Katherine S. Binder

Professor of Psychology

Chair, of Psychology & Education Department


  • B.A., Southern Illinois University
  • M.A., University of South Carolina
  • Ph.D., University of South Carolina

Courses Taught

  • Research Methods
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Lab in Cognition
  • Seminar in Cognition: Inhibition


I am a cognitive psychologist with interests primarily in how people learn to read. I study this topic both in children as well as adults who have low literacy skills. The work that I’ve done in schools with children examines how these young children develop fluency – both in terms of silent reading behavior as well as prosodic reading. Prosody can be thought of as that musical quality of reading. That is, how well do readers pause, emphasize various words, and use the pitch of their voice to convey meaning. We’ve also examined the phenomenon of mindless reading in children. We’ve all caught ourselves trying to read something only to realize that while our eyes have been moving across the page, we don’t remember anything that we’ve read. We’ve tried to capture this behavior in 2nd grade readers and we’ve tried to figure out which children are more likely to engage in this behavior. I am also very interested in how adults with low literacy skills acquire reading skills. I have examined how well these readers use various “codes” of language, such as phonological codes (the sounds), orthographic codes (spelling patterns), and morphological codes (meaning “pieces” of words – roots and affixes). I examine how these codes shape a learner’s spelling, vocabulary, and comprehension abilities.

Recent Publications

Binder, K. S., Magnus, B., Lee, C., & Gilbert Cote, N. (in press). To tell a morphologically complex tale: Investigating the story-telling abilities of children and adults with low literacy skills. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 10.1007/s11145-015-9560-5.

Fracasso L.E., Bangs, K., & Binder, K.S. (2014). The contributions of phonological and morphological awareness to literacy skills in the adult basic education population. Journal of Learning Disabilities.

Lee, C.S., & Binder, K.S. (2014). Atypically deviant or appropriately delayed? An investigation into semantic and phonological processing in Williams Syndrome. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research.

Talwar, A., Gilbert Cote, N., & Binder, K.S. (2014). Investigating Predictors of Spelling Ability for Adults with Low Literacy Skills. Journal of Research and Practice for Adult Literacy,Secondary, and Basic Education.

Zawoyski, A. M., Ardoin, S. P., & Binder, K. S. (2014). Using eye tracking to observe differential effects of repeated readings for second-grade students as a function of achievement level. Reading Research Quarterly, n/a-n/a. doi: 10.1002/rrq.91

Tighe, E., & Binder, K.S. (2014). Original to originality: An investigation of morphological accuracy and response times in adults with low literacy. Journal of Applied Psycholinguistics.

To, N. L., Tighe, E.L., & Binder, K.S. (2014). Investigating Morphological Awareness and the Processing of Transparent and Opaque words in Adults with Low Literacy Skills and in Skilled Readers, Journal of Reading Research.

Nguyen, V.T., Binder, K.S., Nemier, C., & Ardoin, S.P. (2014). Gotcha! Catching kids during mindless reading. Scientific Studies of Reading.