Literacy and the ADD Student

Author: Angela Ehmer

A Program for the Inclusive Setting with Reciprocal Gains for Other Early Readers and Writers


It is the role of educators to cater to the needs of individuals. Not only are student needs to be met via external programs, support teachers and specialised services alone, but inclusive education requires class teachers to meet these needs through integrated programming. The difficulty for some teachers is the increasing demand for such programs due to the range of special needs children in mainstream classrooms. The following study provides a reading and writing program for a special needs student which can be effectively delivered in an inclusive setting. The aim in designing the program was that it would meet the individual needs of the particular child while providing a workable model for effective teaching and monitoring of the remainder of the cohort.


This case study focuses on a 7 year old child diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). For the purpose of this paper the child involved in this study will be referred to as Tim. Tim exhibits the behavioural trait of hypoactivity (underactivity). Studies into hyperactivity and hypoactivity (Ackerman, Dykman & Peters, 1977 and Ackerman, Elardo & Ackerman, 1979 in Dykman and Ackerman, 1993:133) identify hypoactive children to be born later in the birth order to older mothers. This is true of Tim who is youngest child to older parents.

Though hypoactive students are less frequently referred for assistance than their hyperactive counterparts (Hallowell & Ratey, 1994:151; Ackerman & Dykman, 1993,133), assessment tasks on both groups “show no clear cut differences” in academic achievement (Dykman & Ackerman, 1993:133). Bailey (2001:5) outlines the academic difficulties of students with ADD as:

  • “learning to read
  • comprehending reading material
  • listening comprehension
  • undertaking written tasks
  • understanding subtle verbal language”.

Other researchers highlight the links between literacy and other learning. Clay (1993:10-11) identifies the “reciprocal gains of reading and writing” and highlights that the “child who experiences difficulty reading often experiences difficulty writing”. She suggests that successful interventions in literacy “lead to a network of other competencies” (1994a:1).

Nicholson (1997) discusses specific problems that arise in other areas of the curriculum as a result of ongoing reading and writing difficulties. As children with ADD can be expected to encounter difficulties acquiring literacy skills, early intervention in this area was considered a priority for Tim.

The strategies outlined in this paper aim to accommodate Tim’s needs while also providing a workable teaching program for the remainder of the students in his cohort.


Tim is a 7 year old Year 2 student. He was diagnosed ADD by his family paediatrician. A recommendation to treat the disorder using Dextroamphetamine was made to his parents. A parental decision not to medicate was made, however his diet is closely monitored to avoid certain foods.

Tim has recently been discontinued from the Reading Recovery Program (Clay, 1993). Over a 24 week period he advanced 15 book levels using the Reading Recovery book leveling system. Writing skills have shown improvement as has the ability to write high frequency words with speed and accuracy. Other improvements in literacy achievement are evident as indicated by data collected via the Observation Survey Tasks (Clay, 1994b) for entry and discontinuing the program. However his teachers report that learning independence has not been transferred to the classroom.

During class reading episodes Tim demonstrates limited strategies to get to new words. He needs to be reminded to use meaning and structural cues and prompted specifically to the visual information to help him to decode.

In the classroom environment Tim is considered one of the “at risk” students by his teacher. He was identified for support in reading, writing and numeracy during the Year 2 Net Validation process in May, 2002. He is described as a passive learner who daydreams and is often in a world of his own. During classroom observations Tim has commonly needed help to get started on writing tasks and prompts to continue working. Since discontinuing from the Reading Recovery Program Tim’s reading level has dropped 3 book levels.

Flavell’s investigations into metacognition (Flavell, 1977a and Flavell & Wellman, 1977 in Hallahan et al., 1996) indicate that “although young children can learn to use memory strategies such as rehearsal, they revert to developmentally younger strategies unless experimenters regularly prompt them to use the higher-order strategies.” Observations which support this have been made by both the class and Reading Recovery teachers since Tim discontinued the Reading Recovery Program.

Tim demonstrates an ability to attend during lessons if seated close to the teacher and when eye contact is regular.  He is able to apply skills and strategies immediately after explicit teaching episodes when opportunities for practice are provided. When monitored he is able to remain focused on tasks and will use strategies for decoding, writing and spelling.

Tim showed an ability to make significant gains in reading and writing on the Reading Recovery Program. He responds positively to Explicit Instruction, which appears to complement his individual learning style. To promote transference of the skills acquired from the individualised setting to the class environment a larger scale application of an explicit teaching model was designed.

Theoretical Framework

A cognitive behavioural approach combined with Explicit Instruction methods (EI) of teaching and monitoring form the basis of the program to be implemented.

Cognitive-behaviourism is described as a set of models and strategies tied together by a concern for the thinking processes of students (Hall & Hughes and Zirpoli & Melloy in Porter, 2000:66). This description is supported by Duckett (1997:108) who highlights the importance of understanding how we “think and make considered judgements about our own behaviour”.

The theory focuses on cognitive processes and suggests strategies to promote particular learner responses. The aim is to teach students to self regulate their own behaviours and develop improved learning independence. Cognitive-behavioural strategies aim to enable students to transfer particular skills from one task to another.

Programs like Reading Recovery adhere to EI methods of behavioural theory and also employ strategies for metacognitive training. They are designed to teach students to be self regulated, metacognitive learners. Instruction for successful literacy models is:

  • structured
  • explicit
  • carefully controlled
  • segmented into small steps
  • provides opportunities for extensive practice
  • feedback, reinforcement and correction are frequent and specific

(Hallahan et al., 1996:67; Shapiro, Accardo & Capute, 1998:204-207; McInerney & McInerney, 2002:115; Rosenshine & Stevens, 1986:35-39).

Ongoing monitoring and assessment is essential and allows teachers to observe student responses which demonstrate the application of specific strategies.

“A critical goal of the EI approach is to teach students to solve problems on their own” (Hallahan et al., 1999:64). Porter (2000:207) discusses the necessity of identifying where cognitive deficits lie and then “directly and explicitly teaching self management skills for problem solving”. The development of this independence and transference to other settings is the goal of the program that follows.

Assessment Procedures

A variety of assessment strategies were used to collect data. Norm referenced testing was used to determine Tim’s progress in relation to the cohort (Clay, 1994:43, 47, 53, 57, 65). These data were combined with data from authentic assessment techniques in order to “discover not only what he knows, but also how he learns” (Pike & Salend, 1995:20).  This was important in planning the program to be implemented.

As Tim had received the Reading Recovery Program, learning outcomes were evident in his lesson achievements and by the norm referenced data taken on entry to the program and discontinuing. Analysis of these data show the resulting improvements in literacy performances and the self regulatory behaviours developed. This information was used as a basis for integrating and transferring these behaviours to an inclusive setting.

Salend (1983 in Pike & Salend, 1995:20) identifies the “superior performances of students involved in self assessment” compared to those for whom standardised assessment instruments were used. Self evaluation was therefore included as an element in the data collection process. It was used in the area of writing which was identified as an area in which limited transference of skills to the classroom setting had been demonstrated.

Assessment techniques included:

  • Miscue Analysis/Running Record (Clay, 1994:24-28; Nicholson, 1997:35; Pike & Salend, 1995:17)
  • Error Analysis (Clay, 1994:28-42; Nicholson, 1997:36-37, 39-40; Pike & Salend, 1995:17)
  • Comprehension Analysis (Nicholson, 1997:36-37)
  • Ongoing anecdotal records (Pike & Salend, 1995:16)
  • Writing Analysis
  • “Think Alouds” (Pike & Salend, 1995:17) as a strategy for monitoring meaning on text reading
  • Self Evaluation Checklists for reading and writing (Pike & Salend, 1995:17)


The objectives of this teaching program were for Tim to:

  • develop independence as a reader and writer
  • be able to use and monitor strategies successfully for reading and writing
  • become an active participant in the learning process.


For each objective below, one example of instruction is provided. Follow up sessions were required for each explicit teaching point, and ongoing revision and monitoring were essential to the program’s success. One episode ran each day for approximately 30-45 minutes, comprising:

  • 10 minutes EI
  • additional 5 minutes (writing only) for modelled writing
  • 20 minutes practice and monitoring for children rehearsing strategies
  • 10 minutes feedback

(It was important to factor in an additional 5-10 minutes on reading days for text collection and return).

Explicit Reading Sessions

Step 1

Children collected 2 familiar texts and 1 new text. Familiar texts were instructional or easy level (able to be read by the individual with 90% accuracy or above), and the new text at the instructional level (able to be read with 90-94% accuracy). Texts were taken to carpet for initial 10 minutes of DI teaching. Children dispersed with a partner for individual reading.

Step 2

Children read with a partner for 10 minutes each. (Children were taught the
Pause/Prompt/Praise strategy for tutoring their partner when stuck on a word prior to the implementation of this program).

During the individual reading episodes, the teachers, aides and helpers moved amongst the students taking anecdotal records of student reading and recorded episodes of strategy use. Corrective feedback was provided to students and specific prompting for strategies given where needed.

Step 3

After both partners had read, the group re-gathered and feedback was given to children about observations made during the reading time. As specific details of behavioural observations were provided during feedback time, the large group was divided into two and one teacher fed back to each group. This was a vital component of the session as children were made explicitly aware of the behaviours observed and expected.

Explicit Writing Sessions

Step 1

Children were seated together on carpet for the initial explicit teaching component.

Step 2

Following explicit teaching, a brief modelled writing session was demonstrated with student input. It was important to make several links to the strategy during modelled writing and provide opportunities for demonstration and practice.

Step 3

Specific instructions for the writing task were given and students moved to desks to begin their own writing. As for reading, teachers moved amongst the children providing corrective feedback where appropriate and prompting for specific strategies where needed. Strategies used or neglected by individuals were recorded during the writing session.

The Reading/Writing Program

Collective research (see e.g., Dallas, 1992:126) identifies the component skills crucial to early reading. By integrating these skills with other lower order units and higher order processing skills a program was designed to scaffold Tim’s progress and provide a workable model for the cohort. This program aimed to enhance the lower order text elements:

  • logographic skills
  • phonemic awareness
  • sound to letter and letter to sound relationships
  • orthographic awareness
  • visual discrimination skills.

The development of these skills was integrated with strategies for using meaning and structural information for decoding. Cognitive strategies for developing self monitoring and self regulatory behaviours were an integral component in order to develop longer term independence.

Table 1 provides Step 1 of the Reading and Writing Programs outlined above. Steps 2 and 3 are not included in the prescriptive outline.

Table 1 - Step 1 of the Reading and Writing Programs outlined above
Objectives Teaching Strategies Resources Monitoring


To build fluent reading which will enable Tim to:

  • maximise text meaning
  • make it easy for Tim to access meaning cues
  • promote text comprehension

Model phrased, fluent reading and disjointed reading. Children identify that fluent reading sounds like talking.

Demonstrate how to read the punctuation. Ie. pause at a comma, stop and breathe at a full stop, intonation at a question mark, etc.

Use texts that facilitate fluency  practice - current reading level or lower

Texts which support natural phrasing, follow children’s own language and speech patterns, are repetitive, have predictable structures, eg. rhyme

PM texts Levels 13-15. Texts which feature orthographic analogies (most Storybox and Bookshelf shared book titles)

Observation of oral reading. Is Tim reading in a “talking voice?”


  • phrased reading
  • fluent reading

Corrective Feedback: Use phrasing card (Clay, 1993:54) to assist children experiencing difficulty.

Tape Tim’s reading if disjointed in order for him to hear himself.

Reading & Writing

To promote the use of structural information as a cue for reading and writing

To promote the use of structure as a means of self monitoring reading and writing behaviours

Use unseen shared text to demonstrate.

Cover text so that only one sentence is visible on the page.
Eg. the visible text is:
“Get me some honey!”
Teacher reads:
“Got me some honey!”

Ask children to identify the error.
Then say:  “What’s wrong with that?”
Response “It didn’t sound right.”
(children have demonstrated that they can use structural information to check text accuracy)

Provide other examples of using structural cues to decode and check.

Storybox text

The Hungry Giant

Observation of this skill during the explicit teaching component of the lesson. Call on individuals to respond.

Observation of reading during the partnered reading sessions. Note children observed using this strategy to self correct.

Corrective Feedback:
If children do not immediately recognise that structure is incorrect, it is important to make this link for them.


To develop proficiency in using letter-to-sound relationships to blend, articulate and form words


To develop proficiency in using sound-to-letter relationships to blend, articulate and write words

Demonstrate the slow articulation technique (Clay, 1994:44, Nicholson, 1997:43) on short, phonetic words and build to longer phonetic words
Eg. cat, best, crash
Provide many opportunities for children to practise the strategy

Demonstrate this strategy on text, using shared texts.


Children practice the slow articulation technique.

Whiteboard/ blackboard/ pens/etc
Shared texts

Texts for individual reading:

  • 2 familiar texts
  • 1 new text (current reading level)

Observation of this skill during the explicit teaching component of the lesson. Call on individuals to demonstrate skill.

Observation of reading during the partnered reading sessions. Note children observed using this strategy.

Feedback: prompt children to use this strategy (if appropriate) on unknown words during partnered reading.

Corrective Feedback: Prompt children to try again using this strategy if they demonstrate the traditional ‘sounding out’ model which is more disjointed.


To develop effective strategies for self monitoring

Use unseen shared text to demonstrate.
Teacher reads first few pages accurately to establish meaning and structural patterns of the text for children who may have struggled with this.
Teacher reads the next page, makes an error and stops.
Ask: “Why did I stop?”
Teacher is looking for appropriate response that demonstrates use of various information sources for decoding:
“It didn’t make sense” (meaning cue)
“It didn’t sound right” (structural cue)
“It didn’t look right” (visual cue)

A correct response will support the teacher error.

Rigby Heinemann text:

The Hare and the Tortoise

Observation of children responding with correct answers.
Observe children not responding.

Observation of children who are self correcting during partnered reading. Note the cue/s they appear to be using to self monitor.

Corrective Feedback:
Allow children to self correct on their own. Choose one obvious error and draw the child’s attention to it. Say: “You said pale. Does that make sense?  What else could it be?”

Corrective Feedback for higher level prompting:
Say: “Try that again” or
“Have another go”.

(These prompts alert the child to an error, but encourage the child to find and correct the error, rather than doing it for them)


To develop children’s abilities to search for all types of cues on text

Use unseen shared text
Provide a quick synopsis of the story.
Read first page making an error on structure.
Eg. Once upon a time there was three little pigs.
Children identify that it doesn’t sound right.

Continue reading and make an error on the visual information.
Eg. Mother Pig said “It’s time for you to find a home of your own.”
Say: “ find a house of your own.”
Children identify that it doesn’t look right.  If it were house, there would be an ‘s’ near the end.

Read on and make an error on meaning.
Eg. Along came the big bad Woof.
Children identify that it doesn’t make sense.

Provide other examples of meaning, structural and visual errors. Children identify the type of error and provide correct answers.

Budget Books:

Three Little Pigs (innovated text)

Observation of responses. Call on children not offering regular responses to participate.

Observe whether Tim is able to identify errors on meaning, structure and visual cues.

Record any difficulties for re-teaching.

Reading & Writing

To develop the ability to identify syllables in words

To use syllable analysis to build or decipher chunks within words

Step 1
Seat children in a circle for simple clapping activity.
Going around the circle each child claps the syllables in their name as they say it.

Step 2
Seat children together on carpet.
Ask children to identify the 5 vowels.  List.
Using the names of selected children show that the usual rule is that each syllable has a vowel.
List names. Children assist in the spelling component of each syllable.
Eg. Pam-el-a

Step 3
Say: “Now let’s try to build some new words and see if the rule works.”
Build several new words with children. For each instance children say and clap the syllables.

Children practise the slow articulation technique where appropriate and use their knowledge of chunks to quickly identify known syllables.

Whiteboard / Pens
Blackboard / Chalk

Observe children as they clap and say own name.
Observe as children clap and say other words.
Call on individuals to participate in Steps 2 and 3.

During independent writing note children clapping and saying words as they attempt this technique on their own.


Direct children to appropriate words in their writing to try this technique with.

Reading & Writing

To develop skills in analysing the structural components of words in order to decode/write longer words

Step 1
Word Building
Revise adding endings – s, ed, ing to build new words

Step 2
Analysis of compound words using a brainstorming activity.
List all correct responses and children indicate the two words that make up the larger word.

Step 3
List words such as:

Say for each example:
“Can you see a part you know?”
underscore the smaller parts within words that children identify.
These parts could comprise of letter blends (eg. sh), chunks (eg. ing, on), words children know (eg. do, shop, on, key)

On each example, demonstrate how to use these known parts to get to new words in reading and writing.

Whiteboard / Blackboard / Pens / Chalk

Observe children’s responses to each step.
Call on individuals to participate during Step 3 of the lesson.

Observations of reading and writing to monitor the use of this strategy.


To develop an ability to hear the sequence of sounds in words (phonemic awareness) and be able to use boxes to record these sounds in sequence
(Clay, 1993:32-34; Elkonin in Nicholson, 1997:43-46)

Show prepared card for ‘cat’.

Using the ‘slow articulation’ technique, demonstrate how the word cat is articulated slowly.

Say: “I want you to listen for the sounds you can hear in this word.”

As the teacher articulates the sounds slowly, markers are moved into each box to indicate the position of each sound in the word.

Children identify the placement of letters in the word ‘cat’.

Repeat this exercise several times, building up to longer words (not more than 5 sounds on initial DI session). It is not necessary to use known words, however during the DI phase it is more effective to use words with uncomplicated phonetic structures.

During future teaching episodes this technique is demonstrated on more complex examples which may involve groups of letters which go together to form known chunks (eg. ing, ly, ful, etc), spelling rules (magic e, two vowels together, etc)

*Each of the examples for further teaching requires its own DI session.

Sound Cards


Call on individual children to come out and move counters during the slow articulation of words. Monitor that counters are being moved in time with the articulated sound.

After initial examples, children coming out to demonstrate will practice the slow articulation and move the markers.
Monitor that they are corresponding the sound with the moving of the marker.

During writing episodes children need to be accommodated so they can practise this strategy (scrap paper/working page in writing book/etc)

Monitor the use of this strategy during independent writing sessions. Direct students to this strategy when they appeal for help with phonetically supported words.

Reading & Writing

To develop an understanding of how to get to a word you don’t know by using one you do know (analogies)

Show children a word they don’t know that is similar to one they do know (eg. stray)
Ask: Do you know a word that looks like that? (day)
Ask: Which part is the same? (ay)
What sound will it make?
Let’s get our mouths around the beginning of the first part now and see what the new word is.

Demonstrate and practise several more examples. (Use examples suggested by children)

An easy example is look-cook-
took-shook (see how many more the children can make)

(The example above combines the use of an analogy with the slow articulation technique)

Whiteboard / blackboard / pens

Observation of this skill during the DI component of the lesson. Call on individuals to demonstrate skill.

Observe children during partnered reading.

Feedback: Prompt children to use this strategy if appropriate. Use the prompt: “Do you know a word like that?”

Corrective Feedback:
(On an observed error during reading) The word is “play” and the child reads “plane”.

Say “It could be plane, but look carefully, it looks like that word you know, ‘day’”

Reading & Writing

To develop the skill of changing elements of known words to decode/make new words

Start with a known word.
Eg. cat
Demonstrate using magnetic letters that by taking away the initial letter, and adding a new letter a new word is made.
Eg. cat  --- at --- hat
Remove the ‘h’ and ask a student to come and choose another letter which could be added to make a new word. (Encourage children to use 2 hands when manipulating multiple letters and to do it quickly, look for children able to offer speedy responses)

Repeat the exercise with other known words.

*Known words must always be used for this strategy to be successfully adopted by children.

Whiteboard / Pens
Magnetic letters
Blackboard / Chalk

Observe children involved in board word. Note the speed of letter manipulation and children experiencing difficulty making the links to new words.

Reading & Writing

To alert children to differences in word structure that can change the word
Eg. Rules for:
Magic e
Two vowels together

*A separate session is required for each rule.

‘Magic e’
List some short words that children know.

Next to each one, show the word with a ‘magic e’.
Discuss the effect of the ‘magic e’ on the vowel.
Ask for other words children know with this rule.
Read a shared book and ask children to identify the words with ‘magic e’.

‘Two vowels walking’

Use known words to introduce this rule.
Eg. boat

Use pictorial representation (picture of legs and feet under vowels, caption above to show which vowel is talking) to identify what sound the vowels make in each instance.

Think of new words.

Children apply the rule to spell each

Whiteboard / Pens
Blackboard / Chalk

Pictures of legs, feet to tack under vowels, laminated caption bubble to tack to appropriate vowel.

Pens to write in the vowel sound in each instance.

Call on individuals to identify new words.
Note the children who are able to think of new words which adhere to this rule.

Observe the use of this rule during reading and writing episodes for decoding and writing new words.

(Expect to see some initial overuse of the rule by some children)

Call on individuals to identify the sound of the vowels in each instance.
Call on individuals to come and try new words using this rule.

Observe the use of this rule during reading and writing episodes for decoding and writing new words.

Reading & Writing

To foster independence in reading and writing so that each episode brings continued improvement

Ongoing monitoring of children’s reading records and analysis of strategies used and neglected.

When independence exists, extensions of these operations can be attempted by choosing reading material with:

  • longer stretches of meaning
  • less familiar language
  • less predictability

Miscue Analysis/
Running Record samples for each child

Ongoing writing samples for each child

Monitor the use of:

  • self monitoring behaviours
  • visual searching
  • cross checking behaviours
  • rereading to confirm or check
  • self corrections
  • solving new words


The success of this program was measured by outcomes. A weekly running record sample was taken for Tim (as often as possible for other students) and the following information analysed:

  • text accuracy
  • self correction ratios
  • evidence of self monitoring (eg. re-reading to confirm/check)
  • problem solving strategies on unfamiliar words
  • problem solving strategies on contextual details
  • phrasing and fluency
  • error analysis (Is Tim accessing text via a variety of strategies? Is Tim making the links from the error/unknown element to the appropriate strategy by which to decode effectively?)
  • evidence of regular checking behaviours

The following monitoring techniques were also used:

  • anecdotal records on reading, detailing strategies used/neglected
  • anecdotal records on writing, detailing strategies used/neglected
  • analysis of spelling during writing, spelling and other lessons (Has transference been achieved? With which strategies? Which strategies are not being transferred? Are children making links using analogies? How quickly can they make links to new words? How quickly are these words being recorded?)

Anecdotal records were essential for monitoring Tim’s ability to generalise the strategies learned. The ability to transfer and make links on his own was vital to the desired outcome of developing independence.

The ongoing analysis of data for monitoring directed teaching for the following days. For example, if after teaching the slow articulation technique, Tim continued to struggle to ‘sound out’ using the traditional segmented method, the slow articulation technique was explicitly retaught. Other children whose data indicated the same difficulty joined Tim for a small group session.

The continued analysis of data was vital to the success of the readers. Data collected guided the teaching program and formed the basis for DI episodes.


Tim’s progress over the 8 weeks of instruction was evident to his teachers who noted obvious gains in his independence to tasks. Tim’s pre and post program scores on the norm referenced assessment devices are recorded in Table 2.

As shown, Tim advanced 5 book levels since beginning the program. His rapid progression from Levels 12 to 15 occurred within the first 4 weeks. This may be attributed to triggering pre-existing behaviours developed while on the Reading Recovery Program. As indicated, Tim discontinued from the Program at instructional Level 15. The progression from Level 15 to 17 was slower but steady at 1 level per fortnight.

Positive results were achieved on self correction ratios and on increasing the number of unattempted words on text.  Rereading and checking behaviours increased, thus indicating an increase in self monitoring and self regulatory behaviours.

Table 2: Tim’s pre and post program scores on the norm referenced assessment devices
  Pre Program Post Program
Book Level 12 17
Self Correction Ratio (averaged) 1:11 1:4
Percentage of unattempted words counted as errors (averaged) 65% 12.5%
Percentage of errors where attempts to self monitor were observed 20% 50%
Percentage of Self Corrections where cross checking behaviours were evident (averaged) 50% 66%

Nicholson’s (1997:74-75) notion of comprehension analysis was administered fortnightly and comprised 9 questions consisting:

  • 3 explicit questions where answers could be found explicitly in the text
  • 3 prior knowledge questions which could be answered correctly by accessing prior knowledge alone
  • 3 implicit questions where the reader needed to combine each of the elements above in order to infer a reasonable response

The test was administered orally and Tim showed a gradual improvement in scores. Tim scored consistently well on the prior knowledge questions, and made some improvement on the explicit questions. His ability to provide reasonable answers to the implicit questions improved slightly.

Weekly observations of Tim’s spelling during writing episodes and on spelling tests did not show the same improvement.  Weekly test scores were comparable to those prior to the program and only when prompted did Tim demonstrate the strategies taught to spell new words. His ability to generalise these strategies had not occurred.

Observations of Tim during writing episodes showed an increase in his independence to task and the length of time Tim was able to engage. His own perceptions (oral) were recorded on the Self Evaluations for Writing.

He began to see himself as a reader and was able to verbalise some text reading behaviours. Additionally he could explain why and how he was accessing information on text. This feedback showed that Tim was self monitoring his reading and developing self regulatory behaviours. On writing Tim saw himself as less competent, commonly remarking that it was hard to think of ideas and spell words. A greater emphasis on explicitly reteaching these elements is required.

Over the course of the 8 week program teachers observed general improvements in the reading and writing behaviours of other students in Tim’s cohort. Gains were made by most students in reading book levels. Analyses of miscues showed increases in the reading behaviours taught via explicit instruction. Data showed an increase in self monitoring behaviours of all students who had ongoing miscues recorded. Anecdotal observations of students during writing showed that some students had begun to generalise the strategies for spelling and monitoring structural information.

Ongoing processes for further development

Ongoing opportunities for daily reading and writing are required in order for Tim to practise skills to and continue to develop skills and strategies for decoding text. Continued explicit teaching and modelling need to be a feature of the class or support program. Regular monitoring is necessary to ensure the broad use of strategies and self regulatory behaviours. This will provide the direction for future teaching and programming.

It is essential that the teaching program focuses on a wide range of strategies and does not favour some over others. A limitation of some programming is that educators or parents favour some strategies and this can impact negatively on the learner with limited skills.

It is therefore imperative that parents are informed of basic prompts to use when familiar texts are borrowed for home reading. The emphasis needs to be on the learner to problem solve and whilst support should be available when needed, the development of independence needs to be an objective for learning at school and at home.


Programs of this nature require flexibility. Dallas (1993:125) identifies the need for teachers to be “aware of the instructional options available to them and to be flexible in their planning and delivery". Educators need to be directed by their observations of learning behaviours (Clay, 1993:9). This may result in frequent changes to the sequence of the program. It may mean the inclusion of strategies not anticipated.

If strategies are not successfully used by children each time, it is vital to look at the explicit teaching component.  This may require educators to look at their own teaching for the reasons why children are not making links in their own learning. A possible solution to this problem is to ask colleagues to observe a teaching session and provide critical feedback (Clay, 1993).


This program can be delivered using several models. Whole class or small group options will work effectively provided all children involved receive regular, specific feedback and are aware that their strategies and behaviours are being monitored, reviewed and discussed. As with most intervention programs, this is suggested for inclusion in the literacy program, but is not a complete program.

Ginsberg (in Westwood,1995:6) highlights that “the most effective strategy for dealing with learning problems is to improve the quality of instruction.” Teachers attempting to implement models like this must reflect regularly on their teaching practices. If progress is not evident in learning outcomes, our teaching must be analysed and adapted in order to make crucial links explicit to individuals.


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Duckett, V., (1997), ‘A comparison of conceptual models and research approaches to behaviour problems with accompanying recommendations for future research’, Special Education Perspectives, 6(2), pp103-111

Dykman, R.A. & Ackerman, P.T., (1993), ‘Behavioural Subtypes of Attention Deficit Disorder’, Exceptional Children, 60(2), pp132-141

Hallahan, D.P. ,Kauffman, J.M. & Lloyd, J.W., (1996) Introduction to Learning Disabilities, 2nd Edn., Allyn & Bacon, Massachusetts

McInerney, D.M. & McInerney, V., (2002), Eductational Psychology: Constructing Learning, Prentice Hall, New South Wales

Nicholson, T., (1997), Solving Reading Problems Across the Curriculum, Hutcheson, Bowman and Stewart, Wellington, New Zealand

Pike, K., & Salend, S.J., (1995), ‘Authentic Assessment Strategies’, Teaching Exceptional Children, Fall edition, pp15-20

Porter, L., (2000), Student Behaviour: Theory and Practice for Teachers, 2nd Edn, Allen & Unwin, New South Wales

Rosenshine, B. & Stevens, R. (1996), ‘Teaching Functions’ in Wittrock, M. (ed.) Handbook of Research on Teaching, 3rd Edn., Macmillan, New York

Shapiro, B.K., Accardo, P.J. & Capute, A.J., (1998), Specific Reading Disability, York Press, Maryland

Westwood, P. (1995), Learner and Teacher: Perhaps the Most Important Partnership of All, Australasian Journal of Special Education, 19(1), 5-16

Texts used in the Teaching Program

Storybox, The Hungry Giant, (1980), Shortland Publications, Rigby, Auckland, New Zealand

The Hare and the Tortoise, (1989), Addison Wesley, Massachusetts

Three Little Pigs, (1988), Budget Books, Melbourne

Other appropriate texts:

Storybox, Hairy Bear, (1980), Shortland Publications, Rigby, Auckland, New Zealand

Storybox, Hungry Monster, (1981), Shortland Publications, Rigby, Auckland, New Zealand

Pinocchio, (1988), Budget Books, Melbourne

Writing Checklist

Writing Checklist
Question Yes No
Did I pick an interesting topic?
Did I think about my topic before I began writing?
Did I stick to my topic?
Have I left anything out?
Did I read my writing aloud?
Did I read my writing to a friend? Did I make changes?
Did I correct my spelling?
Did I start sentences with a capital letter?
Did I use full stops, question marks and speech marks?

Adapted from “Checklist on Writing” (Pike & Salend, 1995:17)