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 students. However, when students have weak executive skills, the results are often painfully obvious in the classroom. In this session, participants will learn (1) more about executive skills, (2) specific ways that they support skilled reading, and (3) research-tested strategies for assessing and strengthening students’ executive skills, yielding insights and take-home strategies for helping students achieve a more meaning-focused approach to print.
About Kelly Cartwright, Ph.D.:
Kelly B. Cartwright, Ph.D. Professor of Psychology, Neuroscience, and Teacher Preparation at Christopher Newport University, directs the Reading, Executive function, And Development Lab (READLab) and is a Research Scholar for the Center for Education Research and Policy. Kelly studies the neurocognitive and affective factors that underlie reading processes and difficulties from preschool through adulthood. She regularly works with educators throughout the US to better understand and improve reading, and these experiences inform her research.