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

Course Number: EDU 6710 CFS2 (Graduate) EDU 4710 CFS35 (Undergraduate)
Instructor: Debbie Tracht, MA, Literacy; CAGS, Mind, Brain & Teaching
Location: Community College of Vermont (CCV) Winooski
Dates and Times: July 11-20, 2018 from 9 am - 3:30 pm
Credits: 3 Graduate or Undergraduate 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

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 in literacy, specifically reading and writing. 

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 literacy skills. These 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. The goal for this course is to develop an understanding of these
challenges, thereby providing a new lens through which to view these students. You will learn simple strategies that will allow students to
access content and demonstrate understanding.

Course Goals & Objectives

  1. To identify and describe core characteristics of ADHD
  2. To identify and describe core characteristics of Executive Functions
  3. To demonstrate an understanding of the brain mechanisms involved in Executive Functions 
  4. To demonstrate an understanding of the impact of stress on Executive Functions 
  5. To demonstrate an understanding of the impact of Executive Functioning on reading
  6. To demonstrate an understanding of the complexity of Executive Function skills required for the task of writing
  7. To learn and apply strategies to increase reading and writing success for students with weakness in executive functioning 
  8. To demonstrate an understanding of the impact of processing speed and working memory on reading and writing

Course Expectations

Class Topic

  1. Overview of Course
    Overview of ADHD/EF 
    ADHD/EF Myths 
  2. The Many Faces of ADHD/EFD;
    A Closer Look at Executive Functions: Sluggish Cognitive Tempo, Processing Speed and Working Memory
  3. EF and the Brain
    Gender and EF
    Twice Exceptional Students
    Impact of Stress & Poverty
  4. Reading and Executive Functioning
  5. The Impact of Executive Functions on the Writing Process 
  6. Strategies To Support Executive Functions in the Classroom
  7. Study Skills
  8. Class Presentations 


Study Guide Discussions: The textbook for this course, Executive Function in the Classroom, has a study guide in the back of the book. Along with reading assignments, you will be assigned the corresponding Study Guide Questions. You will be expected to participate in classroom discussions based on these questions.

Daily Reflection Board: It is my hope that after reading and viewing coursework, you will be able to identify at least one significant new understanding daily. Each day, as you enter the classroom, you will be required to post a comment of a sentence or two identifying this point of interest and respond to at least one of your classmate’s comments. We will begin each class with a discussion of these postings, hopefully leading to some lively discussion and deepening of our thinking. 

Literature Review: You will be required to provide a literature review of three academic articles on a topic selected from a list that I will provide. You may select a different topic, with my approval.

Differentiated Choice Board: In-class project, in groups of 2 or 3, in which you create a choice board, differentiating a unit lesson for the various students in a class. This will be presented to the class on the last day of the course.


Class Engagement & Participation 30 points 
Daily Reflection Board Entry 20 points 
Literature Review 25 points
Differentiated Unit 25 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
(802) 349-7222

For additional registration information

Bethany Sprague
(802) 468-1325

Register online now!