Writing is a complex process that includes everything from handwriting skill to sentence construction to planning and drafting a story. We've found apps that help young children along all of the steps of the writing process, including the final stages — publishing and sharing your writing with others. Several apps can turn your iPad into a handwriting tablet for practice. See also our list of apps for storytelling.
Apps curated by Common Sense Education.
This animated parts-of-speech app enlivens grammar lessons. From the shady pronoun always trying to take the noun’s place to the motherly conjunction who just wants everyone to get along, Students can learn about nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, interjections, prepositions, and conjunctions by watching fun music videos, reading short cartoon-like books, and completing quizzes.
A versatile mind-mapping tool that helps kids visually organize information and ideas. They can create diagrams, maps, organizers, brainstorms, and text outlines. Use the map feature to organize ideas visually and then, with the tap of a button, turn the mind map into an outline to demonstrate how outlines are organized. Use maps to analyze characters in literature, compare and contrast ideas, elaborate on ideas and arguments, or complete word studies.
Tracing app that helps kids learn the correct ways to form uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers up to 20, and simple words. Kids join Mr. Crab in the simple act of dragging a finger to trace letters and numbers; there are numbered dots to help them along the way.
A mind-mapping tool helps young readers and writers learn to organize and classify information, gain sight word knowledge, and expand their ideas into written and verbal expression. By creating story maps, Venn diagrams, and webs, students visualize what they are learning, improving their understanding and comprehension. Tap to transform visual diagrams into text — perfect for pre-writing. There is also a Kidspiration Lite available for free.
Me: A Kid's Diary
This app offers exercises in self-expression. Kids can practice thinking critically about their own thoughts, dreams, likes and dislikes while growing more used to expressing themselves. Teachers and parents can have students expand on the app's prompts through extended writing or art projects. For an exercise in perspective-taking and research practice, have students create a diary for someone else, like a historical figure.
A versatile mind-mapping tool. Users create "Popplets" that can be filled with text, drawings, images, or video.Use the app to begin structuring the writing process. The app can also be used to create graphic organizers, classroom visuals, organize material according to text structures, and to practice sentence combining and complex sentence creation by connecting individual Popplets. Kids may be drawn to the social aspect of sharing and collaborating in real time.
Punctuation: End Marks
A tool for teaching elementary school kids about the marks that end sentences. Meet Officer Period, Detective Question Mark, and Sergeant Exclamation Mark and discover everything they do to add clarity to your writing. Track your progress through our puzzle bank and test your knowledge with increasing levels of difficulty. Drag and drop the appropriate punctuation and capitalization to sentences and paragraphs.
This text-to-speech app and browser extension unlocks the written word for all kids, including those with print or processing disorders. With the Talk&Type feature, students can dictate their writing. The app also provides an assistive keyboard that displays letters in a font helpful for dyslexic readers. Note: After the three-day trial period has expired, users pay $19.99 to access full features.
Write and illustrate books, publish them publicly or privately, and even order a printed copy. Kids can start with a blank book and let their imaginations run or use a premade story line, which is especially handy for younger kids or kids who need more structure in their storytelling or creative writing.
Sentence games that can help children learn to build grammatically correct sentences that describe a picture prompt. While creating these descriptive sentences, kids get practice ensuring that subjects agree with verbs, that pronouns match with antecedents, and that verbs agree in tense and number, among other important grammar skills. Special attention is paid to the connector words.
Shadow Puppet Edu
Slideshow creation tool designed to help kids create presentations. All the resources they might want are accessible from within the app, including images from museums, Flickr, and their own camera rolls. Kids can share their creations by email or message as well as through apps connected on the device, such as YouTube and Twitter.
A language-arts app for kids who need to improve their sentence formation, storytelling, and speaking. It's suitable for general learning as well as for special needs classrooms. Kids will strengthen skills in sentence structure, sequencing, and inferencing, as well as comprehension by asking them to respond to questions about a picture, helping them to structure the story.
Draw, animate, and share their stories through imaginative play and learn key storytelling principles. Children are walked through creating the story arc: setup, conflict, challenge, climax, or resolution. Creating a story is easy — simply press the record button, move the characters onscreen, and tell their stories. When finished, play back the animation and voice as a cartoon to share with friends and family.
Write About This
Images and prompts inspire kids of all ages to write, with increasing depth and complexity at higher levels. Additionally, kids or parents can create new prompts using their own images and ideas. Can help kids who struggle with written expression as they are given a prompt with a picture.
Research-backed writing tool that lets kids write their own stories in their own words. Instead of kids drawing a picture and writing a few sentences about it, with teachers rewriting some words to show kids the spelling (or translate so parents can read it), kids do all of that in-app. Plus, they can publish their writing in an ebook that can be easily shared with parents.