Writing, argumentation, disciplinary literacy, academically and culturally diverse students., historical thinking, scientific reasoning, cognitive apprenticeships, History Education, Science education, students with disabilities

Dr. De La Paz's scholarship in adolescent literacy intersects the fields of special education, history education and science education through the study of written argumentation. Her research spans both learning to write and writing to learn – and is driven by the need for effective instructional strategies for teachers to facilitate students' planning, translating ideas, and revising skills, as well as to support their use of writing to develop conceptual, epistemic and disciplinary understanding in academic subjects. A consistent theme throughout her research has been the search for stronger and more effective interventions that improve adolescent literacy, especially for those students who struggle due to disability or poor literacy skills —given the diversity in today’s public school classrooms, this includes significant percentages of students who are at risk for school failure or limited post secondary outcomes. Her research has been informed by many colleagues in social studies, science and special education and has yielded several general and disciplinary writing interventions as well as contributed new understandings about cognitive processes underlying effective writing.


Monte-Sano, C., De La Paz, S., & Felton, M. (2014.) Reading, thinking, and writing about history: Teaching argument writing to diverse learners in the common core classroom, grades 6-12. New York: Teachers College Press. ISBN: 978-0-8077-5530-3.

Recent Chapters

De La Paz, S. & McCutchen, D. (2017). Learning to write. R. E. Mayer and P. A. Alexander (Eds.) Handbook of Research on Learning and Instruction. (2nded.). New York: Routledge Press.

Nokes, J. & De La Paz, S. (2018). Writing and Argumentation in History Education. In Metzger, S. A. and McArthur Harris, L. (Eds.) International Handbook of History Teaching and Learning. Wiley-Blackwell.

De La Paz, S. (2012). Effective instruction for history and the social studies: What works for students with learning disabilities, In B.Y. L. Wong & D. L. Butler (Eds.) Learning About Learning Disabilities (4th ed.). Oxford: Elsevier.

Recent Journal Articles

De La Paz, S. & Butler, C. (2018). Promoting motivated writers: Suggestions for teaching and conducting research with students with learning disabilities and struggling learners. Learning Disabilities: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 23 (2) 56-69.

De La Paz, S. & Levin, D. (published online June 2017). Beyond “they cited the text:” Middle school students and teachers’ written critiques of scientific conclusions. Research in Science Education

Perin, D., De La Paz, S., Worland, K., & Peercy, M. M. (published online, December, 2016). The Writing of language minority students: A Literature review on its relation to oral proficiency.  Reading & Writing Quarterly: Overcoming Learning Difficulties. (PDF)

De La Paz, S. & Wissinger, D. (published online July, 2016) Improving the historical knowledge and writing of students with or at-risk for LD. Journal of Learning Disabilities. (PDF)

Monte-Sano, C., De La Paz, S., Felton, M., Worland, K., Yee, L.S., & Carey, R. L. (in press) Learning to Teach Disciplinary Literacy Across Diverse Eighth-Grade History Classrooms Within a District-University Partnership. Journal of Teacher Education. 

De La Paz, S., Monte-Sano, C., Felton, M., Croninger, R., Jackson, C., & Worland, K. (2017). A historical writing apprenticeship for adolescents: Integrating disciplinary learning with cognitive strategies. Reading Research Quarterly.  52(1) 31–52.  doi:10.1002/rrq.147 (PDF)

Wissinger, D.R., & De La Paz, S. (2016). Effects of critical discussions on middle school students’ written historical arguments. Journal of Educational Psychology, 108 (1) 43-59. (PDF)

Sherman, C., & De La Paz, S. (2015). FIX: A strategic approach to writing and revision for students with learning disabilities. Teaching Exceptional Children, 48 (2) 93-101. (PDF)

Monte-Sano. C., De La Paz, S., & Felton, M. (2015). Teaching argument writing and “content: in diverse middle school history classrooms. Social Education, 79 (4) 194-199. (PDF)

De La Paz, S & Wissinger, D. (2015). A comparison of disciplinary writing tasks: Examining argument and summary writing with secondary students with and without learning disabilities. Journal of Experimental Education, 83(1), 110-129. (PDF)

De La Paz, S., Felton, M., Monte-Sano, C., Croninger, B., Jackson, C., Deogracias, J., & Hoffman, B.P. (2014). Developing historical reading and writing with struggling adolescent readers: implementation and learning outcomes. Theory and Research in Social Education, 42, 228-274. (PDF)

Monte-Sano, C., De La Paz, S., & Felton, M. (2014). Implementing a disciplinary literacy curriculum for US history: Learning from expert middle school teachers in diverse classrooms. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 46, (4), 540-575. (PDF)

De La Paz, S. & Hernández-Ramos, P. (2013). Project-based learning in history: Effects on historical thinking for students with and without learning disabilities. Journal of Special Education Technology, 28, 1-14. (PDF)

De La Paz, S. & Sherman, C. (2013). Revising instruction in inclusive settings: Effects for English learners and novice writers. Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 28, 129–141. (PDF)

De La Paz, S. (2013.) Teaching and learning in history: Reform-based practices for students with learning disabilities. Learning Disabilities: A Contemporary Journal, 11, 89-105. (PDF)

De La Paz, S., Ferretti, R.,  Wissinger, D.,  Yee. L., & MacArthur (2012). Adolescents’ disciplinary use of evidence, argumentative strategies, and organizational structure in writing about historical controversies, Written Communication, 29, 412-454.

Monte-Sano, C. & De La Paz, S. (2012). Using writing tasks to elicit adolescents’ historical reasoning, Journal of Literacy Research, 44, 273-299. 

De La Paz, S.,  Malkus,N. N., Monte-Sano, C., &  Montanaro, B. (2011). Evaluating American history teachers’ professional development: Effects on student learning. Theory and Research in Social Education, 39, 494-540. (PDF)

De La Paz, S., & Felton, M. (2010). Reading and writing from multiple source documents in history: Effects of strategy instruction with low to average high school writers. Journal of Contemporary Educational Psychology, 35, 174-192. 

Hernández-Ramos, P. & De La Paz, S. (2009-10). Learning history in middle school by designing multimedia in project-based learning environments: Evidence of effectiveness. Journal of Research on Technology in Education 42, 151-173.

Project, Becoming US program evaluation, for the National Museum of American History (NMAH) of the Smithsonian Institution.  [Middle and High School Social Studies Teachers in the USA and Canada may send email inquiries by October 1, 2018 to sdelapaz@umd.edu].

Training Grant, "Project ProPELL: Preparing Practice-Based Researchers with Expertise in Language and Literacy to Support High-Need Students with Disabilities. CFDA 84.325D Type A. U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. 2015-2020. $1,249,385. Principal Investigator.

Training Grant, "Research Institute for Scholars in Education." CFDA 84.305B. Pathways Training Program to the Education Sciences. U.S. Department of Education. 2017-2022.    $1,070,650. Principal Investigator. (De La Paz, S., & Drakeford, W.)

Research Grant, "Disciplinary Writing Instruction for the Social Studies Classroom: A Path to Adolescent Literacy." Funded by the U. S. Department of Education. 2009-2012. $1,498,632 (Principal Investigator). (De La Paz, S., & Monte-Sano, C.)



EDSP 888B Research-Practice Partnerships in EducationEDSP 673   Evidence-Based Practices in Special Education  
EDSP 485   Assessment and Instruction in Mathematics in Special Education  
EDSP 401   Teaching children with disabilities in elementary classrooms  (formerly EDSP 499F)