By the upper elementary grades, writing becomes an essential tool both for learning and for showing what you know. Students who struggle significantly with writing are at a terrible disadvantage. Data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress indicate that only 25% of students can be classified as competent writers; students with learning disabilities (LD) have even greater problems with writing than their normally achieving peers and frequently demonstrate a deteriorating attitude toward writing after the primary grades. In this article, we focus on composing and the writing process, and examine the knowledge base about writing development and instruction among students with LD. We address what research tells us about skilled writers and the development of writing knowledge, strategies, skill, and the will to write, and how this relates to students with LD. Next, we summarize what has been learned from research on writing development, effective instruction, and the writing abilities of students with LD in terms of effective instruction for these students. Finally, we indicate critical areas for future research.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Identical and fraternal twins (N = 540, age 8 to 18 years) were tested on three different measures of writing (Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement-Writing Samples and Writing Fluency; Handwriting Copy from the Group Diagnostic Reading and Aptitude Achievement Tests), three different language skills (phonological awareness, rapid naming, and vocabulary), and three different reading skills (word recognition, spelling, and reading comprehension). Substantial genetic influence was found on two of the writing measures, writing samples and handwriting copy, and all of the language and reading measures. Shared environment influences were generally not significant, except for Vocabulary. Non-shared environment estimates, including measurement error, were significant for all variables. Genetic influences among the writing measures were significantly correlated (highest between the speeded measures writing fluency and handwriting copy), but there were also significant independent genetic influences between copy and samples and between fluency and samples. Genetic influences on writing were significantly correlated with genetic influences on all of the language and reading skills, but significant independent genetic influences were also found for copy and samples, whose genetic correlations were significantly less than 1.0 with the reading and language skills. The genetic correlations varied significantly in strength depending on the overlap between the writing, language, and reading task demands. We discuss implications of our results for education, limitations of the study, and new directions for research on writing and its relations to language and reading.
Annals of Dyslexia 08/2011; 63(1). DOI:10.1007/s11881-011-0055-z · 1.48 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this randomized controlled study, we investigated implementation of Self-Regulated Strategy Development (SRSD) in story writing by 11 second grade teachers who first collaborated in practice-based professional development in SRSD. Students at-risk for failure in writing were randomly assigned to treatment and control conditions in each teacher’s classroom. Teachers implemented SRSD with small groups of students at-risk for failure in writing (referred to as Tier 2 intervention in the Response to Intervention, or RTI, model) in their classrooms; control students at-risk in writing received regular classroom instruction from their teachers. Integrity of strategies instruction and social validity were assessed among the participating teachers. Student outcomes assessed included inclusion of genre elements and story quality, generalization to personal narrative, and teacher perceptions of intrinsic motivation and effort for writing. Teachers implemented strategies instruction with high integrity; social validity was positive. Significant effects were found for inclusion of genre elements and story quality at both posttest and maintenance; effect sizes were large (.89 to 1.65). Intervention also resulted in significant generalization to personal narrative (effect sizes were .98 for elements and .88 for quality). Teachers reported significantly higher perceptions of both intrinsic motivation and effort (effect sizes were 1.09 and 1.07, respectively). Limitations and directions for future research are discussed.
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