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Guiding Emergent and Early Struggling Writers to Success (K-2)

How can you help your struggling writers become more successful with their writing? Children often begin school excited to learn how to write, but for those who struggle, the spark is quickly diminished. If you want to put the spark back into your students’ writing, this course is meant for you! This online course is designed for teachers in grades K-2 who want to help their struggling students with key writing skills. Specific strategies will be introduced that improve student writing. Information on the writing process is shared together with specific suggestions for incorporating specific writing strategies such as the six traits, the use of literature in tandem with writing, nonfiction writing, and writing across the curriculum. By the end of this course, teachers will more fully understand how to best help their struggling writers and will have gained valuable classroom ideas including using writer’s workshop, the writing process, technology that promotes writing, and appropriate writing assessment. This course is worth 3 ⅓ semester units/5 quarter units from UC San Diego Extension. For detailed information on university credit, click here.

"I learned so much from reading the online course documents as well as reading the textbook. The writing process was discussed in a thorough manner and provided much insight on how teachers can successfully help their students learn the various writing genres." - Kelly Nichol


Enrollment Options

Register] Course Registration Only $120 with the discount

Register]Course Plus Credit from UC San Diego Extension Only $304


Required Resource Book: This course has a modestly-priced required resource book (available in both new and used versions) that can be purchased through Amazon using the following link. Note that you can begin and participate in your course before the book arrives.

Teaching Beginning Writers” by David L. Coker and Kristen D. Ritchey

If you are registering for multiple courses, use the following link to access the book list for all PDI courses with direct purchase links through Amazon. PDI Course Resource Book List


Topical Outline / Click here to request a copy of the detailed syllabus

PDI Course Number: 31T02

UCSD Course Number: EDUC41578

Unit One

  • Why Johnny Can't Write: A Brief History of Writing
  • Writing Standards-What? There were writing standards?
  • Introduction to the Common Core Standards for Writing
  • Assignment #1: Write an autobiography
  • Test #1

Unit Two

  • The Emergent Writer
  • The Early Writer
  • Developing Fluency
  • Assignment #2: Article reflection
  • Test #2

Unit Three

  • Building a Community of Learners
  • Differentiation is Key
  • Struggling or learning disabled?
  • Assignment #3: Share your expertise
  • Test #3

Unit Four

  • Understanding the Writing Process
  • Writer's Workshop
  • The Six (plus one) Traits of Writing
  • Test #4

Unit Five

  • The Reading-Writing Connection
  • Using Literature to Teach Writing
  • Introducing Nonfiction Text
  • Test #5

Unit Six

  • Writing Across the Curriculum
  • The Gradual Release of Responsibility
  • Assessing Student Writing
  • Assignment #4: Create writing activities based on literature books
  • Assignment #5: Reading/Learning Log (Based on required resource book)