Graduate Research Papers

Fostering writing through instructional strategies : a case study in a special needs class


Open Access Graduate Research Paper


Language arts (Elementary); Learning disabled children -- Education;


In the past several years my writing instruction has had a strong emphasis on convention of writing and the number of total words written. After several staff., : development opportunities with Dr. Gail Sanders-Smith from the University of Ohio, my thinking about writing began to change focus.· I now think that the emphasis needs to be more balanced, focusing on both content and thinking reflected in students! writing, as well as the use of conventions in writing. ,, Having grammatical skills are important, but the power is in "how" they say what they want to convey to their readers .. I believe·that if my students can write one dynamic, well organized paragraph, using variety of word choice that is precise and contains colorful language, they can write two, three, or evenfour outstanding paragraphs over flowing with detail and beautiful language:. Writing is a bridge-way skill that connects all students to other avenues of academic achievement. The ability to write well is the key to higher levels ofthinkingand processing. The purpose of this action research is to determine if direct instruction using the • Kansas University, C.O.P.S. (Capitalization, Organization, Punctuation; and Spelling) Strategy along with a balanced instructional emphasis on word choice and sentence. variety will increase the scores of fourth and fifth grade students with special needs on the Waterloo Community School writing rubric. Also, I hope to determine if there will be similar results between the· writing rubric scores and formative assessments. Research by Clay (2001) supports the reciprocal relationship between reading comprehension and 4 writing; better writers make better readers. Writing is a critical skill in the relationship toward increasing students' reading comprehension level. Nearly all special needs students' scores at McKinstry. Elementary are included in the general grade level data that is reported to the district and to the state level

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education


Department of Educational Psychology and Foundations

First Advisor

John E. Henning

Second Advisor

Gregory Reed


If you are the rightful copyright holder of this graduate research paper and wish to have it removed from the Open Access Collection, please submit a request to and include clear identification of the work, preferably with the URL.

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (36 leaves)



File Format


Electronic copy is not available through UNI ScholarWorks.