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Northwestern School of Communication

Mercedes Spencer

Assistant Professor
What accounts for the inability to comprehend written text despite being able to accurately read words? This is one of several questions that my research aims to answer. Broadly, I am interested in the cognitive-behavioral correlates of reading development and the application of this knowledge to the identification of reading comprehension difficulties in children.

Area(s) of Expertise

Childhood Development, Childhood Education, Language development and difficulties, Reading comprehension development and difficulties
Mercedes Spencer

Mercedes Spencer is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. She earned her PhD in Psychology from the Florida State University and completed her postdoctoral training in the Department of Special Education at Vanderbilt University. Her work uses a variety of approaches (e.g., latent variable structural equation modeling, meta-analysis) to investigate children’s language and literacy development and answer questions related to the prediction and classification of reading disorders and associated cognitive profiles and developmental trajectories. Specifically, she is interested in the contribution of executive function and attention skills to this process and aims to identify potential early indicators of reading comprehension difficulties to better predict and prevent future reading comprehension problems in children.

Scholarly Work


  • 2021, Society for the Scientific Study of Reading: Rebecca L. Sandak Young Investigator Award
  • 2020, International Dyslexia Association: Early Career Award for Contributions to Research


  • CSD 304: Statistics in Communication Sciences and Disorders
  • CSD 404: Experimental Design and Statistics in Communication Sciences and Disorders