St. John’s College invite applications for a highly motivated Post-Doctoral Research Assistant to work on a research project at the University of Oxford. The project is led by Professor Kate Nation and Dr Nicola Dawson and is in close collaboration with The Story Museum.

The project sits within a programme of work investigating children’s reading and language development. It will also inform The Story Museum action research on the impact of engaging with spoken, written and digital stories on children’s learning and life satisfaction. The goal of this project is to investigate children’s learning through books, audiobooks and oral story telling.

Our previous work has shown that reading experience is important as books contain language that is more complex and sophisticated than the language children would otherwise encounter in their day[1]to-day lives. In this project, we ask whether other properties of books also contribute to learning. We will do this by comparing children’s learning from reading story books vs listening to audiobooks. Key to education is learning information and acquiring knowledge. As our previous work has shown that the language content of nonfiction books is different in important ways to the language of fictional narratives, we will consider learning from nonfiction texts as well as stories. Children are constantly learning, often in complex, social, multifaceted, and multisensory environments. This is not captured by standard laboratory style experiments. To remedy this, we will develop a research partnership with the Story Museum to investigate and celebrate the magic of oral storytelling and what children learn from it.

The project is funded by St John’s College and the appointee will be a member of the college as well as being affiliated with the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford. The post is for 12 months with a proposed start date of 1st September 2024 or as soon as possible afterwards.

The salary will be made on the University scale, grade 7.1, currently £36,024 per annum and is dependent on experience and qualifications.

Further particulars for the post, including information about the application procedure, can be found here.

The closing date for applications will be 12pm 4th July 2024. We anticipate that interviews will be held on Monday 22nd July 2024.

This appointment is open to suitably qualified candidates from all backgrounds. Subject to statutory provisions, no applicant or member of staff will be treated less favourably than another because of their sex, marital status, sexual orientation, racial group, age or disability.

The appointment will be subject to the provision of proof of the right to work in the UK. Candidates are also asked to complete a Recruitment Monitoring form, if they are willing to do so. This can be submitted via email (