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More than 15 years ago, Karen Harris and Steve Graham began developing the instructional approach now known as self-regulated strategy development (SRSD). They started with the premise that all children-and especially those who face significant difficulties-would benefit from an integrated instructional approach that directly addressed their affective, behavioral, and cognitive characteristics, strengths, and needs (Harris, 1982; Harris & Graham, 1996a). The SRSD approach integrates findings from researchers and educators who have focused on cognitive development and learning, those who have focused on behavior, and those who have emphasized the role of affect in learning and development (cf. Harris, 1982). Harris and Graham believed that such an approach must integrate competing viewpoints about effective learning environments and approaches to teaching, while remaining dynamic and open to change as knowledge of teaching and learning expands and new approaches are validated. They have also emphasized that approaches to teaching and learning need to be flexible and modifiable to meet the styles and needs of both teachers and students (Harris & Graham, 1992).

Self-regulated strategy development has been used to support students in a variety of academic areas-including reading, spelling, math, and writing (see Case, Mamlin, Harris & Graham, 1995; Harris & Graham, 1992). However, the heart of SRSD has been establishing that every child can write, and validating powerful strategies for planning, writing, revising, editing, and managing the writing process. In tandem with composition strategies, children develop self-regulation strategies and abilities crucial to orchestrating the writing process-including goal setting, self-instructions, self-monitoring and self-assessment, and self-reinforcement (a detailed discussion of these skills and how they can be developed in the classroom is included in Harris & Graham, 1996a).

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Support It. In subsequent lessons, students received assistance from Melissa and from each other as they applied the writing strategy and accompanying self-regulation procedures while writing opinion essays. The goal during this stage of instruction was to support the students' efforts as they learned to use these procedures successfully and independently. Melissa gradually adjusted the level of support provided, reducing assistance as each child became increasingly adept at using the procedures.

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In writing, the major goals of SRSD are threefold:

At first, students received considerable support in developing a writing outline. Based on her previous experience with the students, Melissa thought this part of the strategy would be particularly challenging for them (an excellent example of anticipating and planning for difficulties). Support initially involved her acting as the lead collaborator in the planning process. As she and the students planned together, she intentionally committed a few errors, such as forgetting a step of the strategy. This led to discussions about the impacts of and reasons for such errors. Melissa then modeled correcting the mistake, combining the correction with a positive attributional self-statement (e.g., "I need to try to follow all of the strategy steps, so I can write a good essay"). If students subsequently made mistakes in using the strategy, the possible consequences of the errors were examined again, and students were encouraged to redo the step while using a positive attributional statement.

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To date, over 20 studies using SRSD to teach writing strategies have been conducted (cf. Case et al., 1995; Harris, Graham, & Schmidt, 1997). These studies have taken place in classrooms or tutoring settings, with instruction typically given by preservice or inservice teachers. Many of the studies involve teachers who have integrated SRSD with Writers' Workshop or whole-language approaches (e.g., Danoff, Harris, & Graham, 1993; MacArthur et al., 1996; Sexton, Harris, & Graham, in press). Studies have been conducted by Harris, Graham, and their colleagues, as well as others (Albertson & Billingsley, 1997; Collins, 1992; De La Paz, in press; Tanhouser, 1994). While Harris and Graham have worked primarily in the elementary and middle grades, SRSD has also been used with high-school students.

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Integrating SRSD and the Writing Process Approach


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It's perfect. I think it fits Writers' Workshop really well because there were plenty of opportunities for student choice ... I think it really clarifies for kids what the planning stage of Writers' Workshop is all about, and the writing process (MacArthur, Schwartz, Graham, Molloy, & Harris, 1996, p. 174).

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SRSD leads to changes and improvements in four main aspects of students' performance: quality of writing, knowledge of writing, approach to writing, and self-efficacy (cf. Graham, Harris, MacArthur, & Schwartz, 1991; Harris & Graham, 1992). Specifically, across a variety of strategies, the quality, length, and structure of students' compositions have improved. Depending on the strategy taught, improvements have also been documented in planning, revising, substantive content, and mechanical concerns. Further, these improvements have been consistently maintained over time (with some students needing booster sessions for long-term maintenance), and students have shown generalization across settings, persons, and writing medium-i.e., from word processor to paper and pencil (Harris& Graham, 1996a; Graham, Harris, & Troia, in press). These improvements occurred among normally achieving students as well as students with learning problems (Graham et al., 1991). In several studies, in fact, improvements for students with learning disabilities have been so pronounced that following SRSD instruction, these students did as well as their normally achieving peers (cf. Danoff et al., 1993; Graham & Harris, 1989).

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The report concerns a problem or series of problems in your area of research and it should describe what was known about it previously, what you did towards solving it, what you think your results mean, and where or how further progress in the field can be made.

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The process of writing the thesis is like a course in scientific writing, and in that sense each chapter is like an assignment in which you are taught, but not assessed.

Strategies for Composition and Self-Regulation in the Writing Process

The stories below, from three elementary school students' portfolios, illustrate how SRSD helps children develop as writers. The first two children, Mike and Christie, were described to us by their teachers as "non-writers." Both were also identified as learning disabled. Mike, our first author, was said to "very much dislike writing." Christie did not particularly dislike writing (her teacher attributed her more positive attitude to the Writers' Workshop used at the school), but felt she was simply not much good at it.

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Together with other students who were having difficulty with writing, Mike was offered SRSD instruction in a basic three-step planning strategy adapted for story writing (Harris & Graham, 1996a):

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