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Ten Apps to Help Students Develop Writing Skills

A Better Understanding of Developing Good Writing and Communication Skills

❶When you read it, keep that in mind and edit ruthlessly! Very informative, and I am feeling better now.

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Good writing is about using the right words, not filling up the page. It might feel good at first to pack a lot of ideas and details into a single sentence, but chances are that sentence is just going to be hard to read. A well-placed adverb can be delightful, but much of the time the adverbs we use are already implied by the verb or adjective—or would be if we had chosen a more evocative word.

If you notice that your writing is filled with "-ly" words, it might be time to take a deep breath and give your writing more focus. Lay down well-placed dots and let the reader connect them. Especially in fiction, putting this classic piece of writing advice into practice is one of the most powerful lessons a writer can learn.

This is far more effective. Compare these similar weather-related opening lines: Weather, emotion, damnation, and despair—Dickens covered it all with an opening line that leaves the reader ready for anything. One of the hallmarks of sloppy writing is broad generalizations.

This applies to creative writing, too. This kind of non-examined thinking keeps you in a creative rut and prevents you from exploring the variety of possibilities that real life presents.

Back up what you say. Why is that true? What evidence do you have? It will also help them determine whether they agree with you. Use metaphors and similes with caution. While a good metaphor or simile can give your writing punch and vigor, a bad one can make your writing as weak as a baby. That, by the way, was a weak simile.

Everything from traditional grammar to the writing advice above is up for grabs if you know a transgression will improve your piece. As with everything, moderation is key. Using one rhetorical question to create a punchy opening can be very effective.

Using a string of six rhetorical questions would quickly diminish their effect. Be choosy about when and why you break the rules. Editing is one of the most essential parts of writing. Once you finish a piece of writing, let it sit for a day and then read it over with fresh eyes, catching confusing bits or scrapping whole paragraphs—anything to make your piece better.

Then when you are done, give it another read, and another. Proofreading is more technical and catches errors of grammar, spelling, punctuation, and formatting. Pick up a good book or ten. Read and understand the works of great and influential writers to learn what is possible with the written word and what readers respond to best. By immersing yourself in works by good writers, you will expand your vocabulary, build knowledge, and feed your imagination.

Map the allusions that run through your culture. You might not realize it, but books, movies and other media are filled with references and homages to great literature.

By reading some classics, you will build a body of cultural knowledge that will better inform your own writing.

Make sure you understand why a classic work is considered great. If this happens, try reading an essay or two about the piece to learn why it was so influential and effective. You may discover layers of meaning that you missed. Understanding what makes great writing great is one of the best ways to grow your own skills. This applies for nonfiction and academic writing too. Take some examples of work by well-respected authors in your field and take them apart.

What do they have in common? How do they work? What are they doing that you could do yourself? Plays were written to be performed. Get yourself into the heads of its characters. Listen to how the language sounds as you read it. Read magazines, newspapers, and everything else. A great writer is in touch with the important issues of the day. Know when to put down your influences. It happens all the time: But when you sit down at your desk, your words come out sounding unoriginal, like an imitation of the author you were just reading.

For all you can learn from great writers, you need to be able to develop your own voice. Learn to cleanse your palate of influences with a free writing exercise, a review of your past works, or even just a meditative jog. Not just any notebook, but a good sturdy one you can take with you anywhere.

Ideas happen anywhere, and you want to be able to capture those oft-fleeting ideas before they escape you like that dream you had the other night about Write down any ideas that come to you. Write down the way people work at a coffee shop. Note how the sunlight strikes your desk in the late afternoon. Fill up your notebook and keep going. When you finish a notebook, put a label on it with the date range and any general notes, so you can refer back to it when you need a creative kick in the pants.

Join a writing workshop. One of the best ways to improve your writing and stay motivated is to talk with others and get feedback on your work. Find a local or online writing group. You may find that offering feedback, as well as receiving it, helps you learn valuable lessons to build your skills.

Academic writing can also be improved by having friends or colleagues look at it. Working with others also encourages you to share your ideas with others and listen to theirs. Keep a diary, mail a pen pal, or just set aside an hour or so for free writing. Just pick a topic and start writing. And write some more. Pick a topic and lay out a general arc for your story.

For example, that classic Hollywood story line: The chase scenes are added later. It can be tempting to just start writing and try to figure out twists and turns of your plot as you go along. Even a simple outline will help you see the big picture and save you hours of rewriting. Start with a basic arc and expand section by section. Flesh out your story, populating it with at least the main characters, locations, time period, and mood. When you have part of an outline that will take more than a few words to describe, create a sub-outline to break that section into manageable parts.

The app provides a prompt to get student writing started…then, every minute, the app supplies another prompt to add new ideas, words, characters, sentences, places or actions to the plot. Students who have a hard time getting started with creative writing assignments will enjoy the fast-paced, game-like setup of this app.

This app generates fiction, and nonfiction writing prompts, helping students master the skill of the short write. The app uses current events, scene elements, words, pictures, colors, and even random tidbits from fiction works to inspire students to write both short and long pieces. The creative writing prompts are available both on- and offline to encourage student writing wherever they may be.

Story Builder is an app from the same company that produces Sentence Builder. The app is designed to help students improve paragraph formation, integration of idea, inference, and abstract thinking and expression. The app offers a talk-to-text function, which allows students to narrate their thoughts and see them transformed into paragraphs; this is an essential scaffold for struggling writers.

Write About This is an app that addresses all genres of writing throughout elementary school, engaging students and making them feel excited about writing! This app is worth investigating for teachers of reluctant writers.

Storyrobe allows writers to write, share their work, and receive feedback from others. This is a great way to integrate student editing and revision as well as teaching how to incorporate positive feedback to writers. With this app, you can easily save and upload your story to social media platforms as well! For traditional essay writing in classrooms, there is no better app than Google Docs!

Google Docs has all the traditional functionality of Microsoft Word but allows for collaboration between students and for easy-to-give and easy-to-receive feedback from teachers through the commenting and suggesting functions.

When paired with Google Classroom, Google Docs makes the assigning, collecting, and grading of essays a breeze for teachers and students. This will be your battle plan, and it will help you win the war.

Very few — and I do mean very few — writers sit down to write anything without a solid plan in mind. A simple framework of which sections should appear in a particular order, along with a few sentences about what each section contains, may be enough.

If you start to feel lost, refer back to your outline and get back to kicking ass and taking names. Several examples three or four of content that aligns well with marketing positioning and branding of recognizable brands.

This outline eventually became my recent post about brand voice. I deviated from my initial outline slightly, but the overarching structure was always there to keep me on target. Editing is a tough skill to learn for beginner writers, because they place immense value on the time and effort they put into writing in the first place.

However, a lot of writing is actually rewriting, and this is where the cold, hard eye of an editor will serve you well. Develop the discipline it takes to eliminate extraneous words more on this shortly. Resist the temptation to wax lyrically and get to the point.

Not sure if a paragraph works? Be tough on yourself, and know when to delete or rework something. Your work will be much stronger as a result. The best writers make it look so easy. Just get your ideas down on paper first, then go back and start cleaning up.

Writing is an iterative process, and even the best writers have to spend a lot of time reworking material they were probably too embarrassed to show anybody. In many cases, shorter sentences can have a greater impact. Baby shoes, never worn. This lengthy sentence is a prime candidate for a ruthless red pen, even if my lame jokes were intended to give it a little more flavor.

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The physical act of writing letters and early words enhances the child's ability to read. The complementary relationship between reading and writing continues long after these early efforts. Parents enhance their child's skills dramatically .

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Story Builder was Huffington Post’s winner of Best Reading App. The app is designed to help students improve paragraph formation, integration of idea, inference, and abstract thinking and expression. The app’s use of audio clips promotes access to writing skills, even for students with special needs.

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Follow our easy-to-read articles to help you improve your writing skills including: Grammar, Spelling, Punctuation, Writing Styles, Referencing and more. Aug 23,  · How to Improve Your Writing Skills Five Methods: Writing Help Improving the Basics Reading for Writing Practicing Your Skills Crafting a Story Community Q&A Perhaps you have dreams of becoming the next Great Novelist%(61).