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Dr Lucy Rodriguez-Leon

Profile summary

Professional biography

Dr Lucy Rodriguez Leon is a Lecturer in Early Childhood at the Open University in the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies. Lucy’s academic expertise is in Early Childhood Education and Care [ECEC]. After teaching at a State Maintained Nursery School for 16 years, she moved into teaching in Adult Education and Higher Education whilst completing her PhD.  Prior to her current role, Lucy taught on an Early Years School-Centred Initial Teacher Training programme and delivered Continuing Professional Development courses in the Early Years sector.

Lucy’s research focuses on early childhood literacies;  her work contributes to knowledge of how babies and young children engage with and experience literacies in their everyday lives. Her Doctoral Thesis ‘Literacy Experiences: An Exploration of Young Children’s Intentions, Identities and Affective Relations in Everyday Encounters with Text’ was awarded the United Kingdom Literacy Association student research prize for postgraduate work 2021.

Lucy is also interested in Early Years Workforce Development and was a member of a research team that undertook a systematic review of international research evidence on the impact of staff training and qualifications on the experiences of, and outcomes for children and families. She was co-ordinator of the ‘Literacy Working Group’ on the ‘Birth to 5 Matters’ Project which produced a comprehensive document and website offering non-statutory guidance for the  Early Years Foundation Stage.  She also contributed to a project with early years practitioners in South Africa, evaluating the impact of the TESSA Badged Online Course, Teaching Early Reading with African Storybook.  As convenor of the Early Years Special Interest Group at the United Kingdom Literacy Association, she has led and contributed to multiple open access resources promoting broad, balanced, and equitable approaches to early literacy education. She is also a member of the Open University’s Reading for Pleasure Programme team.


Research interests

Lucy’s doctoral research was an ethnography exploring 3-4-year-old’s experiences of literacy in their play and everyday lives. Her research drew on multiple data gathering methods and explored some innovative techniques to engage with young children’s perspectives of literacies in the world around them. Lucy has extensive knowledge of cultural-historical theory. However, her doctoral study and subsequent research papers take the bold step of bringing neo-Vygotskian concepts into dialogue with posthumanist theories. In addition, Lucy’s research work contributes to knowledge on adult-child shared book reading in the early years. She is particularly interested in issues of equality, diversity and inclusion in shared reading practices, and she is pursuing funding to explore early years practitioners' perspectives and pedagogy in this area.

Teaching interests

Lucy’s teaching interests span many aspects of early childhood education and literacy education. She is currently module co-chair on E109, ‘Perspectives on Young Children's Lives and Learning’. She previously worked on the production of E229, ‘Listening to Young Children Living and Learning: Critical Reflections’. Lucy was a member of the team that produced a popular open access MOOC for early years practitioners entitled ‘Supporting Physical Development in Early Childhood’, funded by Public Health England. She was team co-ordinator on the production of a badged online course,  ‘Developing Reading for Pleasure: engaging young readers’, published in 2022. 

Impact and engagement

Lucy is a member of the Open University’s Safeguarding Steering Group. She is a member of several professional associations, namely, the International Society for Cultural-historical Activity Research , the British Educational Research Association, the United Kingdom Literacy Association and TACTYC, the Association for Professional Development in Early Years. She is External Examiner for the University of Hull, BA Education, Society and Culture (Top up) programme.


Disrupting language of instruction policy at a classroom level: oracy examples from South Africa and Zambia (2022-09-05)
Chamberlain, Liz; Rodriguez-Leon, Lucy and Woodward, Clare
Literacy, 56(3) (pp. 264-274)

Surfacing complexity in shared book reading: the role of affordance, repetition and modal appropriation in children’s participation (2021-03)
Rodriguez-Leon, Lucy and Payler, Jane
Learning, Culture and Social Interaction, 28, Article 100496

Sensing and configuring the world with text: bringing neo-Vygotskian thinking into dialogue with more-than-human literacies in early childhood (2021)
Rodriguez Leon, Lucy
Discourse: Studies in the cultural politics of education ((Early access))

Reading Teachers: Nurturing Reading for Pleasure (2022-08-31)
Cremin, Teresa; Hendry, Helen; Rodriguez-Leon, Lucy and Kucirkova, Natalia
ISBN : 9781032105024 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon

Disrupting language of instruction policy at a classroom level: oracy examples from South Africa and Zambia (2022)
Chamberlain, Liz; Rodriguez-Leon, Lucy and Woodward, Clare
In : The 57th UKLA International Conference - Reaching out through literacy: Enabling advantage for all (1-3 Jul 2022, Birmingham, UK)

Where measurement stops: A review of systematic reviews exploring international research evidence on the impact of staff qualification levels in ECEC on the experiences of, and outcomes for, children and families. (2022-01-31)
Josephidou, Joanne; Rodriguez-Leon, Lucy; Bennett, Stephanie; Bolshaw, Polly; Musgrave, Jackie and Rix, Jonathan
TACTYC, United Kingdom.

Supporting the teaching of early reading: An evaluation of the TESSA: Teaching Early Reading with African Storybook Badged Online Course (BOC) (2020-04)
Stutchbury, Kris; Chamberlain, Liz and Rodriguez-Leon, Lucy
The Open University, Milton Keynes.