Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Special Education and Rehabilitation Counseling

Department name when degree awarded

Disability Disciplines

Committee Chair(s)

Teresa A. Ukrainetz


Teresa A. Ukrainetz


Ronald Gillam


Sandi Gillam


Tim Slocum


Kaitlin Bundock


This study investigated the effects of Sketch and Speak expository language intervention for adolescent students with language-related learning disabilities (LLD). Students with LLD have trouble understanding and using academic language for reading and writing and often benefit from explicit instruction in these areas. Sketch and Speak is an expository language intervention that teaches students to take notes in two forms and to systematically use oral practice to facilitate understanding and memory of notes. First, students learn to take notes using simple sketch writing, or pictography, which allows them to focus on the ideas of the text rather than the spelling, letter formulation, and other cognitive demands of written language. Students then generate full oral sentences from their pictographic note and practice saying the sentences aloud to solidify the information in their memory. In the second session, students transfer their pictography notes and full sentences to the more traditional form of bulleted notes by identifying key words from their well-formed oral sentences. Students are also scaffolded into practicing full oral reports from their notes in each session. This combination of repeated oral practice of sentences and full reports and two types of note-taking helps students to comprehend and express information from complex informational texts.

This study is a multiple baseline across participants single-case experiment. Participants completed three, six, or nine baseline sessions before moving into the treatment phase. All participants completed 12 45-minute sessions of intervention. This study is the first to investigate Sketch and Speak with adolescent students. Three ninth grade students with LLD participated in one-on-one instruction sessions via telepractice in the summer of 2021. Data was collected in each baseline and treatment session on participants’ abilities to generate Oral Reports and answer Short-Answer Recall questions about a novel topic. In baseline, participants followed along with a read-aloud informational text and then took notes on the article with no further instructional support prior to the Independent Session Test. In treatment, participants were provided with instruction on two different types of notes and systematic oral practice prior to the Guided Session Tests (Oral Report and Short-Answer Recall). Additionally, participant’s notes were examined for Note Quantity and Note Quality across session types (i.e., baseline and treatment). All three students significantly improved on their ability to compose accurate oral reports and generate more high-quality notes about the topic after participating in the intervention.

Participants also completed an expository oral reporting task about a different expository content area at pre-/post-treatment. This semi-standardized activity allows for comparisons of oral report performance to typically developing peers of the same age. Though a pre-/post-treatment test is not common in a single-case design like this one, this test allowed the researcher to examine whether learned note-taking and oral reporting skills were used independently by the students in a different expository content area than was taught in treatment. All three students made significant gains in note-taking and oral reporting at post-test when compared to their independent pre-test performance.

The perceived importance of the intervention and delivery mode was also examined through social validity questionnaires. Participants, parents, and speech-language pathologists answered social validity questions about the intervention and study strategies for adolescents at pre- and post-test. Responses for all three groups indicated that the intervention was viewed as meaningful. Participants reported that they had learned strategies that they could apply independently in the high school setting. The participants also answered questions about the telepractice delivery mode, with most responses indicating that it was viewed as a positive experience. This study provides evidence for the use of Sketch and Speak intervention with older students and lays the groundwork for future studies with this population. This study also contributes to the literature base on telepractice service delivery for intervention, which is important as this delivery style has become more popular after the onset of COVID-19.