Parents, we know that you are a major influence in your child’s education, and we want to keep providing great resources for you to help your child learn at home. In previous blogs, we’ve made suggestions for “Religious Learning at Home,” “Help for Helping with Math Homework,” and “Reaching the Reluctant Reader.” In this blog, we are going to look at some excellent resources for writing — both academic and enriching.
The schools in the Archdiocese of Hartford recognize how essential writing is and therefore make it a standard part of every class in every grade across the curriculum. This inclusion is referred to as “writing across the curriculum.”
In a rapidly shrinking and technological world, communication skills enable us to interact peaceably and effectively with others in a spirit of understanding, and to this day, writing continues to be one of the most important skills our young learners must master.
Why are writing skills so important? They are critical because writing:
- allows you to express your thoughts and feelings clearly;
- helps you to organize your thoughts;
- enhances your understanding of the topic about which you are writing;
- fosters critical thinking (especially formal writing); and
- nurtures the imagination.
- Interactive Sites for Education (Language Arts) covers topics from A to Z (or really W) from the ABC’s to Writing. The site is a compilation of “All of the best K–5 online, interactive, educational games and simulations in one place!”
- Education PlaceⓇ is a site created by educational publisher Houghton Mifflin. Here you can find learning activities for grades K–5 and 6–8 that provide everything from great internet sites for research, introductions to authors and illustrators, graphic organizers, student writing samples for all types of academic writing, and self-evaluation.
- Funbrain, produced by the Family Education Network, offers interactive games for kids Pre–K through 8 that help develop reading and writing skills. Word games feature practicing with plurals, parts of speech, easily confused words, and even sign language.
- Word Central is an interactive, online dictionary, thesaurus, and rhyming dictionary hosted by Merriam-Webster. On this site, your young logophile can access all words at his or her fingertips as well as play vocabulary games, including creating brand new words.
For budding authors, there is a host of websites that will not only inspire, but also allow work to be published (with your overseeing and permission).
- National Novel Writing Month (Young Writers Program) is a no-pressure, month-long challenge open to writers 17 and under. When you sign your student up, he or she will have access to tons of resources including writing buddies, pep talks from famous authors, workbooks, tutorials, and a full NaNoWriMo YWP community. NaNoWriMo’s adult site will let you write your own novel as your child writes his or hers.
- Scribblitt is a “child-friendly and comprehensive website that virtually provides all the tools that a child will need in order to create and publish their own book.” The online software offers “Story Starters,” a “Planning Tool,” and book publishing templates. Scribblitt allows members to scan and upload their own drawings and photos or use the online tools to create new ones. For a small fee, members can even publish their book!
- Storybird “is a global publishing platform and community centered around collaborative, art-inspired storytelling.” A free account gives your child access to writing tools and tons of vibrant illustrations to plug into his or her story. Visit the “Parents” section to see everything Storybird has to offer for your young learner, including the Storybird Writing Club, an online literacy program for kids 8–18. Like Scribblitt, Storybird offers opportunities to publish with a small fee.
Everyone here in the schools in the Archdiocese of Hartford firmly believes that with practice and imagination, every child has the innate talent to blossom into a skilled and creative writer. These sites are just some of the resources that will help awaken the inner author in yours.
Do you have a favorite writing resource? Let us know on our social media.