About Kelly

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Kelly B. Cartwright is 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 and affective factors that underlie comprehension processes and difficulties from preschool through adulthood. Her work has appeared in Journal of Educational Psychology, Contemporary Educational Psychology, Research in Developmental Disabilities, and a range of other research publications. Her books on reading comprehension include Executive Skills and Reading Comprehension: A Guide for Educators,Word Callers: Small-Group and One-to-One Interventions for Children who “Read” but Don’t Comprehend. andLiteracy Processes: Cognitive Flexibility in Learning and Teaching, which was nominated for the Ed Fry Book Award in 2008. Kelly has served on the Board of Directors of the Literacy Research Association and was a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Oxford. Her research has been supported by grants from the Virginia State Reading Association and the United States Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences. Kelly regularly works with teachers in public and private schools throughout the US to better understand and improve reading comprehension for struggling readers, and these experiences inform her research.

Cartwright Teaches in these Programs

Selected Recent Publications

Cartwright, K. B., Marshall, T. R., Huemer, C. M., & Payne, J. B. (2019). Executive function in the classroom: Cognitive flexibility supports reading fluency for typical readers and teacher-identified low-achieving readers. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 88, 42-52.


Cartwright, K. B. (2017). Executive-level thinking: Teaching 21st century skills for effective reading comprehension. Literacy Today, 34 (6), 38-39.  


Cartwright, K. B., Bock, A. M., Coppage, E. A., Hodgkiss, M. D., & Nelson, M. I. (2017). A comparison of cognitive flexibility and metalinguistic awareness in adult good and poor comprehenders. Journal of Research in Reading,  DOI: 10.1111/1467-9817.12101


Cartwright, K. B., Coppage, E. A., Lane, A. B., Singleton, T., Marshall, T. R., & Bentivegna, C. (2016). Cognitive flexibility deficits in children with specific reading comprehension difficulties.  Contemporary Educational Psychology, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cedpsych.2016.01.003


 Guajardo, N. R., & Cartwright, K. B. (2016). The contribution of theory of mind, counterfactual reasoning, and executive function to pre-readers’ language comprehension and later reading awareness and comprehension in elementary school. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 144, 27-45 


Cartwright, K. B., Marshall, T. R., & Wray, E. (2016). A longitudinal study of the role of reading motivation in primary students' reading comprehension. Reading Psychology, 37, 55-91.


Bock, A., Cartwright, K. B., Gonzalez, C., O'Brien, S., Robinson, M. F., Schmerold, K., Shriver, A., & Pasnak, R. (2015). The role of cognitive flexibility in pattern understanding. Journal of Education and Human Development, 4, 19-25.


Cartwright, K. B. (2015). Executive skills and reading comprehension: A guide for educators. NY: Guilford Press.


Cartwright, K. B. (2015). Executive function and reading comprehension: The critical role of cognitive flexibility. In S. R. Parris & K. Headley (Eds.), Comprehension instruction: Research-based best practices (3rd ed., pp. 56-71). NY: Guilford Press.


Cartwright, K. B. & Guajardo, N. R. (2015). The role of hot and cool executive functions in pre-resider comprehension. In A. DeBruin-Parecki, A. van Kleeck, & S. Gear (Eds.), Developing early comprehension: Laying the foundation for reading success. Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing.


Duke, N. K., Cartwright, K. B., & Hilden, K. (2014). Difficulties with reading comprehension. In C. A. Stone, E. R. Silliman, B. J. Ehren, & G. P. Wallach (Eds.), Handbook of language and literacy: Development and disorders. NY: Guilford Press.


Cartwright, K. B. (2012). Insights from cognitive neuroscience: The importance of executive function for early reading development and education. Early Education and Development, 23, 24-36.


Cartwright, K. B. (2010). Word callers: Small group and one-to-one interventions for children who "read" but don't comprehend. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.