Leilani Saez

Profile picture of Leilani Saez
Research Assistant Professor
College of Education, Education Research and Outreach
Office: 175C Lokey Education Bldg


Dr. Leilani Sáez is a Research Assistant Professor with Behavioral Research and Teaching at the University of Oregon. She has extensive experience working in classroom settings, and previously worked directly with children, youth, and adults with learning disabilities. Her commitment to supporting individuals with learning difficulties spans more than 25 years.

Leilani has presented at 20 national conferences and co-authored 8 manuscripts, 4 book chapters, and 12 technical reports on working memory, reading development, classroom instruction, learning disabilities, teacher practices, and educational measurement. She has taught university courses on assessment, educating students with special needs and inclusionary classroom practices, and the psychology of learning. Most recently, she was the Principal Investigator of an Office of Special Education Programs funded project to support preschool teachers’ assessment-guided decision-making for preventing reading disabilities and strengthening children’s transitions to kindergarten. She currently serves on local education committees, and is a scholarly reviewer for multiple journals and professional conferences.


Ph.D., 2004, University of California, Riverside, CA
Major: Educational Psychology

M.A., 2001, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Major: Educational Psychology

B. S., 1995, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
Major: Educational Studies


Smith, J. L. M., Sáez, L., & Doabler, C. T. (2018). Working memory considerations for effective intervention in reading and math. Teaching Exceptional Children: High Leverage Practices, 50, 4, 250-257. (Invited reprint)

Sáez, L., Nese, J. F. T., Alonzo, J., & Tindal, G. (2016). Individual differences in kindergarten throughgrade 2 fluency relations. Learning and Individual Differences, 49, 100-109.

Sáez, L., Folsom, J., Al Otaiba, S., & Schatschneider, C. (2012). Relations among student attentionbehaviors, literacy instruction, and beginning word reading skill. Journal of LearningDisabilities, 45 (5), 418-432.

Swanson, H. L., Howard, C. B., & Sáez, L. (2006). Do different components of working memoryunderlie different subgroups of reading disabilities? Journal of Learning Disabilities, 39 (3),252- 269.

Swanson, H. L., Sáez, L., & Gerber, M. (2006). Growth in literacy and cognition in bilingual childrenat risk for reading disabilities. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98 (2), 247-264.

Swanson, H. L., Sáez, L., Gerber, M., & Leafstedt, J. (2004). Literacy and cognitivefunctioning in bilingual and non-bilingual children at or not at risk for readingdisabilities. Journal of Educational Psychology, 96 (1), 3-18.


Dr. Sáez’s research focuses on the prevention and support of persistent learning difficulties (LD) across preschool - 12th grade. She is particularly interested in the role of working memory executive functioning on self-regulated learning and achievement. Through her work, she has developed or co-developed with colleagues several kinds of tools for supporting classroom instruction and reducing LD risk: a 48 measure K-12 state-wide reading screening, diagnostic, and progressing monitoring system; tablet-based emergent literacy, mathematics, and behavioral self-regulation interim assessments; working memory and experimental cognitive processing measures; a pre-kindergarten online Learning Receptiveness Assessment with generative literacy and self-regulation curriculum + teacher training system. Dr. Sáez enjoys using performance task, questionnaire, interview, and observation research methods, and developing meaningful relationships with schools.