Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Learning Disabilities


Interdisciplinary and Inclusive Education


College of Education


Urban, Stanley


English language--Composition and exercises--Study and teaching (Elementary); Learning disabled children--Education (Elementary); Sixth grade (Education)


Disability and Equity in Education


The purpose of this study is to examine the effectiveness of using the Self-Regulated Strategy Development (SRSD) approach to teach Plan, Organize your notes, and Write (POW) plus Topic Sentence, Reasons, Explain your reasons, and Ending (TREE) to write a well-written opinion essay. Also, the SRSD approach will be used to teach Capitalization, Organization, Punctuation, and Spelling (COPS), an editing strategy. Harris, Graham, and Mason (2002) note that writing is a highly complex, demanding process. The purpose of writing is to communicate a message. Writers need a strategy or plan to communicate ideas clearly. To be successful and productive at each stage of authoring, it is important for students to be systematically taught these strategies.

The individuals who will participate in this study are 24 regular and special education students from this researcher's elementary school. The 14 males and 10 females, ranging in age from 11 years 3 months to 12 years 9 months represent a convenience group (N=24) of sixth grade students. The participants were selected because they are readily available to this examiner. Generalization of results will be to this population only. The analysis of results will pertain to this group of students and the results should be cautiously generalized when discussing all sixth grade students.

The writing sample entitled "I Think the Best Invention Is...." was used as both the pretest and posttest writing activity. The participants were assessed on October 9, 2003.

The SRSD and the mnemonic strategies, POW plus TREE and COPS, were implemented in the classroom. The researcher encouraged the students to use the mnemonics to help them remember the key components to writing a well-written opinion essay. On various occasions, they were given two to three topics and would choose one to write their opinion. Their essays were read and strengths and weaknesses of the essays were discussed with each student. Also, the classroom teacher continued Writer's Workshop to work with students addressing their individual writing needs.

The posttest was given on March 16, 2004. The writing prompt was identical to the prompt given on October 9, 2003. The papers were scored holistically. The performance levels were indicated by a numerical scale (1 through 6) and a verbal label that range from "Inadequate Command" to "Superior Command." There was an increase of 2.21 points in the mean scores from the pretest (2.42) to the posttest (4.63).