Using “What Works”

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Alert! Alert! 
Because NICHCY’s website will only remain online until September 30, 2014, most of its rich content has moved to a new home, the Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR), where it can be kept up to date. 

The new address of Using What Works at the CPIR is:


Updated August 2012

This resource page is a companion to NICHCY’s Structured Abstract 80, which summarized the findings of Scruggs, Mastropieri, Berkeley, & Graetz (2010) in their published meta-analysis entitled Do Special Education Interventions Improve Learning of Secondary Content?

It’s a fascinating meta-analysis of special education research about “what works.” We urge you to read the structured abstract, learn more about the specific interventions used to improve student performance, and then return here if you’d like more information about any or all of the interventions. The interventions of note are:

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Using Mnemonics to Teach Academic Skills

Mnemonic Instruction

Teaching with Mnemonics

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Graphic Organizers

What Are Graphic Organizers?

Unit One | Understanding Graphic Organizers

Graphic Organizers
Lots and lots of examples here.
In English |
In Spanish |

Graphic Organizers
Nearly 100 free, printable graphic organizers for a wide variety of topics.

Online Graphic Organizers for Use With Special Education Students

Graphic Organizers to the Rescue! Helping Students Link–and Remember–Information

Graphic Organizers and Their Effects on the Reading Comprehension of Students with LD: A Synthesis of Research

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Learning Strategies

The Power of Strategy Instruction

Learning Strategies Curriculum

Cognitive Strategy Instruction
An entire website of info.

Cognitive Strategies
This resource collection includes teacher tools, findings from research, and case studies.

SRSD: Using Learning Strategies to Enhance Student Learning
A training module for educators.

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Computer-Assisted Instruction

Computer-Assisted Instruction and Writing

Computer Assisted Instruction in Reading for Students with Learning Disabilities: A Research Synthesis

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Peer Tutoring and Cooperative Learning

Classwide Peer Tutoring at Work

An Introduction to ClassWide Peer Tutoring
This resource collection includes teacher tools, findings from research, and case studies.

Peer-Mediated Intervention Studies on Academic Achievement for Students with EBD: A Review

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Study Aids

Study Guides and Strategies

Study Tips Galore

How to Study
More than 85 free, practical study skills articles. In Spanish, too!

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Hands-On or Activity-Based Learning

Do2learn develops serious games and learning material targeting specific deficits of individuals with neurological disorders including ASD, fetal alcohol effects, intellectual disabilities, attention disorders, learning and communication disorders and others. Their materials specifically address deficits in the areas of behavior, socialization, communication, coping, and daily living skills.

Center for Hands-on Learning

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Explicit | Direct Instruction 

Explicit Instruction

Teaching Matters Explicit Instruction | 5-minute video

Direct Instruction and Intensive Intervention

Direct Instruction

Effective Mathematics Instruction, Evidence for Education (Vol. III, Issue I)

Direct Instruction
This resource collection includes teacher tools, findings from research, and case studies.

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NOTICE: NICHCY is going away, but its resources are not. Find hundreds of legacy NICHCY publications, as well as our training curriculum on IDEA 2004, in the Center for Parent Information and Resources' Library at This website will remain available until September 30, 2014. After that date, web visitors will be automatically redirected to