Charles MacArthur is Professor of Special Education and Literacy at the University of Delaware. His major research interests include writing development and instruction, development of self-regulated strategies and motivation, adult literacy, and applications of technology to support reading and writing. He has conducted research on writing development and instruction for over 25 years and directed or co-directed ten federally funded research projects on writing and reading instruction. Currently he is principal investigator of a five-year research project evaluating a curriculum for college developmental writing based on self-regulated strategy instruction. He is co-editor of the Journal of Writing Research and co-editor of the Handbook of Writing Research and Best Practices in Writing Instruction.
Research on strategy instruction in writing has demonstrated strong positive effects on writing quality from elementary school to secondary education to college, especially for students with disabilities and other struggling writers. In this presentation, I focus on what is needed for effective instruction in writing strategies beyond foundational skills and content knowledge. First, writers need discourse knowledge, that is, knowledge about genres and what forms of writing are useful for varied purposes, audiences, and topics. Writing is a means of social communication, and genres are forms developed to meet communicative purposes. Second, writers need cognitive strategies for planning, drafting, and evaluating/revising, as well as strategies for critical reading and integration of sources. Finally, students need metacognitive strategies to manage the complexities of writing, to self-evaluate their work, and to reflect on learning and set new goals for learning. The presentation will include practical examples from my work and that of others.