It is often suggested that if learners struggle with reading they should do more writing! Students can benefit from multiple writing opportunities such as writing about books they are reading (with sentence starter prompts as needed), small -group, shared writing called Predictable Chart Writing, and Thinking Logs for mathematical writing.
- The Center for Early Literacy Learning (CELL) offers an extensive resource library addressing evidence-based early literacy practices for young children with disabilities. CELL’s Practice Guides offer interest-based activities for Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers on topics such as “Writing Through Art” and “Starting to Write: Invented Spelling and Writing.” Adaptation Guides for a variety of literacy activities, including writing, are also available.
- Predictable Chart Writing is a great activity for emergent writers. The simple, five-step process helps students at many developmental levels whether they are working on communication skills, concepts about print, or spelling. This activity is a wonderful way to individualize instruction while leading a group lesson!
- Writing to Read: Evidence for How Writing Can Improve Reading, a 2010 report from the Carnegie Corporation of New York that provides recommendations for writing practices that enhance students’ reading.
- The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh hosts My StoryMaker (requires flash), a free interactive program for writing stories. Through visuals and writing, your students can design and publish a book. Additional ideas for using My StoryMaker.
- Thinking Logs can be used in mathematics (and other subjects) to help students make sense of what they are learning and clarify their thinking. More resources for mathematical writing can be found on the T-TAC ODU Math page.
- Alternative Pencils were designed for students who cannot hold a traditional pen or pencil and are not able to access a computer. These pencils use eye gaze, braille, or partner assisted scanning to access the 26 letters of the alphabet. A great tool for students with special needs who are learning the alphabet and just beginning to write, or for those who need a backup for a high-tech device.
- Students who struggle with executive functioning skills also demonstrate difficulties in written expression. Graphic organizers are visual graphics that are simple, yet powerful tools. They are beneficial to all students but especially for those with disabilities who can benefit from support with their organization and planning. TTAC Online has a variety of graphic organizers for you to download.
- The IRIS Center at Vanderbilt University provides case studies and modules on research-based teaching. The case study set, Written Expression: Grades 2—5, presents a number of writing strategies to help students in the elementary and middle-school grades who struggle with writing.
- Student engagement is a positive behavior that has a direct correlation with increased academic achievement for students as well as decreased behavioral challenges within the classroom. Thoughtfully selecting a variety of “Opportunities to Respond” (OTR’s) is a proven Tier 1 method of increasing engagement by giving students the chance to answer teacher prompts by way of speaking, writing or doing. Check out T-TAC ODU’s list of Opportunities to Respond that also provide student writing opportunities.