reading motivation: Existing research and future priorities. Frontiers in Education, 8.
  • Webber, C., Wilkinson, K., Duncan, L.G. & McGeown, S. (2022) Connecting with Fictional Characters: The Power of Books. Frontiers for Young Minds, 10.  

Libraries and librarians:

  • Webber, C., Bohan, K., Collins, H., Ewens, J., Wilkinson, K., & McGeown, S. (2024). Beyond books: High school librarians as champions of pupil inclusivity, autonomy, and reader development. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 0(0).

Reading skills:

  • Webber, C., Patel, H., Cunningham, A., Fox, A., Vousden, J., Castles, A., & Shapiro, L.R. (2023) An experimental comparison of additional training in phoneme awareness, letter-sound knowledge and decoding for struggling beginner readers. British Journal of Educational Psychology.
  • Hulme, R. C., Webber, C. E., Fox, A. C., Ricketts, J., National Family Learning Forum, Shapiro, L. R., & Taylor, J. S. H. (2022). Do family learning phonics courses improve parents' reading‐related skills and ability to support their children's reading?. Journal of Research in Reading, 45(3), 258-276.

Infant eating behaviour:

  • Webber, C., Blissett, J., Addessi, E., Galloway, A. T., Shapiro, L., & Farrow, C. (2021). An infant‐led approach to complementary feeding is positively associated with language development. Maternal & Child Nutrition, 17(4), e13206. DOI:



Participatory research methods and co-production:

Neurodiversity and neurodivergence:

Adolescent reading motivation and engagement:

Libraries and librarians:

Project activity

Postdoctoral Research Fellow: Neurodivergent peer Support Toolkit (NEST)  

PhD researcher: The Young People's Reading project

Research Assistant: Neurodiversity and Narrative Fiction project

Research Assistant: Love to Read: Libraries

Current project grants

The Young People's Reading project (funded by ESRC and managed by SGSSS; grant reference: ES/P000681/1).

Conference details


International Society for Autism Research (INSAR), 2024

  • Poster: Exploring the feasibility and effectiveness of a co-designed and neurodivergent-led peer support program for neurodivergent high school students.

United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA), 2023

  • Presentation: Neurodiversity and narrative fiction: Exploring the representation of neurodivergent children and young people.
  • Presentation: Understanding and Supporting Teenage Reading Experiences Symposium.
  • Chair: Speaking Up for Reading Engagement!

UKLA SIG Participatory Approaches in Literacy Research conference, 2023

  • Presentation: Working with a young people’s advisory panel on The Young People's Reading Project.

United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA), 2022

  • Presentation: Better together: Co-designing literacy interventions with children, young people, teachers and other professionals?



University of Edinburgh Participatory Research Network launch, June 2024

  • Challenges in Participatory Research: Time and participation within a PhD project

Edinburgh Impact Festival, May 2024

  • It’s never too early! Engagement and impact by Edinburgh’s Early Career Researchers: Resource Development with Scottish Book Trust

University of Dundee Childhood & Youth Research Priority, May 2024

  • Insights into the Adolescent Reading Experience

School Libraries Association, May 2024

  • Neurodivergent representation within fiction books

UKLA SIG Participatory Approaches in Literacy Research seminar series, Feb 2024

  • Convening a young people’s advisory panel: ethical issues, positionality, and implementation challenges

School Libraries Association, Jan 2024

  • Teenagers Reading: Engagement and Enjoyment

Salvesen Mindroom Research Centre, November 2023

  • The 2023 Salvesen Lecture | Panelist

Scottish Book Trust, June 2023

  • The Young People's Reading Project

Language and Literacy Collective (LALco), May 2023

  • Supporting young people to read for pleasure: Insights & strategies

Aston University Language & Cognitive Development Seminar Series, March 2022

  • Understanding the teenage reading experience.


Workshops & Teaching:

Workshop facilitator | Scottish Book Trust CLPL session: Supporting teens to read for pleasure (June, 2024)

Workshop facilitator | University of Edinburgh: MSc Education (Autism and Developmental Disabilities)

Workshop facilitator | Celebrating the relationship between reading and wellbeing: Promoting discussions between researchers and librarians (November, 2023)

Workshop facilitator | Scottish Book Trust CLPL session: School libraries and supporting teens to read for pleasure (October, 2023)

Workshop facilitator | Festival of Inclusion CPD: Neurodiversity & Narrative Fiction, George Watson College (August, 2023)

Workshop facilitator | Co-Production Collective, UCL: Introduction to Co-Production for postgraduate students at London School of Hygiene and Tropical medicine (March, 2022)


NEurodivergent peer Support Toolkit (NEST) Launch, 2024

The online launch of NEST, a suite of materials to facilitate peer support for neurodivergent young people in mainstream secondary schools. The launch event was watched live by ~250 attendees. You can watch the recording on the NEST website


UKLA SIG Participatory Approaches in Literacy Research seminar series, 2024

A monthly seminar series for members of UKLA SIG Participatory Approaches in Literacy Research to learn about different ways of ‘doing’ participatory research from different perspectives and to have extended discussion about the issues related to participation in literacy research.