Approximate time to complete: 45 minutes 

Download the Course Companion document before starting this course. You can use the Companion Document to take notes on your learning, address reflection prompts, and as an easy way to retrieve course resources.  

Learning Objectives: 

Participants will be able to: 
  • Explain the key processes associated with transcription
  • Analyze their current practice to identify areas to improve their transcription instruction

Consider This Scenario

Connection Point

In your Course Companion Document, consider these questions:  

  • Can you relate to this scenario? In what ways are your challenges in literacy instruction similar or different? 

Mrs. Beale is a 3rd grade general education teacher. She has been working with her students throughout the year to increase their ability to write out sentences and beginning paragraphs by hand. While several of her students are on their way to becoming proficient writers, she notices that several of them experience barriers that make fluent writing difficult. Some of her students start to write sentences but struggle to complete them. Others have difficulty working through the spelling of certain words and lose their train of thought when they try to write a word that they don’t know how to spell. Others can provide elaborate detail when talking about what they want to write, but do not translate that level of detail into their writing.

What is Transcription? 

“Transcription is the process of transferring words from the mind to the page...This process includes handwriting, word processing, and spelling...” - William Van Cleave  

Transcription is a key component of the writing process.  The Simple View of Writing (Berninger & Amtmann, 2003) posits that transcription skills, along with text generation, executive functioning and memory, is required for students to become effective writers.  

Figure 1. The SIMPLE VIEW OF Writing

illustration showing the simple view of reading that largely divides reading into two parts

Transcription Skills with William Van Cleave 

In this video, William Van Cleave covers the vital components that must be in place to build students' transcription skills. He also discusses some strategies for improving transcription instruction.

After the video, answer these questions in your Course Companion: 

Mr. Van Cleave emphasizes that transcription instruction should be “daily, direct and explicit” every day. Consider your classroom or building:

  • Would you say that transcription instruction is “daily, direct and explicit”?
  • If so, what are you seeing or doing that makes you say this? If not, what steps can you take to begin daily, direct and explicit instruction?

Knowledge Check

Take this brief quiz to test your knowledge. Click the square button to expand the quiz.



Read “The Importance of Teaching Handwriting” by Louis Spear-Swirling.  
As you read, try to identify 2-3 takeaways from the article that you find to be helpful. For each takeaway, answer the following questions in your Course Companion: 

  • How does this challenge or affirm what I am currently doing in my classroom or building?
  • What are the specific steps I might need to take to begin implementing this new learning in my classroom or building practice?

Course Reflection

Answer the following questions in your Course Companion: 

  • Identify one or two key takeaways from what you learned in this course. How can you begin to implement your learning in your work in your classroom, building or district?
  • What barriers do you anticipate in implementing this new strategy or approach?

To Learn More

The following resource can help you learn more about transcription:


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Last Modified: 9/15/2023 2:43:19 PM