Nickola Wolf Nelson, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-CL, is Professor Emerita at Western Michigan University. As a practical scientist, she has led numerous funded (and now volunteer) projects to develop methods and train personnel, including teachers, to use a writing lab approach to language instruction and intervention. Nelson’s publications include the Test of Integrated Language and Literacy Skills (TILLS) and textbook, Language and Literacy Disorders: Infancy through Adolescence. She served as Editor of Topics in Language Disorders 2005-2018. Nelson is an ASHA Fellow and has received Honors of Association and the Kleffner Clinical Career Award from the ASHFoundation. She now lives in Wichita, Kansas, with her husband Steve Nave.
School-age children and adolescents need to develop their language and communication skills, both to support academic learning and prepare them for the rest of their lives. Students with language and literacy disorders, including dyslexia, dysgraphia, and oral-written developmental language disorders need intensified instruction, but also to experience the joy of communicating through writing and influencing their peers. This presentation provides an overview of essential components of a K-12 classroom and curriculum-based approach in which speech-language pathologists and other language/literacy specialists collaborate with teachers to help all students improve their language, reading, and communication skills through writing. Components include using language level analysis to assess written language samples, providing writing process opportunities integrated with digital literacy instruction, targeting individualized needs with group and personal minilessons and scaffolding, and building a sense of audience and community effort. Case examples will illustrate turning points and broader outcomes at several grade levels.