Graduation Year


Document Type

Master's Thesis


Master of Science



Program Director

Jennifer Lucko, PhD

First Reader

Jennifer Lucko, PhD

Second Reader

Kate McDougall


Writing underachievement is a national dilemma, especially among students with LDs and/or ADHD. Difficulties with written expression create negative social and emotional consequences for students since writing is critical to academic and professional success. Despite this, few studies have explored the impact of writing underachievement. The purpose of this research was to better understand the experiences of struggling writers within the elementary school setting, especially students who receive special education services. Part of this research included an intervention group. Self-Regulation Strategy Development was taught to a group of students with LDs and/or ADHD. This research was conducted in an effort to provide special and general education teachers with more information about supporting struggling writers to avoid negative social and emotional outcomes which may lead to decreased motivation, self-efficacy and possibly school failure. Combining a qualitative and quantitative approach, data was collected through teacher and parent surveys, interviews and a focus group for students and parents. Writing samples and notes were analyzed during a four-week intensive intervention in which five students with LDs and/or ADHD were taught how to write informational texts using the Self-Regulation Strategy Development model. The results of the intervention and the data collection led to four main findings. A substantial number of students will struggle to write, this struggle is attributed to many factors, students who struggle with writing experience social and emotional consequences, foundational skills are critical to writing competency and Self-Regulation Strategy Development improves student writing, motivation and self-efficacy.