Developing a sentence repetition task for school-age children

This placement falls within the areas of speech and language therapy, developmental psychology and linguistics and it will contribute to piloting of a new sentence repetition task for school-aged children. It will involve recording sentences, putting together the test material, recruiting children, collecting data, logging data into a database, and analysing data.

Department: Psychology, Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences

Supervised by: Theo Marinis

The Placement Project

Sentence repetition tasks have been shown to be very good tools to identify children with language impairment. However, most sentence repetition tasks available are not linguistically informed and do not control for several factors, such as syntactic complexity, length and frequency of words. To address this, we have started developing a new sentence repetition task for school-aged children that controls for many of these factors. We are now at the stage of creating the sentences, which will be ready by the start of this placement. During the summer we will pilot the new sentence repetition task with school-aged children in the Reading area. This placement will play an integral role in the piloting of the new sentence repetition task. The student will record sentences in our speech-booth, will create digital files for each sentence, and will prepare a Powerpoint file to be used for the data collection. When this is ready, the student will recruit children, collect data, transcribe and score them into a database, and conduct initial data analyses to find out about the internal consistency of the task. This project is in collaboration with Shula Chiat (City University London) and Sharon Armon-Lotem (Bar Ilhan University), and in the future we aim to develop parallel versions of this task in English, Hebrew, Arabic, Turkish, and Greek. The student will be working on the English version on the task. This placement falls within the areas of speech and language therapy, developmental psychology, and linguistics.


Week 1: recording and digitising sentences, preparing a Powerpoint file to be used for the data collection; Week 2: recruitment of children; Weeks 3 and 4: Data collection and transcription; Weeks 5 and 6: scoring in a database, and conduct initial data analyses.

Skills, knowledge and experience required

Essential: computer literate, use of Word and Powerpoint, good interpersonal skills, experience in interacting with children. The student has to be CRB checked. Some experience in using excel would be a plus, but it is not essential. The student will have to travel for the data collection.

Skills which will be developed during the placement

This placement will offer a high impact learning opportunity for the student by developing a range of different discipline specific and transferable skills. Discipline specific skills: the student will develop skills and gain experience in how to administer and score language tests, and how to transcribe data. These skills are crucial for speech and language therapists and very useful for psychologists and linguists. This placement will enable the student to develop them in a relatively short period of time over the summer. Transferable skills: The student will learn how to use digital recording software to create auditory files and how to put together the material in Powerpoint to create a user-friendly task. This skill is important for speech and language therapists, psychologists, linguists, but is also a transferable skill. The student will gain experience in using excel to input and analyse data. This is a transferable skill and is useful in any profession. The student will also develop interpersonal skills through liaising with parents and children to book appointments for testing. The placement is likely to lead to second/third authorship for the student on any publications resulting from the research.

Place of Work

University of Reading, children's homes

Hours of Work

9 to 5

Approximate Start and End Dates (not fixed)

Unknown - Unknown

How to Apply

Students should provide a CV and a covering letter outlining their motivation for the placement and the relevant skills and experience they will bring to the project. They should also put a statement as to whether they have CRB clearance. Short listed candidates will be interviewed.

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