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Essentials of Planning, Selecting, and Tailoring Interventions for Unique Learners by Jennifer T. Mascolo, Vincent C. Alfonso, Dawn P. Flanagan

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SevenSelecting and Tailoring Interventions for Students with Written Expression Difficulties

Tanya Santangelo

Steve Graham

The News

When it comes to tailoring instruction for students who experience difficulty with written expression, we have good and bad news to share with you. Let's get the bad news out of the way first: Simply put, there is a pressing need to improve writing instruction in the United States. Evidence for this need can be found in several recent national surveys suggesting not only is little time devoted to teaching writing, but when writing is taught, the use of research-based instructional practices is uncommon (Applebee & Langer, 2011; Cutler & Graham, 2008; Gilbert & Graham, 2010; Graham, Harris, MacArthur, & Fink-Chorzempa, 2003; Kiuhara, Graham, & Hawken, 2009). Moreover, although some teachers differentiate their writing instruction to meet the needs of academically diverse students, many others do not. Given this picture, the fact that the majority of students are not skillful writers should not be particularly surprising. For example, on the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), only 33% of 8th graders and 24% of 12th graders scored high enough to be classified as proficient writers—meaning they met or exceeded grade-level writing expectations (Salahu-Din, Persky, & Miller, 2008). The NAEP data for students with disabilities is even more sobering, with proficiency rates of only 6% and 5%, respectively. Given that writing ...

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