Written language poses a difficulty for many students with learning disabilities. Composing well-written text requires the combination of many processes. Our teachers understand the developmental continuum and use our scope and sequence of skills to guide students to improve their written communication.
Various materials are used throughout the school – Step up to Writing, Diana King’s Paragraphing Kit, The 6 + 1 Traits of Writing, Kidspiration/Inspiration – to engage and instruct students through color-coding sentences and parts of paragraphs, learning how to write different types of sentences and paragraphs, understanding word choice, ideas, voice, sentence fluency and the writing process, and using the computer to generate graphic organizers and produce published copies of written work.
A strong element of the writing program focuses on helping students develop the skills necessary to write a five-paragraph essay before moving on to high school. Understanding this process is essential, for if a student can write a five-paragraph essay, he/she can write a longer paper. This process involves researching, paraphrasing, outlining, composing, and editing.
Handwriting instruction begins with correct formation of the printed letters, overseen by our Occupational Therapist in the group lessons. Cursive instruction begins in Third grade as students are ready. Correct formation of the cursive letters in order to write a signature and to read others’ cursive writing are goals for this program.
Efficient keyboarding and effective use of a computer are essential parts of our program and directly tied to instruction in written language, particularly around Third grade when keyboarding instruction begins. Once students reach our middle school level, most written work is completed using a word processor.