Dr. Charles A. Hughes

Dr. Charles A. Hughes
Phone: 8148631699
Office Address:
207 CEDAR Building
University Park, PA 16802
Campus: University Park


Professor of Education (Special Education)


Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education


Special Education


Charlie Hughes worked as a special education teacher and teacher consultant for 12 years before joining the Special Education Faculty at Penn State in 1985.  He is also an Adjunct Senior Scientist with the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning (KU-CRL).  His scholarly interests focus on the development and validation of instructional strategies designed to help students with learning and behavior problems to self-regulate their academic and social behaviors.  He has published over 100 articles, books, curriculum materials, and book chapters.  His most recent book (co-authored with Dr. Anita Archer) is entitled Explicit Instruction: Effective and Efficient Teaching.  He is also co-author of an upcoming text, Building Academic Fluency for Struggling Learners.  Additionally, he has coauthored five of the Learning Strategy Curriculum instructional manuals in the Strategic Instruction Model (SIM) developed through the KU-CRL.

Charlie has served as Editor-in-Chief for two professional journals, the Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability and Learning Disabilities Research and Practice and is on the editorial board of numerous special education journals, including Exceptional Children, Journal of Learning Disabilities and Learning Disability Quarterly.  He has served as both President and Executive Director of the Council for Exceptional Children's Division for Learning Disabilities (DLD).  In additional to delivering hundreds of conference presentations and professional development sessions around the U.S., he has consulted internationally, working with universities and governmental and professional agencies in Jamaica, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Russia, India, Spain, China, and Sweden.  He has also provided consultation to various U.S. organizations such as the National Board of Medical Examiners, Educational Testing Services, the Center on Instruction, the National Center on Response to Intervention, the National Center on Learning Disabilities, and the National Center on Intensive Intervention.

His professional accomplishments and efforts have been acknowledged through a number of awards including the "Career Achievement" and "Outstanding Faculty " awards from the College of Education, and the "Leadership" and "Partnership" awards from the KU-CRL.  In 2014 he was presented with the Council for Exceptional Children's Division for Learning Disabilities' Jeannette Fleishchner Award for "Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Learning Disabilities."

Areas of Expertise

Age Levels


Individual Difference



Instructional Methods and Design
Learning Assessment

Methodological Research

Quantitative Research

Special Education

Applied Behavioral Analysis
Mild Disabilities

Courses Taught

SPLED 412:  Design and Delivery of Effective Instruction for Students with High-Incidence Disabilities

SPLED 530:  Graduate Seminar on Learning Disabilities

SPLED 500:  Doctor Seminar:  Effective Instruction

SPLED 550:  Doctoral Seminar: Professional Issues

Office Hours

Fall 2017:

Wednesday's 2:30-4:00

Education History

Ph.D in Special Education from the University of Florida

Representative Publications

Valasa, L.L, Mason, L.H., Hughes, C.A. (2014).  Full essay-writing interventions for adolescent students with high incidence disabilities: a review of research.  International Journal for Research in Learning Disabilities. 2, 1, 72-97.

Dexter, D.D., & Hughes, C.A. (2013). Graphic organizers as aids for students with disabilities. In G. Schraw, M. McCrudden, & D. Robinson (Eds.), in Learning through visual displays. Current perspectives on cognition, learning, and instruction series. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing. 

Woods-Groves, S., Therrien, W. J., Hua, Y., Hendrickson, J., Shaw, J., & Hughes, C. (2012). Effectiveness of an essay writing strategy for post-secondary students with developmental disabilities. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities. 47,2, 210-22.

Hughes, C.A., & Dexter, D.D. (2011).  Response to intervention: A research-based summary.  Theory into Practice. 50, 4-11.

Dexter, D.D., & Hughes, C.A. (2011). Graphic organizers and students with learning disabilities: A Meta-analysis.  Learning Disability Quarterly, 34. 51-72.

Archer, A., & Hughes, C.A. (2011). Explicit Instruction:  Efficient and Effective Teaching.  NY, NY: Guilford Publications. (Translated to Korean, 2013).

Hughes, C.A. (2011).  Effective design and delivery of task-specific learning strategy instruction for students with learning disabilities.  Focus on Exceptional Children. 44, 2, 1-16.

Hughes, C.A., Schumaker, J.B., McNaughton, D & Deshler, D.D. (2010)The EDIT strategy.  Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning.

Hughes, C.A., Deshler, D D., & Schumaker, J.B. (2009). The essay test-taking strategy. (2nd Edition) Lawrence, KS: Edge Enterprises.

Therrien, W.J., Hughes, C.A., Kapelski, C., & Mokhtari, K. (2009).  Effectiveness of an essay test-taking strategy on students' with learning disabilities performance on persuasive essays. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 42 (1). 14-24.


Co-PI, (with Kim, K. & Hitchcock, J.) Analysis of Interventions that can be used in a Response to Intervention Context: A Literature Review of Effective Practices, Mid-Atlantic Regional Education Laboratory, 2007-2008, $125,000.00

Co-PI, (with Kim, K. & Hitchcock, J.), Mid-Atlantic Policy Analysis on the Development and Implementation of the Response to Intervention Model, Mid-Atlantic Regional Education Laboratory, 2007-2008, $150,000.00

Co-Project Director, (with Ruhl, K, PI), Preparing Outstanding Scholars for Special Education, Leadership Grant, OSEP, 2007-11, $800,000.00

Principle Investigator, Evidence-based Practices for Including Students with High Incidence Disabilities in General Education Classrooms. Mid-Atlantic Regional Education Laboratory, 2006-2007, $199,000.00

Project Director, State-wide SIM professional training project, PDE/PaTTAN, 07/04-06/05, $400,000.00

Project Director, State Improvement Grant, PDE/OSEP,  07/99-06/04,  $2,000,000.00

Project Director, Higher Education Disability Support Providers. USDOE, Preparation of Leadership Personnel, August 1994 to August 2000, $517,000.00

Activities and Honors

Representative Conference Presentations

Hughes, C.A. (2014, November).  Current trends and issues in learning disabilities in the U.S.  Invited Keynote at the Korean Learning Disabilities Association International Conference, Seoul Korea.

Hughes, C.A. (2014, October).  Effective vocabulary instruction for students with learning problems:  Building knowledge for comprehension.  Invited Plenary Session at The Child Assessment & Research in Education Centre, 5th Biennial Education Conference, Kingston, Jamaica.

Dexter, D.D., Hughes, C.A., & Dexter, C. (2014, April).  Secondary common core standards in content-area literacy:  Successfully including students with LD. Paper presented at the International Council for Exceptional Children Conference, Philadelphia, PA

Hughes, C.A. (2013, November). Explicit Instruction.  Invited presentation for the “Setting the Pace Lecture Series” sponsored by the College of Education and Human Development, Bowling Green University.

Hughes, C.A. (2013, November). Active student participation: They key to a successful lesson for students with learning and attention problems.  Invited Keynote Presentation.  International Special Education Symposium.  Seoul, Gongju, & Daegu, Korea.

Hughes, C.A. (2012, September). Explicit Instruction: Effective and efficient teaching for students with learning difficulties.  Invited Keynote Presentation. 23rd World Congress on Learning Disabilities.  Oviedo, Spain.

Hughes, C.A. (2012, October). Explicit Instruction.  Invited Keynote Presentation. 4th Biennial Conference, Mico University CARE Centre.  Kingston, Jamaica.

Hughes, C.A. (2012, November).  Explicit Instruction:  Providing instructional support for students with learning disabilities.  Invited Keynote Presentation.  New York Council for Exceptional Children, Saratoga Springs, NY.

Hughes, C.A. (2011, January).  Helping students with learning problems succeed in the general education classroom.  Invited Keynote Presentation for the Special Education Conference, sponsored by the Jamaican Ministry of Education, Kingston Jamaica.

Fuchs, D., & Fuchs, L. & Hughes, C. A.  (2011, March). Implementing evidence-based interventions in the classroom.  Invited plenary panel session at the 27th annual Learning Disorders Conference, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA.

Dexter, D. & Hughes, C.A. (2010, April.) Why graphic organizers work: Theoretical perspectives.  Paper presented at the International CEC Conference, Nashville TN.

Graham, S., Hughes, C., Mason, L. & Olinghouse, N. (2009, February). Expository reading and writing instruction to enhance content learning for struggling learners.  Invited Panelist.  Pacific Coast Research Conference, San Diego, CA.


Jeannette E. Fleischner Career Leadership Award, Council for Exceptional Children’s Division for Learning Disabilities, 2014

Fulbright Senior Specialist, Gongju National University of Education, South Korea, 2010

UCEA Mid-Atlantic Region Outreach Program of the Year:  Keystone Tutoring Program, 2008

Fulbright Senior Specialist, Stockholm Institute of Education, Sweden, 2007

Fellow, International Academy for Research in Learning Disabilities, 2005-Present

College of Education Career Achievement Award, Penn State, 2004-05

Leadership Award, University of Kansas, Center for Research on Learning, 2004

Penn State Continuing Educations’ Exemplary Program Award, RISE Program, 2003

University Continuing Education Association’s Outstanding Credit Program Award, ABA 2002 and 2004

Gordon Alley Partnership Award, University of Kansas, Center for Research on Learning, 1996

University Collaborative Undergraduate Program Development Award, Penn State, 1994

College of Education Outstanding Faculty Award, Penn State, 1993-94

Finalist, George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching, Penn State, 1991

Presidential Recognition Award for Outstanding Contribution, University of Florida, 1985