Written Expression and Technology

March 14, 2017

Written Expression Overview
Students with language-based learning disabilities (LBLD) can experience a multitude of receptive and/or expressive language difficulties. Receptive language skills are associated with listening and reading because the brain is receiving and processing language. On the other hand, expressive language skills are related to writing and speaking, as these tasks represent the expression of language. Written expression can be exceptionally challenging for students with slow processing, word retrieval deficits, and/or dysgraphia. Students often face the challenge of getting their ideas from their brain to their voice or paper in a coherent and meaningful way. For many students with LBLD, progress in written expression skills requires direct instruction and support. Strategies such as expanded kernel sentences and word banks to improve descriptive writing can be used as part of classroom instruction. Even with appropriate instruction and support, written expression can still be a daunting process for many students, and that is where technology can be of assistance.

The Use of Technology
Formulating and organizing thoughts, forming those thoughts into sentences, and then recording those sentences on paper in a coherent order are some of the many steps involved in written expression. For some students, each of those steps presents challenges. Technology can aid students in brainstorming, drafting, and proofreading stages of writing. Recent research suggests that “technology-enhanced procedural facilitators not only can benefit the quality and quantity of written expression in students with mild disabilities, but it can also enhance students’ ability to plan their writing and help them complete these tasks more independently” (Alnahdi, 2014). For a look at specific programs, check out the strategy download.

Alnahdi, Ghaleb Ph.D. (2014). “Assistive Technology in Special Education and the Universal Design for Learning.” The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology. Vol 3(2): 18-23.

How Does This Connect to Landmark’s Teaching Principles™?
Because writing is a process, it is important to micro-unit and structure tasks, which is Landmark’s Third Teaching Principle. By breaking the writing process into steps, students can better focus their attention on one step at a time. Ideally, this focus leads to mastery. Writing instruction should follow a 5-step writing process; however, technology can be implemented to improve student access and ability during each step. For the full text of the Landmark Teaching Principles™, including “Micro-Unit and Structure Tasks” click here.

Strategies to Download

Take a look at technology options for each phase of the writing process.


Let us know what you think! Email to share your thoughts and strategies.

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