PositionSonali Nag

Supernumerary Fellow in Education. Associate Professor of Education and the Developing Child.


MPhil (National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, India), PhD (Portsmouth).

Academic Positions

Associate Professor of Education and the Developing Child.

Academic Background and Previous Positions

My interest in child development began with my MPhil at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS, India).  Following my MPhil, I co-established the Consultant Psychologists Group and a Special Needs Center offering assessment, counselling and remedial support for children manifesting difficulties in school.  I also began work in the Indian charity, The Promise Foundation, focusing on early childhood and primary school programmes for children in poverty.  I remain an Honorary member of the Foundation.  My PhD at the University of Portsmouth (UK) examined the impact of two interventions on literacy outcomes among multilingual children. In 2004, I began exploring the cognitive bases of learning to read in the Indic writing system of South Asia and as a Newton Fellow of the Royal Society and British Academy began the Children Learning to Read project in India in 2009. I curate a unique web resource—Lingua Akshara—for researchers, clinicians and teachers working in South and Southeast Asian languages. More recently, I have focused on a rigorous review of the developing countries literature on language and literacy learning, cultural sensitivity of early grades programmes and the abiding influence of home environments and classroom practices (2013-2016). I moved to Oxford in 2017.

Graduate Teaching Areas

MSc Education (Child Development and Education).

Research Interests

My research is concerned with literacy and language development.  I am interested in the processes that support the journey from being a novice to an expert user of written language, and more generally, in the relationship between writing systems and learning. I also examine what works when children struggle with learning, using both cognitive-linguistic and cultural frameworks for analysis.


Sonali Nag. Assessment of literacy and foundational learning in developing countries: Final Report. Health and Education Advice and Resource Team (2017), xiii, 94p 

Nag, S., Snowling, M. J. and Asfaha, Y. (2016) Classroom literacy practices in low- and middle-income countries: an interpretative synthesis of ethnographic studies. Oxford Education Review, 42 (1), 36-54.

Nag S., et al. (2014) Literacy, foundation learning and assessment in developing countries: final report. London: Department for International Development.

Nag, S. (2014) Alphabetism and the science of reading: from the perspective of the akshara languages. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 866.

Nag, S. and Perfetti, C. A. (2014) Reading and writing: insights from the alphasyllabaries of South and Southeast Asia. Writing Systems Research, 6 (1), 1-9.

Nag, S. and Snowling, M. J. (2012) School underachievement and specific learning difficulties. In J. M. Rey (ed.). IACAPAP textbook of child and adolescent psychiatry. [Online].

Nag, S. (2016) Oral language and learning to read.  Presentation in the Global Literacy Special Interest Group’s Highlighted Session on ‘the next generation of reading interventions: the importance of assessing & teaching oral language skills in L1’, at the Annual Meeting of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES), Vancouver.

Nag, S. (2014) HEART Series on Literacy, foundation learning and assessment in developing countries.

Arulmani, G. and Nag S. (2006) Work Orientations and Responses to Career Choices: Indian Regional Survey (WORCC-IRS). Bangalore: The Promise Foundation.

Chamarajanagar stories: reflections on language, literacy and learning. (2007) Bangalore: The Promise Foundation and National Institute of Advanced Studies.

Nag, S. and Arulmani, G. (2006) Handbook on prevention of child labour for village community workers. Geneva: International Labour Organisation. (available in Telugu and English).

Abrol, U. and Nag, S. (2006) Handbook on prevention of child labour for anganwadi workers. Geneva: International Labour Organisation. (Available in Telugu and English).


[email protected]


Department website

Honorary Fellows

See a list of Brasenose's Honorary Fellows.

Emeritus Fellows

See a list of Brasenose's Emeritus Fellows.

Read the Prospectus

Prospective Students

Read more about studying at Brasenose College.

Undergraduate Courses

Interested in undergraduate study? Read about the courses we offer