Heidi Anne E. Mesmer, PhD, is Assistant Professor at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, where she conducts research and teaches literacy courses to graduate students. She is a former elementary school teacher and has taught in both urban and rural settings. Since 1999 she has studied beginning reading materials and text difficulty. Dr. Mesmer has worked extensively with schools and teachers in funded projects. She was a Spencer Foundation/National Academy of Education postdoctoral fellow and a recipient of an Institute of Education Sciences/American Educational Research Association grant.