ADHD/Executive Function and Literacy: Strategies to Support All Students

Course Number:  EDU 6710 CFS1 (graduate) EDU 4710 CFS7 (undergraduate)
Instructor: Debbie Tracht
Location: Burr & Burton Academy, Manchester, VT
Dates and Times: June 25-29, 2018 from 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Credits: 3 credits
Tuition: $900

Note: Course payment or purchase order of $900, payable to RRWIB, is due at the time of registration. A purchase order number can be entered into the online registration form. Credit card payments can also be made online. Please mail check to the Castleton Center for Schools, PO Box 6049, Rutland, VT 05701.

Course Description

ADHD and Executive Function in Literacy, a 3-credit graduate course, was designed to provide an understanding of Executive Functions and ADHD and the important role they play in learning, particularly in literacy. Through discussion, activities, readings and other media, participants will gain a deep understanding of this highly relevant topic.

In the past few years, there has been an increase in the diagnosis of ADHD and a frequent use of the term ‘executive function.’ There is a great deal of overlap between the terms, ADHD being primarily a disability of executive functioning, and both are poorly understood. Concurrently, our schools have increasingly adopted an inclusion model, creating classrooms with a wide range of skills. Many students in our schools have executive function challenges, but may or may not fall into any categories for which they would receive special services. This leaves classroom teachers with the responsibility of recognizing skill deficits related to executive functions that may be causing some students to fall behind or struggle with the demands of school. 

Executive function skills, including planning, focusing attention, managing frustrations, processing speed and working memory impact academic tasks such as reading and listening comprehension as well as writing. Behaviors caused by ADHD and/or EF challenges may look like laziness or defiance, particularly when work becomes so overwhelming that students ‘spiral out of control’, sometimes shutting down completely. This course provides participants with a new lens through which to view these students, and tools to help students access content and demonstrate understanding. 

Course Topics:

  • Overview of ADHD/EF 
  • The Many Faces of ADHD and EF: Gender, 2E, Stress, Trauma & Poverty
  • Sluggish Cognitive Tempo, Processing Speed and Working Memory
  • EF and the Brain
  • Reading and Executive Functioning
  • The Impact of Executive Functions on the Writing Process 
  • Strategies to Support Executive Functions in the Classroom

Class Engagement:

This class includes a large discussion component, focusing on readings and other media as well as real-life classroom scenarios. Students in this course will be expected to participate in discussions and activities.

Daily Journal Entry:

At the end of each day (days 1-4), participants will write a journal entry of a meaningful concept or new learning from the day’s work. These entries are expected to show engagement and a connection of the day’s work to your teaching. This journal will be turned in on Day 4.

Differentiated Choice Board:

In-class project, in groups of 2 or 3, participants create a choice board, a tool for providing differentiated learning. This board will describe a unit lesson on a topic of your choice with options that provide various levels of EF support. This will be presented to the class on the last day of the course.


  • Class Engagement & Participation: 40 points 
  • Daily Journal Writing: 40 points 
  • Choice Board in-class project: 20 points
  • Total points 100

Required Texts

Required texts are not included in the course tuition.

Executive Function in the Classroom: Practical Strategies for Improving Performance and Enhancing Skills for All Students, 1st Edition by Christopher Kaufman Ph.D.

Bright Kids Who Can’t Keep Up by Ellen Braaten, Ph.D. and Brian Willoughby, Ph.D

For additional course information

Debbie Tracht

For additional registration information

Bethany Sprague

Register online now!