What should Ms. Lin know in order to provide effective writing instruction?
Page 1: Understanding Difficulties with Written Expression
Writing is a complex process that requires students to attend to multiple elements while also monitoring their performance. Students need to learn not only to pay attention to the rules and mechanics of writing but also to develop effective and efficient composition skills. Negotiating and coordinating basic skills, knowledge, form, purpose, attention to an intended audience, and the rules of written language can prove difficult even for skilled writers. The table below highlights some of the major differences between struggling writers (including students with learning disabilities) and successful ones.
|Struggling Writers||Successful Writers|
|Edit and Revise||
It is beneficial for a teacher to know precisely in which areas his or her students are struggling with writing. Listen to Torri Lienemann talk about using baseline data (time: 0:44).
Torri Lienemann, PhD
Director of the Graduate Special Education Program
Concordia University, Nebraska
Sample persuasive papers written by two students in Ms. Lin’s class are provided below. Malcolm, a struggling writer, has a learning disability. Notice how he has difficulty with grammar, punctuation, and spelling. In addition, he produces few complete sentences and ideas. On the other hand, Nakia, a successful writer, develops a plan to achieve her writing goal. She organizes her thoughts and has few difficulties writing her text. She edits her work for spelling, capitalization, and punctuation errors and makes several revisions before she considers her paper complete.
Click Malcolm’s picture to view his persuasive essay.
Click Nakia’s picture to view her persuasive essay.
- The writing skills of struggling students, including those with learning disabilities, significantly improve when explicit writing-strategy instruction is provided.
(Graham, S., & Perin, D., 2007)
- Students who were taught to use writing strategies produced higher quality written essays than did those who were not taught writing strategies.
(De La Paz, S. & Graham, S., 2002)