Writing Ideas for Teaching Writing to Young Students

Writing is a tricky thing to teach for a lot of special education teachers, especially when students have severe motor delays and limitations. I think it is important to teach writing lessons, even if it isn't the classic way we think of writing with paper and a pencil. Writing lessons can lead to students identifying letters and letter sounds, even if they can't write the letters with a pencil.

I have Handwriting Without Tears (HWOT) in my classroom. It's a great curriculum for kids with and without disabilities. It focuses on a variety of skills including building, printing and identifying letters. Check out the HWOT website, because even if you don't have the curriculum in your classroom, you can still get a lot of good ideas that you can implement in your classroom.

I'm sharing some of the ways I have used HWOT and modified writing for my students with physical disabilities, including building letters, tracing, a differentiated writing.

Building letters:
Have students build letters with wood pieces (from HWOT or rulers), pipe cleaners, playdough, or other classroom materials.

Students who can't hold writing utensils can stamp the letters.
Tracing letters:
Remember students can trace letters with fingers, pencils, crayons or markers, with play-dough, on page protectors, or with a car on a "letter race track". Just remember that tracing doesn't have to involve a traditional writing utensil!

Download these play-dough mats for free here

When teaching kiddos with disabilities to write, just remember to be creative because writing in a sped. classroom will look very different than a general ed. classroom!