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About the Author

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Alexandra Spichtig, Ph.D.

Alexandra (Alex) Spichtig has dedicated her career to education and researching and understanding the role of eye movement and visual skills in reading. She began her career as a classroom teacher in Switzerland before moving to the U.S., where she earned a Master’s Degree in Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language, and her Ph.D. in Instructional Design for Online Learning. In her former role as Chief Research Officer at Reading Plus, Alex incorporated her groundbreaking research on silent reading proficiency into instructional and assessment tools focused on developing students’ silent-reading proficiency and measuring unique aspects of reading including comprehension-based silent reading rate and motivation for reading. Alex has presented at various international conferences related to literacy and eye movement research and co-authored book chapters and peer-reviewed journal articles. Among them was a landmark study that analyzed changes in silent reading efficiency over a 50-year span, published in Reading Research Quarterly in 2016. In her current role as co-founder and CEO of the Stanford Taylor Foundation, Alex leads education initiatives and research efforts focused on visual skill development and the relationship between visual skill proficiency and academic success. Alex is committed to promoting a broader understanding of the essential role visual and perceptual skills play in reading, learning, and sports. 

Alex is also a passionate advocate for social and emotional learning and is a certified HeartMath Coach/Trainer and Master RIM® (Regenerating Images in Memory) Facilitator. 

Publications and Presentations

2022

Spichtig, A.N., Pascoe, J.P., Gehsmann, K.M., Gu, F., & Ferrara, J.D. (2022). The Interaction of Silent Reading Rate, Academic Vocabulary, and Comprehension Among Students in Grades 2–12.  Reading Research Quarterly, 57(3), pp. 1003– 1019. 

 

2019

Ferrara, J.D., Spichtig, A.N., Pascoe, J.P., & Gehsmann, K.M. (July 2019). Evaluating Concurrent Validity and Classification Accuracy of a Short Web-based Adaptive Assessment Compared to Two Assessments Widely Used in the United States. The 26th Annual Meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading (SSSR), Toronto, Canada.

 

Gehsmann, K.M., Spichtig, A.N., Pascoe, J.P., & Ferrara, J.D. (July 2019). The Confluence of Reading Efficiency and Orthographic Knowledge in Proficient and Non-Proficient Fourth- and Fifth-Grade Readers. The 26th Annual Meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading (SSSR), Toronto, Canada.

 

Hiebert, E., Scott, J., Castaneda, R., & Spichtig, A. (2019). An analysis of the features of words that influence vocabulary difficulty. Education Sciences, 9(1).8.

 

Spichtig, A.N., Ferrara, J.D., & Pascoe, J.P. (August 2019). The relationship between efficiency and proficiency in reading: A cross-sectional eye-movement study. The 20th European Conference on Eye Movements (ECEM), Alicante, Spain.

 

Spichtig, A.N., Gehsmann, K.M., Pascoe, J.P., & Ferrara, J.D. (2019). The Impact of Adaptive, Web-Based, Scaffolded Silent Reading Instruction on the Reading Achievement of Students in Grades 4 and 5. The Elementary School Journal, 119(3), 443-467.

 

Spichtig, A.N., Pascoe, J.P., & Ferrara, J.D. (August 2019). Reading Efficiency in Proficient and Non-Proficient Students: A Comparison Across Five English Speaking Countries. World Education Research Association (WERA) 10th Focal Meeting, Tokyo, Japan.

 

Spichtig, A.N., Pascoe, J.P., Ferrara, J.D., & Gehsmann, K.M., (July 2019). How reading efficiency and reading proficiency relate: A closer look. The 26th Annual Meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading (SSSR), Toronto, Canada.

 

2017

Gehsmann, K.M., Spichtig, A.N., Pascoe, J.P., Ferrara, J.D. (December 2017). Comparing the Construct of Reading Proficiency Across Five Commonly Used Reading Assessments: Implications for Policy and Practice. Literacy Research Association 67th Annual Conference, Tampa, FL, USA.

 

Gehsmann, K.M., Spichtig, A.N., & Tousley, E. (2017) Validating an Online Assessment of Developmental Spelling in Grades Five Through Eight. Literacy Research: Theory, Method, and Practice, 66(1):279-292.

 

Gehsmann, K.M., Tousley, E., Spichtig, A.N., Pascoe, J.P., Ferrara J.D. (August 2017). Effects of Scaffolded Silent Reading Practice on the Reading-Related Eye Movements of US Students in Grades 4 and 5. In: Radach, R., Deubel, H., Vorstius, C., & Hofmann, M.J., (Eds.). The 19th European Conference on Eye Movements (ECEM), Wuppertal, Germany. 

 

Spichtig, A.N., Gehsmann, K.M., Pascoe, J.P., & Ferrara, J.D. (August 2017). The Correlation between Eye Movement Data and Three Commonly Used Academic Reading Assessments. In: R. Radach, H. Deubel, C. Vorstius, & M. J. Hofmann (Eds.). The 19th European Conference on Eye Movements (ECEM), Wuppertal, Germany. 

 

Spichtig, A.N., Gehsmann, K.M., Pascoe, J.P., Ferrara, J.D. (December 2017). Reading Fluency: The Gateway to Comprehension and Motivation. World Education Research Association (WERA) International Conference, New Territories, Hong Kong, China.

 

Spichtig, A.N., Pascoe, J.P., Ferrara, J.D. (August 2017). The Reliability of Reading Efficiency Measures Obtained by Classroom Educators Using a Low-Cost Eye Movement Recording System. In: R. Radach, H. Deubel, C. Vorstius, & M. J. Hofmann (Eds.). The 19th European Conference on Eye Movements (ECEM), Wuppertal, Germany. 

 

Spichtig, A.N., Pascoe, J.P., Ferrara, J.D., & Vorstius, C. (2017). A Comparison of Eye Movement Measures across Reading Efficiency Quartile Groups in Elementary, Middle, and High School Students in the U.S. Journal of Eye Movement Research, 10(4). 

 

Spichtig, A.N., Pascoe J.P, Gehsmann, K.M., Ferrara, J.D. (December 2017). Skimmers and Plodders: Implications for Practice. Literacy Research Association (LRA) 67th Annual Conference, Tampa, FL, USA.

 

2016

Spichtig, A.N., Hiebert E., Vorstius, C., Pascoe J.P., Pearson P.D., & Radach, R. (2016). The Decline of Comprehension-Based Silent Reading Efficiency in the United States: A Comparison of Current Data with Performance in 1960. Reading Research Quarterly, 51(2), pp. 239-259. 

 

2015

Spichtig, A.N., Pascoe, J.P., & Ferrara, J.D. (August 2015). An Eye-Movement Study of Comprehension-Based Silent Reading Efficiency Across Grade Levels in U.S. Students. In: Ansorge, U., Ditye, T., Florack, A., & Leder, H. (Eds.). The 18th European Conference on Eye Movements (ECEM), Vienna, Austria. Journal of Eye Movement Research, 8(4). 

 

2013

Hiebert, H., Spichtig, A.N., & Bender, R. (2013). Building Capacity in Low-Performing Readers: Results of Two Months of Reading Plus Practice. http://www.readingplus.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Research_Brief_Vol2_Issue11.pdf

 

2012

Reutzel, D.R., Petscher, Y., & Spichtig, A.N. (2012). Exploring the Value Added of a Guided, Silent Reading Intervention: Effects on Struggling Third-Grade Readers’ Achievement, The Journal of Educational Research, 105(6), 404-415. 

 

Galonska, S., Spichtig, A., Kuperman, V., & Heine, A. (2012). Kommentare zu Radach, Guenther & Huestegge (2012): Blickbewegungen beim Lesen: Leseentwicklung und Legasthenie. Lernen und Lernstörungen, 1 (3), 205 – 217. 

 

Spichtig, A. (2012). Effects of four electronic text presentation formats on reading efficiency and comprehension. Doctoral dissertation, Capella University. Retrieved from:  http://gradworks.umi.com/35/42/3542048.html

 

2011

Taylor, S.E. & Spichtig, A. (2011). Today’s technology to develop silent reading proficiency and fluency. In S.E. Taylor (Ed.), Exploring Silent Reading Fluency: It’s nature and Development. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas Publisher, Inc., pp 143-178.

 

2009

Spichtig, A., Vorstius, C., Greene, A., & Radach, R.R. (2009). Comparing Visagraph III to EyeLink 2k: How does a “low cost” eye tracker measure up to state-of-the-art technology? The 15th European Conference on Eye Movements (ECEM), Southampton, UK. 

Certification

Master RIM® (Regenerating Images in Memory) Facilitator

Certified in coaching tool combining somatic work and communication skills to reduce stress, improve mindset, neutralize emotional triggers, facilitate enhanced relationships, and increase emotional intelligence

Cultural Transformation Tools, Barrett Values Centre

Certified to perform 360 evaluations and organizational development including culture and performance measures, leadership, individual, and small group assessment and development

Certified HeartMath® Coach & Trainer, Institute of HeartMath®

Certified to coach and train groups and individuals using the HeartMath® system, combining scientific concepts, techniques and tools to develop greater mental and emotional balance, reduce stress, increase composure, and intuitive flow

Trainer – Business and Personal Development, Train the Trainer with Jack Canfield

Certified to train groups in proven business and life success principles, with emphasis on goal setting, mindset, emotional intelligence, and building trust in self and groups

 

Brain Gym I-II, Educational Kinesiology (Edu-K), International Kinesiology College

Certified in techniques using dynamic and postural reflexes to cultivating the physical components of learning, to improve focus, reduce stress and anxiety, and to support whole-brain learning

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