Keynote Speaker

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Keynote Speaker Kelly B. Cartwright Ph.D.

Keynote Address Oct. 19th from 8:30 – 9:45
Why Don’t My Best (Word) Readers Comprehend Text?

Many times, our students seem to have all of the necessary skills they need to be good
readers (things like phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and
comprehension strategies, to name a few), but somehow, they still struggle with putting
all of these things together in order to comprehend texts. In this session, we will dig a bit
deeper than the familiar skills listed above to explore essential thinking skills, called
executive skills, that support successful word reading and reading comprehension.
Executive skills are self-regulatory skills that help students manage their thoughts,
emotions, and actions, and include things like working memory, inhibitory control (or
self-control), and mental flexibility. These skills are often invisible to teachers and


Kelly’s Morning Workshop Session Oct. 19th from 10:30 – 12:00
Teaching Executive Skills to Support Reading 



Kelly B. Cartwright serves as Professor of Psychology, Neuroscience, and
Teacher Preparation at Christopher Newport University (CNU) where she directs the
Reading, Executive function, and Development Lab (READ Lab). Kelly’s research explores
the development of skilled reading comprehension and the neurocognitive, linguistic, and
affective factors that underlie reading comprehension processes and difficulties from
preschool through adulthood. Kelly has a particular interest in the role of executive function
processes (mental skills that support goal-directed activities), such as cognitive flexibility, in
the development of skilled reading comprehension, and she wrote the first comprehensive
text on this topic (Executive Skills and Reading Comprehension, Guilford, 2015). Kelly’s has
developed reading-specific executive function assessments and interventions, and her
graphophonological-semantic cognitive flexibility assessment has been adapted for use in
several languages. More recently, she has turned her attention to the roles of executive function
processes in particular domains of reading comprehension, such as health literacy and mathematics
word problem comprehension; contributions of executive functions to other individual difference
variables that support reading comprehension, such as strategic processing; and to reading
comprehension development in Spanish-speaking English learners.