Writing comes easy to some students, and to others it’s a struggle. Not to worry, though—any of your students can improve writing skills with a multitude of online tools today. We’ve got some of the best of the best in today’s list.
Each of these tools is free and fun to use. They will challenge and push kids to improve writing skills on numerous levels.
1. Grammar Girl
Mignon Fogarty is the Grammar Girl. Her site is full of useful and practical tips that will help anyone, students included, hone their writing skills in record time. The perfect site for all things grammar-related.
Hemingway is an app you can use online to check your writing’s readability. The free online version works very well, and there is also a desktop version for PC and Mac.
EditMinion is a Beta-version online copy editor. It refines your writing by finding common mistakes. Simply copy and paste writing into the box provided and it does the rest. It’s a lot like Hemingway in this regard.
Improve writing skills with visual flair! With Visuwords you get an interactive animated mind map-style search tool. It creates word diagrams to help you find meanings for any word, and also other words and ideas they’re related to.
5. 750 Words
750 Words gives you points every month for how much you write (the goal is 750 each time). At the beginning of each month, you start again fresh. It’s all private, and the goal is to just empty out your brain. This is the epitome of the phrase “just write.”
6. Word Counter
This is a useful online tool for finding “word clones,” one of the banes of any writer’s existence. Wordcounter ranks frequently-used words in your text. It helps you avoid overusing words, and to identify keywords.
7. Write Rhymes
In this online editor, you can either type in your words, or copy and paste them in. Once you’re done, you can highlight a word and press Option+click (Alt+click for PC), and the program will list possible rhymes for it. You can choose any word form the generated list to replace the original one in your copy.
This is a versatile tool that’s all about verbs. Choose from a conjugation tool, a multi-language verb translator, a search tool, verb games, and more.
StoryMash is the kind of challenging and collaborative fun where you never know what’s next. Writers can collaborate on stories, or write random chapters to add to other “chain” stories.
This is part of the Gotham Writers online community. It’s an in-depth character development questionnaire that helps you really round out the folks inhabiting your story landscape. There are two to choose from and they’re both really good.
This is one of the best free readability tools out there to help students improve writing skills. The checks it performs on your text include:
- hidden and passive verbs
- overuse of adverbs and glue words
- repetitive sentence structure
- commonly overused words
- repeated words and phrases
- vague, abstract and complex words
- cliches and redundancies
When you get stuck while writing, it’s Twinword to the rescue. This intuitive program detects the pauses in your writing. It then analyzes the context and offers suggestions of alternative words you can use to get rolling again. It’s got tons of other tools including a tone analyzer, a word counter, and a thesaurus.
13. Cliché Finder
This is a simple copy-and-paste tool for helping you locate clichés in your writing. It bases its checks on a comprehensive list of clichés provided by the Associated Press Guide to News Writing.
Quill is a tool designed with the modern classroom in mind. Quill provides free interactive writing activities aimed at middle and high school students. They can improve writing skills with a number of features that include a proofreader, a grammar checker, a two-player writing challenge, and a sentence shuffler (which is still on the way for fall of 2016).
Other Resources To Improve Writing Skills
- WordStream—essential writing tips
- MindTools—improve your email composition
- Class Central—free online writing courses
- Lifehack—better writing in 10 steps
- ReadWriteThink—student interactives
- Teen Ink—website for teenage writing, art, photos, and forums
- Time4Writing—free writing resources
- Help With Writing—worksheets and lessons
Inspirational Quotes About Writing
Just for fun, let’s share some wisdom from some of the greatest wordsmiths ever to put pen to paper.
“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart”—William Wordsworth
“Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.”—Ray Bradbury
“To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the inner music the words make.”—Truman Capote
“Write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable.”—Francis Bacon
“Every writer I know has trouble writing.”—Joseph Heller
“Most editors are failed writers, but so are most writers.”—T.S. Eliot
“You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.”—Saul Bellow
“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live!”—Henry David Thoreau