Donna Caccamise
ICS Faculty • Associate Research Professor
Institute of Cognitive Science • Caccamise/Kintsch Lab • NSF National AI Institute for Student-AI Teaming

CINC 227

Research Overview

Dr. Caccamise directs the Salsa lab, a research group dedicated to studying discourse processes. Currently she is the Principal Investigator for a grant with the Department of Education/IES to develop middle school curriculum that teaches students expert reading comprehension skills as they struggle to understand challenging content area course work such as science and history. This lab group also employs in their research natural language processing strategies and maintains the LSA website, used internationally in language research and university coursework.


Dr. Caccamise received both her MA and PhD from the University of Colorado Boulder in Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Science. She has been the Associate Director of the Institute since July, 1999. During this time the Institute has tripled its annual grant portfolio. She has been instrumental in the creation of an expert grants management staff, and development of physical research space for the institute, including the remodel/build-out of some 20,000 sq.ft of research space, including an fMRI facility.  Dr. Caccamise has been published in international and national journals and has presented topics at several national and international conferences. She has also produced many government reports, briefings, and training materials, many of which are in the form of video documentaries and interactive computer/web-based programs.

Dr. Caccamise is the former ICS Academic Programs Director, and was instrumental in creating and implementing the combined Ph.D. program in cognitive science, the first interdiciplinary degree of its type in Colorado, as well as other graduate and undergraduate certificate programs.

Prior to assuming her position in the Institute, Dr. Caccamise held various leadership positions in industry. With a focus as a human factors engineer and program manager she tackled a wide range of cognitive issues associated with systems design and analysis, training and qualification programs, management and leadership, human reliability/risk analysis, ergonomic and safety programs, human-machine interfaces, environmental programs, and nuclear safeguards and security.

Recent Works

Littrell-Baez, M. K., & Caccamise, D. (2017). A cognitive perspective on chemistry instruction: Building students’ chemistry knowledge through advancing fundamental literacy and metacognitive skills. In P. Daubenmire (Ed.), Metacognition in chemistry education: Connecting research and practice. (pp. 31-42). ACS Symposium Series; American Chemical Society: Washington, DC.

Rankin, P. and Caccamise, D. (2017) Why Women Aren’t Where They Are Needed in the Workforce: Putting the Pieces Together. The Sasakawa Peace Foundation Expert Reviews Series on Advancing Women's Empowerment.

Caccamise, D.J., & Kintsch, E. (2017) Reading Comprehension and STEM Careers: Equity Considerations. California English. 22:4.

Littrell-Baez, M.K., Friend, A., Caccamise, D., & Okochi, C. (2015).  Using retrieval practice and metacognitive skills to improve content learning. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 58(8), 680-687. doi: 10.1002/jaal.420.

Caccamise, D., Friend, A., Littrell-Baez, M.K., & Kintsch, E. (2015).  Constructivist theory as a framework for instruction and assessment of reading comprehension.  In S.R. Parris & K. Headley (Eds.), Comprehension instruction: Research-based best practices (3rd ed.).  New York: NY: Guilford.

Caccamise, D., Friend, A., Groneman, C., Littrell-Baez, M.K., & Kintsch, E. (2014). Teaching struggling middle school readers to comprehend informational text. In J.L. Polman et al. (Eds.), Learning and Becoming in Practice: The International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS) 2014, Volume 2 (pp. 1002-1006)Boulder, CO: International Society of the Learning Sciences.

Kintsch, E., Caccamise, D., & Kintsch, W. (2012). Applying text comprehension theories to literacy education (Y. Morishima, Trans.). In Y. Fukuda (Ed.), Introduction to the psychology of language. Tokyo: Baifukan.

Caccamise, D., Friend, A., Groneman, C., Kintsch, E. (2012). BRAVO: Boulder Reading Intervention; Ecology. ICS no. 2012-02. University of Colorado, Boulder.

Caccamise, D. (2011). Improved reading comprehension by writing. Perspectives on Language Learning and Education, 18, 27-31. doi:10.1044/lle18.1.27

Banich, M. & Caccamise, D. (Eds.) (2010) Generalization of Knowledge: Multidisciplinary Perspectives. New York:  Psychology Press.

Snyder, L. & Caccamise, D. (2009). Comprehension processes: Building meaning and making sense of things. In M. A. Nippold & C. M. Scott (Eds.)  Expository Discourse in Children, Adolescents and Adults: Development and Disorders. Mahwah,NJ: Erlbaum/Taylor & Francis.

Caccamise, D & Snyder, L, (2009) Comprehension Instruction in the 21st Century. Perspectives on Language and Literacy (Special issue), 35(2), 23-26.

Caccamise, D., Snyder, L. & Kintsch, E. (2008). Constructivist Theory and the Situation Model: Relevance to Future Assessment of Reading Comprehension. In Block, C. C., & Parris, S. R. (Eds.) (2008). Comprehension Instruction, 2nd edition. New York, NY: Guilford.

Caccamise, D., Franzke, M., Eckhoff, A., Kintsch, E., & Kintsch, W. (2007).  Guided practice in technology-based summary writing. In D. S. McNamara & A. C. Graesser (Eds.), Reading Comprehension Strategies: Theory, Interventions, and Technologies.  Erlbaum: Mahwah, NJ.

Kintsch, E., Caccamise, D., Franzke, M., Johnson, N., & Dooley, S. (2007). Summary Street®: Computer-guided summary writing. In T. K. Landauer, D. M., McNamara, S. Dennis, & W. Kintsch (Eds.), Latent Semantic Analysis.

Caccamise, D., Snyder, L. (2005) Theory and Pedagogical Practices of Text Comprehension. Topics in Language Disorders. 25,1. 

Snyder, L., Caccamise, D., Wise, B. (2005) “The Assessment of Reading Comprehension: Considerations and Cautions.” Topics in Language Disorders. 25,1.

Franzke, M., Kintsch, E., Caccamise, D., Johnson, N., and Dooley, S. (2005), Computer Support for Comprehension and Writing. Educational Conputing Research. 33, 1.

Recent Presentations

Caccamise, D., Friend, A., Kintsch, E., Litrell-Baez, M., & Okochi, C. (2015, July). An integrated reading and science curriculum to help struggling readers in middle school. Presentation to be given at the Twenty-First Annual Meeting of Society for the Scientific Study of Reading, The Big Island, Hawaii.

Friend, A. & Caccamise, D. (2014, July). Entropy rate as a predictor of reading comprehension skills in writing. Poster presented at the Twenty-First Annual Meeting of Society for the Scientific Study of Reading, Santa Fe, NM.

Caccamise, D., Friend, A., Kintsch, W., & Kintsch, E. (2013, July). Measuring Text Complexity. Poster presented at the Twenty-Third Annual Meeting of the Society for Text & Discourse, Valencia, Spain. [pdf]

Caccamise, D.; Snyder, L.; Kintsch, W.; Allen, C.; Kintsch, E.; Oliver, W. (2010) Teaching Summarization via the Web, American Educational Research Association, annual proceedings.

Caccamise, D & Snyder, L, (Spring, 2009) Guest Editors for a special issue of Perspectives on Language and Literacy.

Kintsch, E., D. Caccamise, W. Kintsch, L. Snyder. Workshop on Latent Semantic Analysis and Applications , University of Paris VIII, France, September

Caccamise, D., Snyder, L., Kintsch, E., Kintsch, W. 2006, Improving High Stakes Testing Reading and Writing Outcomes through Summarization. Paper presented at the SSSR Annual meeting, Vancouver.

Caccamise, D., Snyder, L. Kintsch, E., Kintsch, W. (2005) Summary Street: Computer Support to enhance comprehension. International Dyslexia Association, Denver, CO. [pdf]

Caccamise, D. , Kintsch, W., Cole, R., Snyder, L. (2005) The Colorado Literacy Project. International Reading Association, San Antonio, TX.

Caccamise, Franzke, Kintsch, E. (2004) Summary Street: LSA-Based Software for Comprehension and Writing. LSA Workshop, Boulder Colorado.

Caccamise, D., Davis, N.,Franzke, M., Johnson, N., Kintsch, E. (2003) Using LSA in the Classroom: Implementing Summary Street in Grades 6-12. Presented at Annual Conference of the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading, June 2003.

Caccamise, D., Kintsch, W., Cole, R. (2003) The Colorado Literacy Tutor: Making Colorado #1 in Student Achievement. Invited address to the Colorado Legislature, Feb. 2003.

Schwartz, S.E., Caccamise, D., Cole, R., Wade-Stein, D., Snyder, L., Wise, B., Corson, L., (2002) Computer Based Learning Tools for Children with Cognitive Disabilities: Participatory Design Phase. Poster presented at the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities Conference. Boulder, CO. October, 2002.