Best Practices in Writing Instruction for Students with Learning Disabilities

  • Amy Gillespie RouseEmail author
  • Steve Graham
Part of the Literacy Studies book series (LITS, volume 13)


In this chapter, we discuss effective instruction for improving the writing quality of students with learning disabilities (LD). First, we outline common differences between the writing of students with LD and that of their peers who do not have LD, establishing the aspects of writing that are especially challenging for students with LD. Next, we present instructional practices that have a proven track record of improving the writing of students with LD in grades 1–12. These practices were drawn from a recent meta-analysis that we conducted (Gillespie A, Graham S, Except Child 80(4):454–473, 2014). In the meta-analysis, four types of writing instruction proved to be effective for students with LD: (a) strategy instruction, (b) dictation, (c) goal setting, and (d) process writing. We discuss these four types of writing instruction in detail, with examples of how teachers can incorporate them into their classrooms. In addition, we highlight other promising types of writing instruction found in the meta-analysis that did not have enough studies to calculate summary effect sizes and types of writing instruction found in other meta-analyses. Finally, we highlight points to consider when implementing our instructional recommendations, with emphasis on critical components of teacher instruction, such as modeling and guided practice, which should be incorporated with the effective types of writing instruction outlined in this chapter.


Writing Instruction Learning disabilities Meta-analysis 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Teaching and LearningSouthern Methodist UniversityDallasUSA
  2. 2.Division of Leadership and InnovationArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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