Make It Crystal Clear! Explicit Instruction to
Support Students With Disabilities

By Lee Anne Sulzberger
May/June 2014


Explicit instruction promotes learning for diverse students, including students with disabilities (Miller, 2009). During explicit instruction (also known as direct instruction) teachers:

      1. Provide an advance organizer.
      2. Describe and demonstrate for students.
      3. Provide guided practice.
      4. Provide independent practice.
      5. Provide a post-organizer (p. 134).

This edition of Link Lines offers several strategies that highlight how to support students with disabilities by providing organized, systematic, and clear instruction.

In Reciprocal Teaching: Seeing Is Believing, Joan Baker and Lisa Emerson offer an overview of reciprocal teaching, an effective reading comprehension strategy that promotes active engagement and higher-order thinking skills. The authors also include a detailed instructional sequence for reciprocal teaching.

Learning How to Learn: A Critical Component of Academic Success by Debbie Grosser explores teaching metacognition and study strategies that are critical for student success in academic settings. Again, direct instruction and guided practice are essential for helping students with disabilities master these skills.

Cathy Buyrn, in the article entitled Question-Answer-Relationships and Co-Teaching Across the Curriculum, outlines how the Question-Answer-Relationship (QAR) strategy can be used as an effective reading strategy across grade levels and content areas. Learn about “In the Book”  and “In My Head” questions, and the steps that teachers can take to teach students how to use these questions to improve their reading comprehension.

As a bonus, this edition of Link Lines also features a reprint of an excerpt from the popular Considerations Packet entitled Strategies for Creating Effective School Leadership Teams. The article focuses on strategies for conducting productive team meetings. These meetings are a perfect place to start planning for explicit instruction!


Miller, S. P. (2009). Validated practices for teaching students with diverse needs and abilities. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.