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Teaching Writing Skills to Students with Disabilities
(June 1999)

How can I teach writing skills to students with disabilities?

Teachers in inclusive classrooms regularly face the difficult task of having to modify the curriculum to reach all of their students, many of whom have special needs. Students with disabilities, whether physical, emotional, or cognitive in nature, respond to the curriculum differently from other students. For example, depending on the disability itself and other factors affecting their ability to succeed academically, students may need modifications such as advance and graphic organizers, instructional scaffolding, additional practice and time to complete assignments, and/or alternative media (e.g., large-print materials, audiotapes, or electronic materials). Without specific modifications, the standard curricular materials can be inadequate for these students, and too frequently they can find themselves blocked from access to essential aspects of the curriculum. Teachers must adjust the materials or their presentation to break down the barriers and assist these students in learning.

The IDEA Amendments of 1997 require that students with disabilities have access to the general education curriculum. This legislative requirement makes the accessibility of curricular materials an issue of even greater importance than it otherwise would be. To meet the goal of equal access to the curriculum for everyone, to enable each student to engage with his or her lessons in a meaningful way, teachers must be prepared to provide useful alternatives in terms of both curricular materials and instructional delivery. Well-adapted materials without an effective method of teaching are practically useless, but with the proper tools and instructional methods, a good teacher encourages each member of the class to participate directly in the learning experience. (From Preface, ERIC/OSEP Mini-Library on Adapting Curricular Materials. 1999. Volume 1, Toward Successful Inclusion of Students with Disabilities: The Architecture of Instruction; Volume 2, Adapting Reading and Math Materials for the Inclusive Classroom (Kindergarten through Grade Five); and Volume 3, Adapting Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science Materials for the Inclusive Classroom (Grades Six Through Eight). Mini-Library available from CEC's ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education. 1.888.CEC.SPED. Stock No. P5304. $21.60/CEC members; $30.95/non-members. ISBN 0-86586-340-7)

Following are links to related ERIC Digests, Internet resources, and Internet discussion groups, as well as selected citations from the ERIC database and the search terms we used to find the citations.

You can search the ERIC database yourself on the Internet through either of the following web sites:

ERIC Citations

The full text of citations beginning with an ED number (for example, EDxxxxxx) is available:

  • In microfiche collections worldwide; to find your nearest ERIC Resource Collection, point your web browser to: http://ericae.net/derc.htm.
  • For a fee through the ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS): http://edrs.com, service@edrs.com, or 1.800.443.ERIC. (no longer available)

The full text of citations beginning with an EJ number (for example, EJxxxxxx) is available for a fee from:

ERIC Search Terms Used

mental retardation OR mild mental retardation OR moderate mental retardation OR severe mental retardation OR developmental disabilities OR Downs syndrome OR behavior disorders OR autism OR learning disabilities OR blindness OR visual impairments OR deafness


writing difficulties OR writing improvement OR writing skills OR writing strategies

EJ563946 EC618784
Self-Regulated Strategy Development and the Writing Process: Effects on Essay
Writing and Attributions
Sexton, Melissa; Harris, Karen R.; Graham, Steve
Exceptional Children; v64 n3 p295 311 Spr 1998
ISSN: 0014 4029
Language: English
Journal Announcement: CIJ111998
The Self Regulated Strategy Development model was used to assist six elementary students with learning disabilities develop a strategy for planning and writing essays, self regulation, and positive attributions regarding effort and strategy use. Instruction had a positive effect on students' approach to writing, writing performance, and attributions for writing.
Descriptors: Elementary Education; *Learning Disabilities; Models; *Self Evaluation (Individuals); *Self Management; Student Attitudes; *Writing Ability; *Writing Improvement; *Writing Instruction
Identifiers: *Self-Regulated Strategy Development

EJ556905 EC617894
De La Paz, Susan
Strategy Instruction in Planning: Teaching Students with Learning and Writing
Disabilities To Compose Persuasive and Expository Essays
Learning Disability Quarterly; v20 n3 p227 48 Sum 1997
Special Issue: Intervention Part 2.
ISSN: 0731 9487
Language: English
Target Audience: Researchers
Journal Announcement: CIJ061998
Two studies of intermediate grade students with and without learning and writing disabilities evaluated the Self Regulated Strategy Development model in teaching students how to plan persuasive essays before and during composing. Instructional effects were investigated using different research designs, in different settings, and with different types of students. The strategy had a positive effect on students' writing.
Descriptors: Essays; Intermediate Grades; Intervention; *Learning Disabilities; Metacognition; Planning; Prewriting; Self Management; *Teaching Models; Writing Improvement *Writing Instruction; *Writing Strategies
Identifiers: Self-Regulated Strategy Development

EJ542671 EC615366
Strategy Instruction in Planning: Effects on the Writing Performance and Behavior of Students
with Learning Difficulties
De La Paz, Susan; Graham, Steve
Exceptional Children; v63 n2 p167 81 Win 1997
ISSN: 0014 4029
Language: English
Journal Announcement: CIJ091997
A study of three fifth grade students with learning disabilities examined the effectiveness of a strategy deigned to help them become more reflective when writing opinion essays. Following the instruction, students wrote essays that were longer, provided more support for their premise, and were qualitatively better.
Descriptors: *Essays; *Instructional Effectiveness; Intermediate Grades; *Learning Disabilities; Learning Strategies; Opinions; Writing (Composition); Writing Improvement *Writing Instruction; *Writing Strategies
Identifiers: *Reflection Process

EJ552742 PS527075
Peer Assisted Learning: The Effects of Cooperative Learning and Cross Age Peer Tutoring with Word Processing on Writing Skills of Students with Learning Disabilities
Utay, Carol; Utay, Joe
Journal of Computing in Childhood Education; v8 n2 3 p165 85 1997
ISSN: 1043 1055
Language: English
Journal Announcement: CIJ031998
Examined effects of combining cross age tutoring, peer tutoring, cooperative learning, and computer mediated writing in a peer assisted learning package on writing skills of second through sixth graders with learning disabilities. Found that the treatment group enjoyed working with partners, asked each other for help, had friendships extending outside the treatment setting, and had improved attitudes toward writing.
Descriptors: *Computer Uses in Education; Computers; *Cooperative Learning; *Cross Age Teaching; Educational Technology; Elementary Education; *Learning Disabilities; *Peer Teaching; Tutoring; Word Processing; Writing Skills

EJ565223 EC619120
Expanding the Writing Process to the Web
Smith, Steven; Boone, Randall; Higgins, Kyle
TEACHING Exceptional Children; v30 n5 p22 27 May Jun 1998
ISSN: 0040 0599
Language: English
Special Issue: World Wide Web & Special Education.
Journal Announcement: CIJ121998
Discusses how teachers can encourage the development of story writing and the writing process in students with learning disabilities through using the World Wide Web. A fictional account of a middle school student with learning disabilities illustrates how such students can use the Internet to improve their writing.
Descriptors: Elementary Secondary Education; Hypermedia; *Learning Disabilities; *Multimedia Materials; Vocabulary; *World Wide Web; *Writing Improvement; *Writing Instruction

EJ556685 CS754521
Walking, Tinkertoys, and Legos: Using Movement and Manipulatives to HelpStudents Write
Hecker, Linda
English Journal; v86 n6 p46 52 Oct 1997
ISSN: 0013 8274
Language: English
Theme: Writing and Rewriting: Issues and Practices in the English Classroom.
Journal Announcement: CIJ061998
Describes how students who are learning disabled can improve their writing skills through physical movement and manipulating visuals. Describes how movement draws on kinesthetic intelligence and manipulatives draw on spatial intelligence to help students understand language structures in nonverbal ways that may be more intuitive than verbal explanations. Shows that manipulatives can also help students organize their ideas.
Descriptors: Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education; *Kinesthetic Methods; *Kinesthetic Perception; Learning Disabilities; *Manipulative Materials; Prewriting; *Writing Improvement; *Writing Instruction; *Writing Skills
Identifiers: *Multiple Intelligences

EJ551330 SP526266
"Hey, I Can Write about This in My Journal!"
Del Giorno, Jacqueline
Teaching and Change; v4 n4 p325 37 Sum 1997
ISSN: 1068 378X
Language: English
Journal Announcement: CIJ021998
A teacher of students with learning disabilities used journals to encourage students to write. She allowed them to choose their topics, and she created ongoing conversations with them through the journals. As students' interest in writing increased, their journals helped them resolve conflicts, express frustrations, and hone language arts skills.
Descriptors: Action Research; *Dialog Journals; High School Students; High Schools; *Journal Writing; Language Arts; *Learning Disabilities; Self Expression; *Student Attitudes; Teacher Student Relationship; Writing Apprehension; *Writing Attitudes; Writing Difficulties; *Writing Skills

EJ526001 EC613811
The Cognitive Strategy in Writing: Welcome Relief for Adolescents with Learning Disabilities
Hallenbeck, Mark J.
Learning Disabilities Research and Practice; v11 n2 p107 19 Spr 1996
ISSN: 0938 8982
Language: English
Journal Announcement: CIJ111996
This article describes the Cognitive Strategy in Writing program (originally intended for elementary age students), and adaptation and application of the social constructivist approach with seven junior high and high school students with learning disabilities. Pretest posttest assessment indicated
dramatic improvements in overall quality and specific writing skills. Several students adapted the strategies in other classes.
Descriptors: *Cognitive Processes; Constructivism (Learning); *Instructional Effectiveness; *Learning Disabilities; Metacognition; Secondary Education; Writing (Composition); Writing Improvement *Writing Instruction; *Writing Processes; *Writing Strategies

ED406554 CE073808
Working with Learning Disabled Writers: Some Perspectives. Research to Practice
Bardine, Bryan
Kent State Univ., OH. Ohio Literacy Resource Center; March 1997; 5p.
Sponsoring Agency: National Inst. for Literacy, Washington, DC.
EDRS Price MF01/PC01 Plus Postage
Language: English
Available From: http://orders.edrs.com/members/sp.cfm?AN=ED406554
Document Type: DESCRIPTIVE REPORTS (141)
Geographic Source: U.S.; Ohio
Journal Announcement: RIE091997
Although most learning disabled (LD) adult learners have a strong desire to enhance their writing skills, many obstacles hinder their success. Characteristics of LD students found in their writing or actions include the following: frustration; poor study/note taking skills; test anxiety; lack of social skills; a difficult time following oral directions; trouble keeping up with group conversations; hard time with the act of handwriting; and reading, spelling, and remembering problems. LD students write less than normally achieving students and have great difficulty organizing their ideas. A whole language class offers these benefits: students spend more time writing; the classrooms are aimed at creating environmental conditions believed to foster self regulation and self confidence; and the classrooms place considerable emphasis on the integrative nature of learning. Another instructional technique that seems to have a positive effect on LD writers is the Landmark Method. It emphasizes the interrelatedness of reading, writing, speaking, and listening; metacognition; teacher patience; and teaching to the student's strengths and accommodating learning styles. The commonalities of the approaches are as follows: stress on the importance of making students active participants in the learning process; incorporation of the importance of collaboration among students; teacher motivators who model; patient teachers; and combination of reading and writing instruction.
Descriptors: Adult Basic Education; Adult Learning; *Adult Students; *Educational Environment; *Learning Disabilities; Reading Writing Relationship; *Whole Language Approach; *Writing Instruction; Writing Skills

EJ522904 EC613586
Teaching Writing to College Students with Learning Disabilities
Pardes, Joan Rudel; Rich, Rebecca Z.
Intervention in School and Clinic; v31 n5 p297 302 May 1996
ISSN: 1053 4512
Language: English
Journal Announcement: CIJ091996
This article describes a course to teach college students with learning disabilities how to become self-regulated learners in writing, through strategies in prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, evaluation, and comprehension. Forms for writing self-assessment are attached.
Descriptors: College Students; Higher Education; *Learning Disabilities; Records (Forms); *Self Evaluation (Individuals); Student Development; *Writing (Composition); *Writing Instruction; Writing Strategies

EJ530741 EC614557
Helping Persons with Disabilities to Become Literate Using Assistive Technology: Practice and Policy Suggestions
Pierce, Patsy L.; Porter, Patricia B.
Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities; v11 n3 p142 46,162 Fall 1996
Language: English
Journal Announcement: CIJ021997
This article explores the use of assistive technology to teach basic literacy skills to individuals with disabilities. Literacy assessment and intervention techniques, policy issues related to literacy and assistive technology, and future directions are discussed. The importance of developing policy to ensure the delivery of literacy instruction using assistive technology supports is emphasized.
Descriptors: *Assistive Devices (for Disabled); *Disabilities; *Educational Policy; Elementary Secondary Education; *Literacy Education; Reading Skills; Writing Skills

EJ557678 SP526519
Using Portfolios as an Additional Means of Assessing Written Language in a Special Education Classroom
Richter, Susan E.
Teaching and Change; v5 n1 p58 70 Fall 1997
ISSN: 1068 378X
Language: English
Journal Announcement: CIJ061998
This study examined the advantages of using written language portfolios for authentic assessment in a third grade special education classroom. Portfolios included data from students, teachers, parents, and the teacher's journal. Portfolios provided insights about how students thought about their writing, offered new understandings of parents' perceptions, and raised other teachers' expectations for the students.
Descriptors: Action Research; Disabilities; Elementary School Students; Language Arts; Parent Attitudes; Parent Teacher Cooperation; *Portfolio Assessment; Primary Education; Special Education; Special Education Teachers; *Student Evaluation; Teacher Expectations of Students *Writing Skills
Identifiers: *Authentic Assessment

EJ553889 EC617468
It's in the Bag: A Dozen Language Arts Activities To Promote Active Learning
Maroney, Sharon A.
Intervention in School and Clinic; v33 n1 p22 25 Sep 1997
ISSN: 1053 4512
Language: English
Target Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Journal Announcement: CIJ041998
Presents activities for students with or without behavior disorders that promote active learning of language arts skills, including creative thinking, writing, listing, and oral presentation. Activities begin with a lunch bag, can be adapted across grade or skill levels, and used from independent to large group work arrangements.
Descriptors: *Behavior Disorders; *Cooperative Learning; *Creative Thinking; *Educational Strategies; Elementary Secondary Education; *Language Arts; Speech Skills; *Writing Improvement

EJ535789 EC615136
Assessment and Intervention for Writing Problems of Students with Learning Disabilities or Behavioral Disabilities
Berninger, Virginia W.; Stage, Scott A.
B.C. Journal of Special Education; v20 n2 p5 23 1996
ISSN: 0704 7509
Language: English
Target Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Journal Announcement: CIJ051997
This article describes measures for process assessment of handwriting fluency, spelling, and composition of students with learning or behavioral disabilities. It then discusses common writing problems for these students, and specific process and strategy interventions.
Descriptors: *Behavior Disorders; Elementary Secondary Education; Evaluation Methods; *Handwriting; *Learning Disabilities; *Spelling; Student Evaluation; Teaching Methods; Writing (Composition); Writing Difficulties; *Writing Evaluation; *Writing Instruction; Writing Processes; Writing Strategies

EJ544476 EC616664
Encouraging an Adolescent Daughter Who Is Blind and Learning Disabled To Read and Write
Miller, D. D.
Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness; v91 n3 p213 18 May Jun 1997
ISSN: 0145 482X
Language: English
Special Issue on Adolescence and Early Adulthood.
Target Audience: Parents
Journal Announcement: CIJ101997
A mother of an adolescent daughter with blindness and learning disabilities focuses on how she helped her daughter improve reading and writing skills by finding a meaningful purpose for those skills in daily life. This article discusses early signs of learning problems, the learning environment, talking books, books in braille, technology, orientation and mobility, and transitioning to work.
Descriptors: *Adolescents; *Basic Skills; *Blindness; Braille; Daily Living Skills; Education Work Relationship; Educational Technology; *Functional Literacy; *Learning Disabilities; Parent Child Relationship; Reading Skills; Talking Books; Visually Impaired Mobility; Writing Skills

EJ544409 EC616249
Deaf Children and English: Parents Can Help
Katasse, Constance
Perspectives in Education and Deafness; v15 n3 p2 3 Jan Feb 1997
ISSN: 1051 6204
Language: English
Target Audience: Parents
Journal Announcement: CIJ101997
Describes strategies parents can use to teach English to children with deafness or those hard of hearing. Strategies include modeling reading and writing, communicating with the child in writing, providing word rich books and writing supplies, playing word based games, and learning special techniques for reading to and with the child.
Descriptors: Children; *Educational Strategies; *English Instruction; *Hearing Impairments; *Modeling (Psychology); *Parent Child Relationship; *Parent Participation; Reading Strategies; Vocabulary; Writing Strategies

EJ544372 EC616044
Carrying Meaning in Written Language: Some Considerations for Teachers and Their Classes
Haydon, Deborah Moore
Volta Review; v98 n1 p169 79 Win 1996
ISSN: 0042 8639
Language: English
"Theme Issue: Written Language Assessment and Intervention: Links to Literacy."
Target Audience: Practitioners
Journal Announcement: CIJ101997
In this article, two teachers of students with hearing impairments present their understanding of semantics and how they use this understanding to informally assess students' signed, oral, and
written language samples. Describes different classroom strategies for encouraging students with hearing impairments to use rich language.
Descriptors: *Educational Strategies; Elementary Education; Evaluation Methods; *Hearing Impairments; Informal Assessment; Oral Language; *Semantics; Sign Language; Student Evaluation; *Teaching Methods; *Writing Evaluation; Writing Improvement; *Written Language

ED411520 CS215968
Improving Student Writing Skills through the Use of "Writing To Learn"
Cox, Patty; Holden, Sheryl; Pickett, Teri
155p.; M.A. Project, Saint Xavier University.
EDRS Price MF01/PC07 Plus Postage.
Language: English
Available From: http://orders.edrs.com/members/sp.cfm?AN=ED411520
Geographic Source: U.S.; Illinois
Journal Announcement: RIE021998
A plan for increasing effective student writing skills was developed and implemented. Subjects were students in a regular first grade class, a fifth sixth grade behavior disorder (BD) class, and a seventh eighth grade self-contained educable mentally handicapped (EMH) class, all of whom exhibited
inadequate writing skills. Evidence for the existence of the problem included student school records, published test scores, and teacher observations. Analysis of probable cause data showed that students exhibited poor writing skills due to negative attitudes toward writing and a lack of a writing environment in which students were given the opportunity to write to learn. A review of solution strategies by writing experts suggested that the following interventions were necessary to increase the writing process: establish the five stages of the writing process and use them effectively to create a final product; and create a writing environment in which students were given the opportunity to write to learn. Post intervention data indicated that the writing workshop environment, which emphasized meaningful communication, promoted real purposes for writing. Findings suggest that students increased their written expression skills, learned to use higher order thinking skills, and maintained or improved their enthusiasm toward writing.
Descriptors: Behavior Disorders; Classroom Techniques; Elementary Education; Mild Mental Retardation; Special Needs Students; Student Attitudes; *Writing Attitudes; Writing Improvement; Writing Instruction; *Writing Processes; *Writing Skills; *Writing Strategies; *Writing Workshops
Identifiers: *Learning Environment; *Writing to Learn

EJ530742 EC614558
The Emergence of Literacy in Elementary Students with Mild Mental Retardation
Katims, David S.
Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities; v11 n3 p147 57 Fall 1996
Language: English
Journal Announcement: CIJ021997
This study examined effects of immersing four primary grade students with mild mental retardation in a literacy rich environment. A variety of instructional strategies was used to assist students in understanding stories read aloud by adults, developing decoding skills, and developing prereading/writing skills. Results indicated the students made measurable progress.
Descriptors: Beginning Reading; Decoding (Reading); *Educational Strategies; *Emergent Literacy; *Literacy Education; *Mild Mental Retardation; *Prereading Experience; Primary Education; Reading Aloud to Others; *Reading Instruction; Reading Skills; Teaching Methods; Writing Skills

EJ410547 IR521671
A Computerized Procedure for Teaching Letter Formation Skills to Mentally Retarded Individuals
Brewer, Neil; and others
Journal of Educational Technology Systems; v18 n3 p185 90 1989 90
Language: English
Journal Announcement: CIJ111990
Describes a microcomputer based procedure that used a digitized graphics tablet to teach letter formation skills to moderately and severely retarded students aged 8 to 19. Handwriting instruction is discussed; modeling of the letters, corrective feedback, and reinforcement techniques are explained; and results of pretests and posttests are considered.
Descriptors: *Computer Assisted Instruction; Computer Graphics; Feedback; *Handwriting; Input Output Devices; *Letters (Alphabet); Microcomputers; *Moderate Mental Retardation; Pretests Posttests; Reinforcement; *Severe Mental Retardation; *Writing Instruction; Writing Skills

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