The Writing Strategy that Transformed my Classroom

I’ve been a special education teacher for 6 years now. Actually, we’re all special education teachers, as my first principal liked to say (she was right!). The thing I always struggled with the most was getting students to feel confident with short-response writing. That is, until I started using the RACE Strategy. This strategy is just a mnemonic device that stands for:

R: Re-state the question
A: Answer all parts of the question
C: Cite the text to provide evidence
E: Explain your citation

RACE checklist

RACE is a structure to help students answer passage-based, short response questions in a formal style, with using clear reasons and evidence from the text, and to provide concluding statements.

This strategy is especially helpful for struggling writers and students with disabilities, but it can also be helpful scaffolding for all students. It teaches students to do what good writers do naturally—re-stating the question in a complete sentence, answering all parts of the question, citing evidence and fully explaining.


When I was in school, no one ever taught me about the RACE strategy, but I think I did it instinctively. That’s because I was a strong reader and writer. Not all students have the same abilities, and need more support. That’s why I love RACE.

I also encourage students to use checklists to ensure they’ve done each part. This helps me with grading as well.

I have lots of RACE resources in my store and teachers have responded really positively to them. Check them out here!

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