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Expert Connection

TeachingLD provides answers to common questions about teaching students with learning disabilities. We solicit questions (submit your own question), select those that are of general interest, and ask professionals with expertise about those specific aspects of learning disabilities to summarize—in practical terms—the research relevant to those questions. The Editors of TeachingLD have been supported by the un-compensated assistance of people with substantial knowledge and experience in preparing answers.

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Writing Essay Answers: An Overview of The Strategic Writing Approach—Linda Mason

Q:"I'm finding that with inclusion, my students have to write lots of essays. What can I do to help them with making their essays organized and coherent?"—Laura M., Highland Park, IL.

Teaching composition is a substantial task, but plenty of research indicates that it can be done. To address this question, we turned to Professor Linda Mason, one of the people who has contributed to educators' understanding of how to teach written expression effectively. Professor Mason, who teaches and conducts research at Pennsylvania State University, provides a quick overview of the complex processes involved in teaching students how to write essays. We're hoping to convince her to create a HotSheet on this topic, so that we can make it available to our members.—Eds.


Written composition is difficult for many students with learning disabilities (LD) and, given the demands of the inclusive classroom for essay writing, it is even more complicated these days. Of course, we should be providing careful instruction in written expression regardless of the setting, but your question is an excellent one.