Research tells us that students with learning problems, including those with learning disabilities, can achieve success despite their knowledge and skill deficits, by acquiring and using specific learning strategies. The Reading Clinic is currently offering two programs designed to assist struggling students with written expression:

YES! Writing Program – grades 1-3

The Reading Clinic has introduced a program for students who need to focus on the very early skills required for writing success.

The goals of this program are for beginning writers:

  • to gain automaticity in printing by mastering letter sounds and letter formation
  • to learn basic parts of speech and simple sentence writing
  • to systematically be introduced to spelling together with capitalization, punctuation, and early elements of grammar
  • to work on composing simple sentences and eventually connecting them on a single topic

Program Details:

Students will be assessed to determine the appropriate starting point in the program.  The writing program will be tailored to the needs of the individual student.  Parents will receive a written report and have a feedback meeting.

Mastery learning is our goal throughout, so the rate of progress for each student will vary as they acquire new skills.

This program is appropriate for students in grade two to three. Some students best suit a combination of this and the following program outlined below.

Students should expect to commit to a block of 25 one to one sessions and need to attend a minimum of twice weekly.

Twice weekly sessions are available Mon/Wed or Tues/Thurs. Sessions start times are 1:00, 3:00, 4:00, or 5:15 pm the Reg Shadbolt Learning Centre (299 Concession St.). All sessions are 55 minutes in length. Please call the clinic (613)547-5179 for more information.

Session times may also be available at 11:30 am.

YES! Writing Program – Grades 3 to 8

The junior/intermediate Writing Program is based on the Learning Strategies Curriculum; it is a research-based program developed by the University of Kansas.

There are 3 strategies:

Sentence Writing Strategy – Fundamentals

Sentence Writing Strategy – Proficiency

Paragraph Writing Strategy

The goals of the program are for students to learn:

  • how to write ‘complete’ simple sentences and how to extend them and make them more detailed.
  • how to join simple sentences to create compound sentences with correct punctuation (Complex, and compound-complex sentence writing are covered if appropriate for the student).
  • how to plan and write well organized paragraphs (narrative, descriptive, expository).

Program Details:

Students are initially assessed to determine their current level of writing and spelling ability and to determine which strategies need to be taught.

After an initial assessment of the student’s writing and spelling, the results of this assessment will be discussed with parents and a written report provided.  This will establish the level of the student’s writing and spelling difficulties and determine their programming.

In addition to the program goals, there are goals set for the student individually based on the assessment results. Spelling could become a main focus for some students, and for others it would only be addressed incidentally. Examples of student-specific goals could be proper use of pronouns, capitalizing the pronoun ‘I’, understanding contractions or homophones, correct use of the articles ‘a’, ‘an’ and ‘the’, subject verb agreement, etc.

Strategies are taught through teacher-directed steps. Care is taken to move the student from a high level of support to mastery of the strategies, and eventually to independence. Although fast-paced instruction is used, the pace is also determined by the student’s facility in acquiring the strategy.

When the students are finished their work at the clinic, a reassessment will be administered to track their progress. A written report will be giving to parents/caregivers if the student has completed 25 sessions.

Students should expect to commit to a block of 25 one-to-one sessions and need to attend a minimum of twice weekly, although more frequent attendance is encouraged for more rapid gains, and students are welcome to attend 4 sessions weekly (by combining the Mon/Wed with the Tues/Thurs).

Twice weekly sessions are available Mon/Wed or Tues/Thurs. Sessions start times are at 1:00, 3:00, 4:00, or 5:15 pm at the Reg Shadbolt Learning Centre. All sessions are 55 minutes in length. Please call the clinic (613) 547-5179 for more information.

Daily sessions are also available at 11:30 am.

Benefits of the Yes! Writing Program:

Writing is an inherently difficult task.  There are multiple skills required; not only must a student generate ideas, but they must then express them coherently, in a sequential manner, all the while monitoring spelling and the mechanics of language, and then get everything down on paper!  For students who struggle with writing, instruction in breaking down the components of writing and providing sound strategies and opportunities to practise to mastery significantly reduces anxiety and builds confidence.

“Recent research by Graham and colleagues (Graham & Harris, 2003;Graham,Harris,&Mason, in press) has found that a more structured and explicit approach can be more effective than a less structured approach for improving the writing of students with special needs and of students with average achievement levels.”

-Education Ministry of Ontario, Education for All 2005

The goal of this writing program is to provide students, through explicit instruction, the skills, strategies, and confidence to best prepare them for academic success. This is a practical academic writing program where the tools learning can be transferred to any school writing task.