Thursday, November 28, 2013

Top Apps to Encourage Kids to Write

Over on our Facebook Fan page, we hold a regular discussion time, where you can ask all our fans for advice. If you have a question to ask, please head over to our Facebook page where you can easily enter your question for discussion by using the Questions tab.  Annie wrote:

"Hi, does anyone know if there is a good iPad app that would help and encourage my son to write? He is 10 and cannot write nor is willing to try using a pen and paper."

General suggestions:

Sue wondered "Can he form letters, or does he just not like to write? The answer would make the difference in which apps you would want to use."

Aunty Dale suggested "Maybe not an app my son used to enjoy writing in shaving cream used to make him use his fingers correctly. What only letting him us the iPad with a pen only we did hat with our daughter for a while"

Amy recommended "Writeonline by Crick Software. It can be accessed on any computer with wifi. It's really important to see an assistive technology professional or an OT to determine the right fit for a child. This will at least give you some background information to make you more knowledgeable going into an evaluation."

Elizabeth thought "He could be hiding dyslexia ."

Kim mentioned  "There is an iPad case by Fisher price that has a stylus and apps."

Catherine commented "My son learned to put his thoughts in written form when he began to first e-mail, then text his friends. His actual writing still remains mostly illegible, but he can at least write/type well."

App Suggestions:

** Please note: Some of these apps have in-app purchases, but they can easily be disabled in the settings of your device. There are also ads and social network links in some of these apps. Only the app's developer can control when an app is free or not. All apps that we post as free are verified to be free at the time of this post. We make no guarantees otherwise.**

Heidi said "We like 'Letter School' at the moment. We also use an iPad stylus to encourage pencil grip."

LetterSchool by Boreaal

From iTunes:
"Kids practice essential skills as they play four exciting games per letter/number:
INTRO - discover the letter’s shape, name and sound
TAP - learn where to start, change direction and finish by tapping the dots
TRACE - learn the letter trajectory by tracing it
WRITE - test your knowledge by writing from memory"

If you would like to purchase this app, please support Smart Apps For Special Needs by clicking this button:

($2.99, iPad/iPhone)


rED Writing - Learn to Write by Rogue Mobile

Melissa suggested "Red Writing"

From iTunes:
"The only app currently on itunes that teaches Children how to write letters and numbers using the Australian education approved fonts. Created and designed with input from Australian teachers and Occupational therapists specialised in early childhood education for children aged 3-7 years and most importantly of all we have taken feedback from the children themselves who are learning to read and write.

rED contains 8 X educational approved handwriting fonts used throughout Australian schools (QLD, NSW, ACT, VIC, TAS, WA, SA and NT) to trace and learn. Your children will learn to write the same way they are taught at school."

If you would like to download this app, please support Smart Apps For Special Needs by clicking this button:

($2.99, iPhone only, Australia store Only)

Clicker Sentences by Crick Software

Leanne mentioned "Our SEU recommends Clicker Sentences for kids who find hit hard to write stories etc."
Hayley added "Clicker Docs, Clicker Sentences."

From iTunes:
Students tap words in the grid to build sentences in the simple word processor, then hear each sentence automatically spoken aloud as they complete it, helping them to identify any mistakes and make corrections. Learners can even hear words before they write them, helping them to find the word they want and achieve writing success. 

Set up any sequence of sentences for your learners in a few seconds by simply typing or pasting them in. What’s more, get free, ready-made Sentence Sets via our LearningGrids site, which is fully accessible from within the app!


Numerous support options ensure that students of all abilities are given the right level of challenge to experience success: 
•For students just getting started with writing, show the completed sentence as a model on the grid, so they can copy it word-for-word. •A model sentence in a popup enables the students to see the sentence, but not copy it – the popup must be closed before they write. •A spoken model means the student can listen to the sentence, but not see it. •Automatically randomize the words on the grid, or provide additional support by showing them in the correct sentence order."

If you would like to purchase Clicker Sentances, please support Smart Apps for Special Needs by clicking the following button: 

($28.99, iPad only)


Clicker Docs by Crick Software

From iTunes:
Students use the child-friendly keyboard to type into the simple word processor, and a range of speech options encourage them to review what they have written. This helps them to find and correct errors for themselves, enabling them to become more independent writers. 

The intelligent word predictor suggests words that fit the context of students’ writing, encouraging them to use more adventurous vocabulary and helping them to create flowing, grammatically correct text with accurate spelling. Learners can even hear words before they write them, helping them to find the word they want and achieve writing success. There's even a talking spellchecker!

Word Banks provide tabbed vocabulary support for any subject or topic - just tap a word to add it to the document. Make your own Word Banks in a flash (you can even paste in a block of text from anywhere and have it created automatically) and use the free, ready-made Word Banks on our LearningGrids site, accessible from within the app!

Learners can even listen to words before they write them, helping them to find the word they want and achieve writing success. Any word in the predictor or Word Bank can be heard before it is used by using our unique Sound Shift tool.

The child-friendly Sassoon font included in the app makes your documents look great on-screen and on paper. Print your work to any Airprint-compatible printer, or share it via email. Whatever your students’ current level, watch their confidence grow and their motivation soar as they experience writing success!"

If you would like to purchase Clicker Docs, please support Smart Apps for Special Needs by clicking the following button: 

($28.99, iPad only)                         


I Spell MY Words by ispellMYwords

Juliana said "Hi, if by 'writing' you mean putting words together (rather than handwriting), then DEFINITELY this app can help and was in fact designed for children with such issues: I spell MY words."

We also have a post about this app written by Heather S. that you can read by clicking here.

From iTunes:
"‘I spell MY words’ has one main goal: to give people of various abilities the opportunity to learn to spell the words most meaningful to them. This application is suitable for all children, including children with learning difficulties and complex needs such as Autism and non-verbal communication. It is also very suitable for children learning English. 

The key features of ‘I spell MY words’ are high level of customisation and simplicity of use. These enable increased motivation for learning through personal relevance and control of learning environment. ‘I spell MY words’ allows children to build on already established connections with their outside world – a familiar face, favourite toy, basic need, desired place, anything they may be fascinated with. Parents/teachers easily input exactly the right meaningful images and words and so increase the motivation for writing. Learning spelling thus becomes more effective and fun for everyone! 

Each word is represented by an image or a short video, as well as sound recorded in the parent’s/teacher’s voice. The image is accessed from iPhoto, hence children can even take their own photos/videos of things they would like to be able to spell! Motivation is further boosted by the user’s independent control of the learning environment – they can easily at any time choose from three levels of spelling difficulty and three types of reward and five background colours. This helps with gradual learning development (and potential ups and downs in development) as well as boosts independent learning. The working environment allows for different stages of cognitive development, physical development (for example children who cannot hold a pencil) as well as sensory processing issues. Such level of control makes this application more enjoyable for all children and actually feasible for use for those with complex needs." 

If you would like to download I Write MY Words, please support Smart Apps for Special Needs by using the link below:
($6.99, iPad Only)

Kathlyn mentioned Letter School and Handwriting without Tears

Handwriting Without Tears - Wet-Dry-Try Suite

Rachel wrote about this app on Smart Apps for Special Needs.  You will find it by clicking here.
  From iTunes:
"Make handwriting practice fun! With our Wet-Dry-Try Suite App, children learn and practice correct formation habits for writing capitals, numbers, and lowercase letters. The app simulates our Slate Chalkboard and Blackboard with Double Lines and helps children learn handwriting skills in the easiest, most efficient way. The result truly is handwriting without tears! 

- A proven multisensory approach teaches children to write letters and numbers with correct habits and without reversals. 
- Children can practice letters in any order they choose, or follow the HWT Order, which presents the letters in the proven Handwriting Without Tears® developmental teaching order. 
- A personal coach helps children with friendly audio cues to learn formation steps and fix mistakes. 
- Each letter has three levels of difficulty that build skills progressively. Master a level and win a star. Earn three stars and win a letter card. Collect them all to win the grand prize! 
- The two options for sensitivity allow parents and educators to adjust the writing tolerance depending on each student’s needs. 
- The smiley face and Slate Chalkboard frame promotes good handwriting and reading habits for capitals and numbers. 
- The double lines, modeled after our Blackboard with Double Lines, make it easy to understand where lowercase letters start and end."

If you would like to download Handwriting Without Tears: Wet-Dry-Try, please support Smart Apps for Special Needs by using the link below:
($6.99, iPad Only)


Touch and Write by FIZZBRAIN

Amie commented "My kids like touch and write, but it's just for can change between things like shaving cream/chocolate pudding etc that you are writing with. I use it with my Kindergartener with a stylus to work on proper holding of a pencil."

From iTunes:
"Kids love learning to write - especially when they can use shaving cream, paint, and jello! "Touch and Write" was developed by real classroom teachers, and recreates the fun and effective teaching strategy used in classrooms every day: learning letters by writing with shaving cream, jello, finger paint, and more! "Touch and Write" uses a letter style similar to those most commonly taught in schools, so it prepares children for a real classroom. "Touch and Write" also allows you to create your own lists of names and words so that you can individualize the learning experience for your child! And it comes with 6 of its own word lists, including the most important words for young children to learn – high frequency sight words!"

If you would like to purchase this app, please support Smart Apps For Special Needs by clicking this button:

($2.99, iPad/iPhone)

Colleen said "I like Abilipad it has word prediction. You can build in word banks and phrases to make the typing faster. Their website has great how to videos. Also, Co:Writer makes a word prediction app that may help encourage his writing. Co:Writer is a phonic based word prediction. If he can sound out the word Co:Writer will find it. If he needs help brainstorming ideas try Inspiration. You can create a graphic organizer and the turn it into your outline to write. They have premise templates or he can create his own."

Abilipad by Cheryl Bergman

From iTunes:
"Abilipad is a customizable keyboard and adaptive notepad, with word prediction and text-to-speech. 
Keyboard Editor enables one to quickly and easily create customized keyboard layouts: 
•Assign each key any letter, word, sentence or picture
•Merge cells together to form larger keys
•Create audio recordings 
•Select from various fonts and letters sizes
•Use different colors for the grid, keys and letters

The adaptive notepad provides scaffolding and support:
•Distraction-free writing space
•Word Prediction 
•Set the text style (font, size and color) and background color 
•Include images from the image library or use your own pictures
•Add, duplicate and reorder pages 
•Linked keyboards enable one to effortlessly shift between keyboards

•Words are highlighted as they are spoken
•20 natural-sounding Acapella voices: 4 American, 4 British, 5 French, 3 German, 2 Spanish, 1 Catalan, and 1 Australian
•Speaks letters, words and /or sentences
•AAC option with easily accessible clear text button
•Adjust the reading speed

Accessibility Features:
•Bluetooth enabled for use with a wireless keyboard 
•VoiceOver Accessible
•Insert text from emails, text documents or webpages to hear it read out loud 
•Languages include English, Spanish, French and German

•Intuitive, user-friendly interface
•Automatically save your work as you make changes
•Organize notepads and keyboards into folders 

•Export Abilipad files privately via email or Dropbox
•Share keyboards and lessons online with other Abilipad users
•Download ready-made activities from the Abilipad Library"

If you would like to purchase this app, please support Smart Apps For Special Needs by clicking this button:
($19.99, iPad only)


Co:Writer by Don Johnston Incorporated

Co:Writer® is a writing tool that aides with phonetic/inventive spelling, grammar, and topic-related vocabulary. Co:Writer has been a trusted friend to writers and communicators for decades (tracing its roots back to the days of the Apple II in the late 70s). 

As letters are typed, Co:Writer predicts the intended word with a selection of word suggestions using powerful grammar-smart word prediction. These suggestions can be read aloud with a swipe. Selecting the intended word places it into the document. For feedback while writing (and after writing) built-in text to speech can be used to read letters, words, sentences, and the entire document.

Co:Writer has access to a main prediction dictionary (that includes core words) and Topic Dictionaries (that includes topic specific words). Co:Writer can access over 4 million topic-specific dictionaries which are activated based on the writing task.

Co:Writer handles the widest range of spelling mistakes through its Flexspell™technology including phonetic spelling and inventive spelling errors (letter omissions, word ending omissions, letter reversals, etc).


Co:Writer bases its prediction off of proper grammar, and uses its understanding of grammar to accurately predict words within the framework of valid sentence structures. 

- Built-in Text to Speech (swipe prediction guesses to hear before selection)
- iCloud Support
- Export

-US dictionaries and US voice only. Please see separate versions for British English and Canadian English.

If you would like to purchase this app, please support Smart Apps For Special Needs by clicking this button:

US version
($17.99, iPhone/iPad)

British English
($17.99, iPhone/iPad)

Canadian English
($17.99, iPhone/iPad)


If you are still looking for writing apps we have a number of other posts in our handwriting category. Check them out here:

If you have your own question to ask, please head over to our Facebook page where you can easily enter your question for discussion by using the Questions tab.

Odd Socks Mummy is having a rare day at home alone - no hubby, no kids!

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