SQ Write creates a framework, reviews critical steps and provides feedback.Writing is one of the most difficult academic skills to learn. Anyone who has composed a paragraph or a composition can attest to the heavy thinking load. Idea generation, breaking ideas into smaller parts, writing with complex sentences, spelling, grammar, organization – together, all of these processes can seem quite daunting.

Results from the National Center for Educational Statistics (2008) confirm these writing challenges. In fact, only 28% of fourth graders, 33% of eighth graders, and 24% of twelfth graders write at or above a proficient level. Further, only 2% of eighth graders write at an advanced level. If the general population of students is struggling to write, imagine the challenges for students with language/ learning disabilities?

Gersten & Baker (1999) conducted a meta-analysis on research-based instructional approaches for teaching written expression to students with learning disabilities. Three specific instructional requirements stood out that consistently led to improved student performance in teaching writing to students with learning disabilities.

  1. Utilize a basic framework for planning, writing, and revision.
  2. Explicitly teach critical steps in the writing process.
  3. Provide feedback from the information explicitly taught.

The chart below demonstrates how SQ Write meets these requirements.

Research says to include

SQ Write Applies the Research

1. Utilize a basic framework for planning, writing, and revision.

SQ Write employs a simple, yet powerful process used in all tiers of instruction:

Thought Organizer improves writing ability and results.

The Thought Organizer keeps students on a predetermined writing path. This path is the specific scope and sequence in essay building.

The Q Card provides question prompts to help students formulate self-questions at strategically placed points in the Thought Organizer. Students consistently and independently generate ideas through self-questioning.

Verbal rehearsal of the Thought Organizer are verbal rough drafts. The verbal rehearsal provides students with auditory feedback resulting in revisions occurring prior to even writing. After repeated verbal drafts, students easily write these thoughts down on paper adhering to the Thought Organizer sequence.

2. Explicitly teach critical steps in the writing process.

In the Skill-Building section, students are explicitly taught the pre-cursor writing skills of self-questioning and whole-to-part analysis. Then, students apply these skills to build their essays.

Each chapter adds explicit essay building instruction for each new component of the Thought Organizer, or essay.

3. Provide feedback from the information explicitly taught.

Each lesson begins with teacher-led instruction utilizing feedback/teacher insights for scaffolding followed by an individualized lesson.

Verbal rehearsal provides immediate auditory feedback prompting students to revise their verbal essay.

When writing, each essay component is listed with a corresponding check box at the top of the Essay Worksheet. Students self-monitor these boxes to be sure they include all the necessary components of each paragraph and essay.


Sources: Gersten, R., Baker, S. & and Edwards, L. (December 1999). The ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education (ERIC EC). The Council for Exceptional Children.

National Assessment of Educational Progress (n.d.). 2007 Writing assessments. Retrieved May 6, 2008 from www.nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/nde/