Melissa Feller is a PhD candidate at the MGH Institute of Health Professions under the mentorship of Dr. Tiffany Hogan and Dr. Charley Haynes. She is also a Senior Learning Designer for Zaner-Bloser, Inc, where she supports new and existing literacy product development and the translation of best practice literature into curriculum design. She is a speech-language pathologist/literacy specialist with extensive clinical experience in the area of language-based learning disabilities and advanced training in structured literacy interventions.

She has worked in public school, private interdisciplinary practice, higher education, and educational technology settings, including as a clinical instructor and director of the literacy and language certificate of advanced study program in the IHP’s CSD department. Melissa spent a number of years working directly with students with reading and writing difficulties, helping parents navigate the IEP process, and supporting educators and administrators in improving implementation of evidence based practices in school settings. She is especially passionate about improving outcomes and educational experiences for children with dyslexia and developmental learning disorder. To this end, she has become particularly interested in the timely and accurate identification of language based learning disabilities in children. Melissa’s research interests include reading/spelling relationships, reading disabilities in multilingual populations, and systems-level translation of evidence-based literacy assessment practices in school settings. She's also a mom of 3 young children. 

Favorite Children's Book: Nancy Drew Series

  • BS, Speech-Language Pathology, Psychology, Towson University, Towson, MD
  • MS, Communication Sciences & Disorders, MGH Institute of Health Professions, Boston, MA 

Research Interests

  • Reading and writing development and difficulty
  • Identification of language-based learning disabilities in mono- and multilingual populations
  • Spelling and writing assessment and intervention

Clinical expertise

  • Literacy assessment and intervention
  • Dyslexia, developmental language disorder, executive function difficulties
  • Parent advocacy and support
     

Recent Publications:

Educators’ perceptions of barriers and facilitators to the implementation of screeners for developmental language disorder and dyslexia.

Identifying Reading Disabilities: A Survey of Practitioners

This work emphasizes the importance of the individual context in shaping barriers to and facilitators of translating reading research to school based practice. Accurate and timely reading disability identification in schools is situated within a complex and nuanced context. At the same time, there is a pressing need for preventive and prescriptive assessment and intervention for students at risk for poor literacy outcomes. Our national survey exploring reading disability identification practices showed lengthy identification timelines and substantial variation in assessment team composition, diagnostic criteria and labels applied, and the need for improved practitioner training opportunities. The work examining educators’ perceptions of screener implementation within a specific local context provided insights into features important to consider when designing future efforts around improving early screening and identification of oral and written language difficulties, most notably the usability of the screeners, time and approach to preparation for implementation, ease of implementation, and practical usability of the resulting data. 

see google scholar profile

 

Presentations:

Feller, M.J. Hook, P.E., Haynes, C., & Hogan, T.P. (2023, Nov 16-18). Reading and spelling relationships: A study of 5th grade students. [Poster presentation]. American Speech- Language Hearing Association (ASHA) Annual Convention, Boston, MA. 

Feller, M.J. (2023, February 11). Speech, Language, & Literacy Relationships: Oral Language Development & Disorders Overview [Invited scholar training seminar]. Children’s Dyslexia Center Boston-North, live webinar.

Feller, M.J., Jones, A., O’Brien, A., & Gaab, N. (2022, January 27). Supporting systems level translation and coordination for students with learning and developmental disabilities: Ideas and innovations. [Poster presentation]. Learning Disabilities Association of America Annual Conference (LDA 2022), New Orleans, LA.

Feller, M.J. (2017, March 22). Developing strategic learners: An SLP’s reading comprehension intervention toolkit. [Invited spoken presentation]. Speech-Language Hearing Association of Virginia (SHAV) annual conference, Richmond, VA.

Feller, M.J. (2017, February 10). Helping Struggling Writers Become Strategic: An Executive Function Toolkit for SLPs. [Invited keynote seminar presentation]. Metro Speech and Language Network 2017 Symposium, Denver, CO.
 

Contact Information

Melissa in elementary school
Melissa in elementary school