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Using P.O.W.E.R.S. for Writing with L.D. Students

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Using P.O.W.E.R.S. for Writing with L.D. Students

A student with learning disabilities has a major problem with organizational skills. The student with learning disabilities may often need more structured classes and assignments. It seems that more structured instruction works best with them also. The P.O.W.E.R. process for writing improvement is one structured instructional method that works very well with these students.

P.O.W.E.R.S. stands for (1) Pre-writing, (2) Organize, (3) Write, (4) Edit, (5) Revise, and (6) Share. It is an organized, step by step, means to improve a student's writing ability and skills.

The Instruction
The student will begin with the "Pre-writing" step in the method. There are several strategies that can be used in this step. The student should be allowed to use the strategy that works best for them, or the instructor can instruct them to use more than one to help the student discover which will work best for them. Some of the strategies are:

A. Observing, imagining, or reflecting
B. Keeping writing journals for ideas
C. Brainstorming
D. Free writing
E. Clustering or webbing
F. Doodling
G. Reading
H. Specific Writing Prompts

The next step is "Organize". The instructor should then model to the student one of the different means of organizing their ideas. This step helps the student to understand important parts, supporting ideas, and main ideas. There are also several ways to organize ideas. Some of those methods are:

A. Create an outline
B. Focused free writing
C. Arranging ideas into groups or categories
D. Creating a cluster or web
E. Numbering ideas
F. Answering (who? What? When, Where? And Why?)
G. Using index cards

The next step in the process is "Write". This is a rough or first draft of the writing. The instructor should have the students begin to write from the ideas they developed and organized. It is important to explain to the student that it is a draft or rough copy so they will not feel intimidated at this point to create a finalized piece of work.

The next step is "Edit". Once the student has completed his or her first or rough draft, the editing process begins. The instructor has the option of choosing from or using all of these possible editors:

A. The student can edit their own work
B. Peers, friends, or siblings can edit
C. Any adult can edit; including parents
D. And of course the teacher can edit

There are several important questions to ask during the editing process. Asking these questions will help the student find and understand mistake better. Editing questions may include:

A. Does the writing make sense?
B. Is the writing sequenced?
C. Do you reach your audience?
D. Was the purpose accomplishment?
E. Is the information good or useful?
F. Are the words spelled correctly?
G. Is the capitalization and punctuation correct?
H. Has the appropriate language been used?

Once the editing process has been completed, the student is ready for the next step which is "Revise". The student is instructed to re-write his or her paper with all of the corrections that need to be made. It is important to remember to return to the "Edit" step after each revision. The student may need to go between the "Edit" and "Revise" steps several times before the paper is completed.

The final step, "Share", is the most important and rewarding to the student. In this step the student shares or publishes his or her writing for others to read or see. There are numerous ways in which the instructor can have the student share the writing. These are just a few suggestions on how the student can share his or her writing:

A. Reading it aloud to someone or the class
B. Printing copies for friends or classmates
C. Displaying the work in an appropriate place
D. Entering the writing in a school publication
E. Creating a class publication; brochure or newsletter
F. Placing the writing on the student's blog or web site

This information was obtained from "The P.O.W.E.R.S. of Writing: A Student’s Guide to the Writing Process, designed by Carl Young. 

Lesson by Marcus Simmons

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