Tips for Students Who Complete School Work Slowly

Students Who Complete School Work SlowlyTips for Students Who Complete School Work Slowly

Do you know students who complete school work slowly?  Maybe it is a student in your classroom, on your therapy caseload or your own child, but some students have difficulties with the ability to complete school work within the time constraints of a class period, school day or homework.  Teachers, therapists, and parents can take action and help teach students techniques to improve their speed of work and/or provide supplementary services.

To help students who struggle with slow completion of school work, here are 5 suggestions to provide explicit direct instruction of:

  1. how to respond to verbal prompts and cues – read more on prompts here.
  2. self-monitoring techniques – view and download a free self-assessment checklist here.
  3. differential reinforcement – apply reinforcement only for the required responses i.e. completing an assignment within the allotted time.
  4. role-playing – students can practice time management skills in a supported environment to develop experience and trial different strategies.
  5. modeling – demonstrate each step or strategy.

When students need additional help beyond direct instruction try supplementary aids or services such as:

  1. checklists – provide a step by step checklist of what needs to be completed for larger projects.
  2. timers – set a time limit to work on certain sections.
  3. schedule different time frames to complete work.
  4. visual support schedules – i.e. once you complete step 1 move onto step 2, etc.  Read more on visual activity schedules here.
  5. practice, practice, practice!
  6. preferential seating – determine what might be influencing the slow rate of speed ie distractions, peers, etc.
  7. extended time – be sure to determine how much extended time is necessary.  Collect data to support your decision.
  8. sensory breaks – students may need different sensory interventions to get the brain and body ready to learn in an efficient manner.
  9. shortened assignments
  10. organizational systems i.e. color coding, organizers, Eisenhower Box Method, etc.

You can download worksheets to help support the Eisenhower Box Method organizational system for high school and college students here.


This digital download includes 7 worksheets to help older students learn how to get organized and tackle big projects.

Table of Contents for How to Get Organized Worksheets for Students:

  1.  How to Get Organized – summary of the 4 steps to take to get started.
  2. Overall Goal Task Analysis
  3. Task Analysis with Time Estimations
  4. To-Do List
  5. Eisenhower Box Method – learn to prioritize tasks
  6. Personal Reward List Examples
  7. Personal Reward List

Looking for more organizational tips for older students?  Check out Cornell Note Taking System for organized, effective note-taking.

Read more about 5 evidence based factors that affect handwriting speed here.

Reference:  NYSED. IEP and Lesson Plan Development Handbook.  Retrieved from the web on 5/13/18 at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/commoncore/guidance-commoncore-appC.htm

Students Who Complete School Work Slowly