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); Third grade (Education)


Disability and Equity in Education


The purpose of this study is to examine the effectiveness of cognitive strategy instruction in teaching writing. Writing is a process that results in a product. The learning that takes place will be continually developing and changing. Our goal as teachers of writing is to have our students produce quality written products. How does one accomplish this? Strategy instruction which includes metacognition and self-regulation can empower the writer. Students develop as writers when cognitive strategy instruction is used in the classroom. It requires knowledge, strategies, motivation, and practice with constructive feedback. (Harris & Graham, 1996)

The individuals who participated in this study are 20 students from this researcher's elementary classroom. The 9 males and 11 females, ranging in age from 8 years 4 months to 9 years 8 months have been selected as a convenience group (N=20) of third grade students. They have been in this researcher's classroom since September, 2002. The participants were selected because they are readily available to this examiner. The accessible population of interest is all third grade classes in this examiner's school. Generalization of results will be to this population.

The spontaneous writing sample entitled "My Secret Place" was utilized as both the pre-test and post-test writing activity. The participants as members of this examiner's class were assessed on October 14, 2002.

Self-regulated strategy instruction was subsequently implemented in this researcher's classroom. The six basic stages of instruction which are: (1) Develop and activate background knowledge, (2) Discuss it, (3) Model it, (4) Memorize it, (5) Support it, and (6) Independent performance, were used by this researcher to introduce writing strategies. Mnemonics were used to facilitate retention of components of the final product.

The post writing sample was given to the 20 participants on March 11, 2003. The writing prompt was identical to the prompt given to the study group on October 14, 2002. The samples were scored holistically defining performance levels based on written descriptors. Numeric scores range from a score of 1-Inadequate Command of written language to a score of 6-Superior Command of written language. There was an increase of 1.0 points in the mean scores from the pre-test (2.5) to the post-test (3.55).