Self-Regulated Strategy Development

Self-Regulated Strategy Development Writing Interventions (SRSD)
When Emma arrived at Currey Ingram in fourth grade, she immediately exclaimed to her Language Arts teacher, “Don’t even try to teach me to write! Many have tried, and it just doesn’t work. It’s a waste of your time. I’m doomed to be a terrible writer!” This type of comment is not unusual for an incoming student with learning differences - writing is hard.

According to researchers and the creators of SRSD Karen Harris and Steve Graham, “Writing is a complex cognitive activity involving the activation of a variety of processes and strategies” (Graham, Harris & McKeown, 2013, 406). To be an effective writer, a student must plan, write and rework what has been composed. Over the years, we have found that students with learning differences find it extremely difficult to activate these processes of writing. Most don’t plan; they struggle to organize their thoughts or to put their ideas into the written format. If they do manage to write a composition, don’t even think about asking them to evaluate their writing and then rewrite.  

Because of these struggles for many of our students, Dr. Harris introduced Currey Ingram to SRSD a number of years ago, and what a difference it has made in our students’ writing skills, as well as their motivation to write.

What is SRSD?
SRSD is an evidence-based instructional writing model that has been shown to be effective for students with learning differences, but it also helps all students become more strategic writers. In this model, students develop their own voice in writing, and the words have important meaning:

  • Self-Regulated: Teaches students to set goals, plan, organize and learn self-talk strategies.
  • Strategy: Students are taught strategies on how to approach a writing task.
  • Development: Students writing develops from the beginning phase with a great deal of teacher support to the independent stage.

In SRSD, students are taught six stages of writing. It is not a scripted program, but one in which the stages can be modified or reordered to meet the needs of individual students. At Currey Ingram, SRSD is used in grades 2 - 10. The six stages include:

  • Stage 1: Develop and Activate Background Knowledge
  • Stage 2: Discuss It (The strategy to be learned are introduced in this stage.)
  • Stage 3: Model It (The teacher models the strategy to be learned.)
  • Stage 4: Memorize It (Students must internalize the strategy steps and memorize the mnemonic.)
  • Stage 5: Support It (Teachers gradually release control so more independence is gained.)
  • Stage 6: Independence (This stage is reached when students can correctly and independently use the strategy in their writing.)
Are you curious how Emma ended the year? She was taught the SRSD strategies in fourth grade despite her reservations. She learned that she could write and that someone could teach her to write. In fact, she earned the writing award at the end of the year for the Lower School and scored extremely high on the end-of-year writing assessment. While SRSD shows high effect sizes in the more than 100 research projects completed, the positive effects that teachers see every year is also quite astounding.


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Currey Ingram Academy is an exemplary K-12 day and boarding school that empowers students with learning differences to reach their fullest potential. Since 2002, the school has been located on an 83-acre campus in Brentwood, Tenn., just miles from Nashville and Franklin. Families from 33 states and eight countries cite the school as their primary reason for moving to Middle Tennessee.

Currey Ingram Academy is accredited by the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS) and AdvancEd/Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI).