Structures writing: Classroom implementation pilot study

Structures writing: Classroom implementation pilot study

First Author: Pamela Bazis -- University of Nebraska Lincoln
Additional authors/chairs: 
Michael Hebert; Janet Bohaty; Julia Roehling
Keywords: Writing, Learning disability or difficulty
Abstract / Summary: 

Informational Text Writing can be difficult for elementary grade students due to lack of background knowledge and unfamiliar text structures. Structures Writing is an intervention developed to help students learn to write informational text by providing background knowledge and teaching strategies for writing in five different text structures: description, sequence, compare/contrast, cause/effect, and problem/solution. Participants of two fourth-grade classrooms were randomly assigned to treatment and control conditions within classroom. Students in the treatment group were grouped together to receive instruction in a single classroom, while students in the control group received business-as-usual instruction in a narrative writing unit conducted by the classroom teacher. Students completed pretests prior to the intervention, and posttests following the intervention. Following the posttest, participants in the control group received the instruction. A second posttest was given after the control group received instruction, but only included measures of three text structures (Simple Description, Sequence, Compare/Contrast). Two 25-minute Structures lessons were taught each day within the classrooms’ 60-minute writing period, with a short break between lessons. A graduate research assistant trained in the intervention delivered the Structures Writing instruction for both implementations. Research assistants and paraprofessionals (employed by the school) provided support and assistance for students with learning disabilities. Students in the treatment group statistically significantly outperformed students in the control group from pretest to posttest on four of the five text structures: Simple Description (ES = 0.27ns), Compare/Contrast (ES = 0.59), Sequence (ES = 0.53), Problem Solution (ES = 0.48), and Cause/Effect (ES = 1.01). There were no significant differences between the groups at the third testing point (after both groups received treatment.