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Literacy and Numeracy in Context (LiNCon)

LiNCon is a research group which aims at providing academic and broader audiences with research-based knowledge about the context in which children develop and acquire literacy and numeracy skills.  

LiNCon aims at studying the reasons why the development of literacy and numeracy can differ among children (Illustration: Colourbox).

About the group 

The research group LiNCon was created in August 2018 with the intention of gathering expertise in the domains of literacy and numeracy to understand the reasons why the development of these two domains can differ among children. Children’s differences in skills prevent some of them from reaching a level necessary to meet the demands of the academic, social and work life.

LiNCon will try to understand how these core skills develop by studying how children’s own abilities and contextual factors interplay in the learning processes. Increasing our knowledge about these processes will give us a better foundation for understanding what can be done to ameliorate difficulties and develop a school system that provides equitable opportunities for all regardless of ability, gender and social status. 

Research focus 

LiNCon consists of five permanent researchers who share the same interest in literacy and numeracy but bring valuable knowledge about different branches in this field. The members’ research program aims to disentangle the possible pathways that lead to why children follow different developmental trajectories in literacy and numeracy. Some key elements in our research involve: 

  • The understanding of the development of language and literacy skills and their influence on the attainment of specific skills such as reading and sentence fluency. 
  • The insights into the mechanisms that aid children transitioning from a word-reading level to advanced passage-reading level.  
  • The study of how specific language skills, such as morphological awareness, and broader language comprehension contribute to word reading and reading comprehension 
  • The plausible relation between language and mathematical development such as the interconnection between reading comprehension and word problem-solving.  
  • Underpinning the unique and causal mechanisms for developing good numeracy and literacy skills by using advanced methodological and statistical procedures. 
  • The familial and socio-economic factors that can determine the educational opportunities and outcomes of children. For instance, the role of genetic and environmental factors as mediators of children’s acquisition of literacy and numeracy 

Research ambitions 

LiNCon has the ambition of being a research group where the senior members publish in the most prestigious journals within our field, apply for, and get prestigious grants and collaborate with top international researchers. In addition to these five permanent members of the research group, there will also be six junior members that are either writing PhD dissertations or doing postdocs within the areas of literacy, language and/or numeracy. 


In November 2017, our research group started the study NumLit, which is a large-scale multi-year longitudinal study. In this study, we will follow a cohort of children starting from the age of 5 in kindergarten and follow them up throughout primary and secondary education. The children will be examined on a large battery of tests that measure literacy, numeracy, language, and cognitive skills. 

Research blog for every audience

Our member, Monica Melby-Lervåg, continuously publishes relevant updates related to our work in Læringsbloggen. This blog has been a perfect manner of reaching broader audiences such as teachers, parents and everyone interested in learning more about children's development of literacy and numeracy skills. 

Published Sep. 20, 2018 1:40 PM - Last modified Apr. 19, 2021 11:47 AM


Research group leader

Arne Ola Lervåg