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First Author

First Author is a comprehensive curriculum that guides educators to teach beginning writing skills, helping ALL students learn to write as a form of expressive communication.

3 Authors Chair infographics The first with a red background and text that reads Say More 1 What else can I say about my topic 2 What else would others want to hear The middle green infographic reads Authors Chair Listening Rules 1 To get a turn with the Talking Stick keep your lips quiet and raise your hand 2 Listen to the speaker Keep your eyes on the person talking Keep your body still lips arms and legs The right orange infographic reads Be a Fearless Speller

The Only Special Education
Writing Curriculum You Need



Meet the widest range of needs for students with complex learning barriers.



Engage every student in the learning process, no matter their learning style or ability.



Drive meaningful progress towards IEP goals and today’s academic standards.

First Author Features

Blank Authors Chair All Star Award certification with First Author Curriculum Guide cover on the left of the certification and the cover of First Author Curriculum Mini Lessons and the right

Structured classroom time
broken down through mini-
lessons (4x/week), writing time
(4x/week), and Author’s Chair
sharing time (1x/week).


A comprehensive
group of measurement tools
for monitoring writing development, communication,
and behavior.


Guides for
instructional supports
for each student including
“writing” tools and
communication methods.


82 mini-lessons that are designed to repeat with variety keep students engaged.


Preparation to demonstrate skills using alternate assessments including DLM, STAAR, and NCSC.

What First Author Educators Say

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Case Study:

First Author Helps Teacher Spark
Writing Breakthroughs for Students

Dark colored book with white Building Wings logo and Text that reads Case Study First Author Helps Teacher Spark Writing Breakthroughs for Students

Meet The Author

First Author was developed in partnership with an
interdisciplinary team of specialists, including Dr. Janet Sturm, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-CL, F-ASHA

Headshot of Janet Sturm wearing a green shirt

Dr. Janet Sturm

Janet M. Sturm, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-CL, F-AHSA, Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Central Michigan University. Dr. Sturm's research and clinical interest include developing high-quality differentiated writing instruction for students with developmental disabilities, assistive writing software, formative and summative writing assessments of beginning writers, and tools and strategies to support effective classroom communication. Her work in special education classrooms has spanned more than 30 years.

First Author Pricing

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Free Curriculum


Get free access
to samples of
First Author materials
and try them with your
students—no credit
card required.

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Full Writing


Getting started
with First Author
is simple. Just
inquire, implement,
then watch your
students soar.


The First Author curriculum aligns to the expectations of the new alternate assessments, so you can feel confident that your students are getting the best writing instruction possible and will be prepared to demonstrate their skills.

Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for Teaching

DLM Essential Elements

NCSC Core Content Connectors

STAAR Alternate 2

Florida English/Language Arts Access Points

Karen A. Erickson, Ph.D.​

Karen A. Erickson, Ph.D. is Director of the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies at University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill. Her focus is on understanding the best ways to assess and teach reading and writing to children with the most severe disabilities. As a special education teacher, Dr. Erickson has worked to support students with a range of disabilities in a variety of classroom settings, particularly students who do not use speech as their primary means of communication.


Author Profile:,Ph.D.

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