Teaching Social Studies to Upper Elementary Students With Learning Disabilities: Explicit Instruction and Graphic Organizers


The authors report the effects of a single-case, multiple-probe design investigation for students with learning disabilities (LD) in grades 4 and 5. Seven students classified as LD and with persistent difficulty with informational-text comprehension from two elementary schools participated. The study compared social studies learning across two conditions: a text-based summarization baseline and a treatment that used graphic organizers and explicit instruction. Results suggest the manifestation of a functional relation for all students on daily content quizzes and minimal performance overlap between conditions. On a pretest-posttest social studies measure, students at both schools improved, but students at School B made greater gains at posttest. Results suggest that treatment components that have been effective for students in secondary school are promising for enhancing learning with social studies text in students with LD in grades 4 and 5.


Ciullo, S., Vaughn, S., & Falcomata, T. S. (2014). Teaching social studies to upper elementary students with learning disabilities: Explicit instruction and graphic organizers. Learning Disabilities Quarterly. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/0731948713516767