Thesis

Strategies to support the writing of a first grade English language learner with identified learning disabilities

This classroom study is a qualitative integration of assessments and instruction as part of the regular classroom routine. Instructional scaffolds were specifically chosen to support the writing development of a second language learner with diagnosed learning disabilities. Instructional scaffolds selected to support the development of the subject's writing included: (1) Modeling writing through shared writing, personal journal instruction, and conferences; (2) Context embedded learning experiences that were cognitively demanding through direct teaching and instruction; (3) Activating background knowledge to provide the subject with a purpose of writing; (4) Metacognition -thinking about writing. The methodology used to observe and evaluate the subject's written works included: (1) Anecdotal records taken before, during, and after the writing process; (2) One-on-one conferences that took place as part of the feedback process in writing; (3) Direct teaching of specific concepts: the alphabetic principle, story schema, writing process and independent writing; (4) Teacher-student conferences to determine the subject's understanding of the writing process. The assessments used to support the promotion of learning and development through instructional scaffolds include anecdotal records, Marie's Clay's letter and sound identification, and student independent writing partnered with teacher reflection. The results revealed that the second language learner developed significantly in his writing through scaffolded instruction showing development that ranged from early to early fluent. This study validates that English language learners with diagnosed learning disabilities need individualized support that is specially tailored with attention appropriate support mechanisms in order to achieve increased development in writing.

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