Writing Next: Effective Strategies to Improve Writing of Adolescents in Middle and High Schools

This report identifies 11 elements of current writing instruction found to be effective for helping adolescent students learn to write well and to use writing as a tool for learning. These elements may be equally effective for helping adults improve their writing.

Steve Graham
Dolores Perin
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation
Carnegie Corporation
Publication Year
Resource Type
Informational Material
Number of Pages
What the experts say

Value to the field of Adult Education

Few, if any studies present information about effective methodologies of teaching writing to adult learners, particularly to those who have learning disabilities.  Undoubtedly the research at the adult learner/basic education level is scant enough that a meta-analysis study is not feasible.  Much of instructional practice has been based on the foundations of elementary and secondary writing methodologies.  Thus, given the academic levels of many adult learners, this report could be extremely valuable in that it highlights the practices that are most promising.

Potential use

While the report specifies that it does not speak to a set curriculum or approach, it does provide a structure or framework for measuring knowledge, skills and abilities and instructional benchmarks.  Used as a guide, it could create a course for instruction that is more explicit, and thus has more meaning to adult learners who learn differently because of learning disabilities. 

The eleven elements of writing instruction could also be the underpinning for adult education teacher professional development.

The authors are diligent to express that the eleven key elements supporting adolescent writing instruction will not be useful or necessary for all learners; they qualify that they are recommendations – a framework to promote a higher level of quality among learners when learning to write. 

Significant / useful features

The eleven elements of effective adolescent writing instruction together with the data and comments on the types of methodology or instructional approaches from the studies reviewed in the meta-analysis. 

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