The following writing resources were recommended at a school workshop for encouraging the reluctant writer in secondary but I thought they were great ideas and tools for the younger aspiring writers.
Writing Resources for School:
- Socratic Seminars encourage students to explore academic topics in full (all subjects) – mapping both sides of a debate.
- Provide learners with clear structure for writing to show logical progress of ideas.
- Graphic organisers to help generate and organise ideas.
- Student generated word and phrase banks to help stimulate writing and offer starting points.
- Pictures and videos used to generate ideas for creative and argumentative writing.
Writing Resources for Home:
- Storybird.com is a great site for encouraging creative writing work. It uses pictures to stimulate ideas and creativity. G1 wrote his second story using Story Bird – How the Bee Got Home.
- Writing ideas – Thoughtful Learning offers lists of writing topics by grade that your child can choose from. Conversations at home will also help with ideas for written work.
- Style and structure – Hemingwayapp will assess the style of written work to help with improvements.
- Vocabulary – expresso-app identifies commonly used words and helps learners add variety.
- Grammar and Punctuation – Grammarly offers support with grammar, punctuation, and clarity of written work.
Apps like Hemingway and Expresso can help children to assess their work and improve upon it before asking for help.
Programs for Improving Writing
Cut and paste your work into the Hemingway App and it will analyse the work for:
- Approximate grade level
- Readability – how easy is it to read
- Ways to simplify the writing
- Use of passive voice
Expresso App is an online tool that allows students to edit texts and improve their writing style. It will teach them to express themselves through writing more efficiently and help make their texts more readable, precise, and engaging.
Similar to the Hemingway App, Expresso App allows students to cut and paste their work for analysis. It will highlight:
- weak verbs – verbs that are overused and vague
- filler words – unnecessary words that can be omitted
- nominalisations – complex nouns that have been extended from shorter verbs, adjectives or nouns
- entity substitutions – pronouns and vague determiners
- negations per sentence
- clustered nouns – three or more consecutive nouns
- modals – verb modifiers signifying ability or necessity
- rare words
- extra long sentences
- extra short sentences
- frequent words
- and other general metrics
Grammarly is another writing tool that helps identify spelling errors, grammatical errors, and weak writing. This program offers tips and suggestions on how to make these corrections.
See also: Grammarly Handbook – how to improve your writing
Apps for Creative Writing
- Compose songs
- Write short stories
- Write poems
- Break through writer’s block
- Record the stream of consciousness
- Learn English – explore, have fun with words
Tap on the stream of suggested words, picking words until the sentences come out; or combine normal typing with predictive writing. You can easily switch among genres: Poetry, Prose, Classics, Dialogues, Lyrics, You & Me, Cooking, Quotations and Romance.
9 cubes, 54 images, over 10 million combinations and infinite stories. Shake to roll the cubes. Create a story using all 9 face-up images. Add more cubes for more ideas:
Rory’s Story Cubes is also available as a physical dice set:
- 9 original dice, 9 Actions dice, 9 Voyages dice
- 3 fairy tale themed dice, 3 dinosaur themed dice, 3 crime themed dice
- 3 sports themed dice, 3 outer space themed dice, 3 medical themed dice
- Encourages speaking skills, creativity, confidence – no reading required
- Use them individually or together for unlimited story possibilities
Boost students’ creative writing skills with writing prompts that will spark their imaginations. This writing prompt generator is quick and easy to use; your students will have an inspiring writing topic in seconds. Just tap the screen to pick a situation, a character, a setting, and an object.
Create your own eBooks on the iPad:
- Add text, choosing from over 50 fonts
- Add photos and images from your iPad’s photo library, from the web, or use the iPad’s Camera
- Resize, rotate and position content as you like with guidelines and snap positioning
- Add video and music, and even record your voice
- Use the pen tool to draw and annotate your book
- Choose from portrait, landscape or square book sizes
- Add super powers to your books with comic templates, stickers and styles
- Share your eBook with family and friends or publish it on the iBooks Store.
Write About This is a visual writing prompt & creation platform perfect for classrooms and families! With endless ways to respond and the ability to craft custom photo prompts, it will kick-start any writing activity.
Take on a writing challenge with writing prompts to spark your creative writing inspiration. Press “start” and the app will give you the first prompt to start writing your story. Choose the one that you most like and fire up your writing. Then, every minute (or the time you choose in the app settings) the app will give you a new prompt for you to add new ideas, words, characters, sentences, places or actions to the plot. Quite a challenge to turn your writing into a game!
Apps for Writing Poetry
This app teaches students how to write haiku, a popular Japanese poem that traditionally has three lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables. They begin by brainstorming words for their poem, and then they compose their poem with attention to how many syllables they’ve written for each line. The final step allows students to customize the design of their poem with one of the provided artistic backgrounds or by uploading their own image.
Apps for Recording Your Child’s Work
Spark Page makes it easy for anyone to turn words and images into a beautiful gliding web story. Transform your next newsletter, report, invitation or travel adventure into a gorgeous visual story that delights readers on any device. Get inspired by a wide variety of curated designs, then simply tap to select a beautiful, unique look. Gorgeous fonts, color and magazine-style design are automatically incorporated — no design experience required. Fluid movement and elegant motion happen instantly. Share your Page to grab attention, increase awareness and inspire action. You can even access, edit and share your web story from a browser with Adobe Spark for web.