In an effort to provide ideas for students with disabilities and their families, I've reached out to some of my mentors. Together, we'll be sharing resources and answering questions about teaching students with disabilities.
Today's idea is to create a writing journal with your student. Why?
Because of the following reasons:
a - writing is a fundamental skill that supports reading
b - writing and drawing are natural skills that students will naturally do.
c - writing coherently is a classroom and lifetime skill that allows for identity and personal development.
In a study that measured the effectiveness of writing intervention, it was found that supporting students in making simple sentences assisted this process for students with disabilities:
Sentence combining involves explicitly teaching students how to rewrite short, syntactically simple sentences into ones that are more varied in terms of style, length and syntactic structure (Saddler, 2009). For example, a series of simple sentences a young writer might produce such as: “The ball was red. The ball was big. The ball bounced when I dropped it.” could be combined in multitude of ways depending on the author’s style, for example: The big red ball bounced with I dropped it.
To offer ideas on supporting students, parents and teacher might:
a - read a story aloud to a student (or have them listen to the story using text to speech options)
b - ask, "What is the big idea of this story?"
c - write down exactly the words the student responds
d - break the idea down into simple sentences (as described above).
To support clear writing, you can use common graph paper or you might use the paper I've highlighted above. This is available through Amazon:
One of my favorite books to use with this approach is any of the Jon Klassen books such as "This is Not My Hat". These stories provide for conversation, prediction, and wonderful artwork that encourages interaction with a very surprising ending. All ages, even upper grades, love these books.
Saddler, B., Ellis-Robinson, T., & Asaro-Saddler, K. (2018). Using Sentence Combining Instruction to Enhance the
Writing Skills of Children with Learning Disabilities. Learning Disabilities: A Contemporary Journal, 16(2), 191–202.