Writing Tools

  • My Study Bar - a comprehensive set of portable open source and freeware applications to support learners with literacy difficulties. MyStudyBar is similar to popular commercial programs which use a floating toolbar to support literacy. The toolbar includes a range of tools to support inclusion such as mind mapping, screen masking, word prediction, talking dictionary, text-to-speech, Save as MP3 and voice recognition. PC Only. (Speech recognition only works in Vista or Windows 7) Step by Step Guides
  • Google Docs/Drive - Google has an Intelligent Spellchecking feature. Looks at the context and offers one choice, "Did you mean,,,,?" More robust and accurate than the spell checking feature in Word although it doesn't flag capitalization errors. Use the Insert Comments feature to provide timely feedback as students are composing text.
  • Grammarly- Online Grammar Checker, instant reports with no log-in necessary, not COPPA compliant, so age 13+ only.
  • Paper Rater - offers grammar, spell-checking and plagiarism detection. (middle school and above writing only)
  • Hemingway - Easy to use tool for editing support.
  • Language Tool - open source proofreading tool
  • Writing Reviser - Chrome Extension for editing support

  • Rhyming Support Tools - RhymeZone and PoetryforKids. Type a word and rhyming choices appear!
  • Spelling City - insert the week's spelling list and students can play games, finish worksheets, and complete other interactive activities.
  • Doorway Speller - Online tool for Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check
  • Writing Checklists - generate customized checklists, develop these with your students. Great for K-12

Writing Tools - engaging tools to reach reluctant writers

In addition to the tools suggested below, it is important to rethink writing alternatives. Writing is often used as a method for demonstrating learning, but there are many other options. Think about what portable, tablet technology offers. Here are a number of apps to consider:

Online Tools

  • Book Creator - online book creation tool, combine text, images, audio and video. This is a must! The Free option allows a teacher to create one library with forty books. (There is also an app but the free version only allows one to compose one book).
  • StoryBoard That - Fun, storyboard creation site. Add scenes, props, characters with facial expressions and poses. Plan and organize your writing with this interactive graphic organizer. Teacher Guides and Resources here.
  • Story Jumper - Story building tool with scenes, props and text with spell check support. Can add your own photos. Also allows you to publish your work for a fee. You do not need to sign in to create a book.
  • Little Bird Tales - story building tool, records audio/allows narration. very easy to use! Excellent for younger students
  • Storybird - collaborative storytelling, beautiful graphics.

Storybird Quick Tour from Storybird on Vimeo.

  • Comic Master - Create your own Graphic Novels!
  • Wacky Web Tales - online "madlib" tools, use to teach parts of speech or with reluctant writers. Everybody loves a silly story!
  • Bookr - create your own storybook using Flickr images. very easy to use, view examples in the archives.
  • Story Maker - Provides structured support with audio input. Use this with reluctant writers. When the story is finished, it can be printed or linked to a pdf. Excellent tool!
  • Suessville StoryMaker - Use characters from Dr. Suess' Horton Hears a Who to write a short story. When you are done, the story is played back.
  • Writing Fix - Interactive Writing Prompts
  • Read/write/think- Interactive digital activities (click the interactive links - there are many to choose from)
  • Story Starter, Jr. - Sometimes, determining where to begin is the obstacle. Story Starter, Jr. offers 729 one line story starters for students. Click the link, get the starter, copy and paste and you are good to go!
  • OurStory - online timeline tool
  • Scholastic: Story Starters for Grades 1-4 Story Starters is a bank of writing prompts. Student spins the lever to get a writing prompt. To allow for even greater creativity, the student can spin wheels to change any part of the prompt.

Comic Strip Creation Tools (online tools) (great for students on the autism spectrum - promotes perspective taking)

Word cloud generators (many ways to use these free tools - Get some ideas here)