Explicit Prewriting Instruction: Effect on Writing Quality of Adolescents with Learning Disabilities


  • Todd H. Sundeen


Many students with learning disabilities struggle with the writing process throughout their school years. As students approach graduation, effective communication though writing becomes more critical. Writing is a skill that can directly impact the quality of life for older students preparing to graduate and progress to college, a career, or simply the world of work. This study examined the effects of an explicitly taught organizational strategy on the writing of high school students with learning disabilities. A multiple-baseline across-subjects design was used to observe changes in student writing. Eleven students in three subject groups participated. Findings indicate that the intervention had limited success in improving students’ written products when measured by the multiple-baseline across-subjects design. Pre- and post-test data, however, indicate that writing quality improved. Interviews were conducted with both students and their teacher and themes were developed. The participant interviews revealed themes that indicate students felt that using the strategy and the explicit strategy instruction helped improve their writing. Their teacher believed that the strategy helped them tremendously and described improvements in how students planned before writing.