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New Writing Instruction Software

These recently released or updated programs are designed to improve students’ writing skills.

Crick Software

WriteOnline —Less than $1 per student annually

WriteOnline is an online word processor for students aged 9 and up. Features include text-to-speech capabilities for reading aloud what students have written, word prediction tools to guide struggling writers, and Wordbars, unique onscreen word banks that help to expand vocabulary. WriteOnline is also newly available for free in a boxed copy for all subscribers, providing an alternative for districts with slow or unreliable Internet connections.


Writing Roadmap—Starting at less than $7 per student annually

Writing Roadmap is an online essay assessment tool that guides students in grades 3-12 through each step of the writing process. An instant scoring function provides 4-, 5-, or 6-point rubric scale feedback on six qualities of good writing, including organization, voice and fluency. Some features of the program can be turned on or off at the teacher’s discretion, such as hint, tutor, thesaurus and grammar tools. Comprehensive reporting capabilities at the student, group, school or district level provide valuable progress information.


PaperToolsPro—$75 per teacher plus $1 per student annually

A subscription-based online program, PaperToolsPro is intended to help users simplify and organize the research and note-taking part of the writing process. It also includes tools to identify and prevent plagiarism. The program helps writers learn researching skills by clearly distinguishing between original sources and the writer’s own words, provides note search and other functions for organizing information, and guides writers in the creation of bibliographies and citations.

Ginger Software

Ginger—Starting at $99 annually

A sophisticated new writing assistance program, Ginger goes beyond traditional spell checking to correct entire sentences for misused words, incorrect grammar and spelling mistakes by discerning the context of each sentence. The Premium edition of the program adds text-to-speech capabilities to allow users to hear sentences before and after correction and hear alternative corrections and their definitions.


Pricing varies depending on project

KidsWrite is a publishing company for elementary school students that provides a comprehensive curriculum and multiple levels of professional development to facilitate literacy instruction through the process of publishing a book. Students can create poems, stories and illustrations, design a book online, and get a copy of their work in a store-quality book at the end of their project. Online tools include a KidsCafe that provides project tracking to monitor the progress and outcomes of each student.


WriteToLearn v5.3—$30 per student/$300 per concurrent user license

Pearson’s WriteToLearn is designed to help students develop essay writing skills. It includes an integrated automated assessment engine that measures student progress and provides feedback on several main areas of good writing. The program also provides teachers with a variety of essay topics to choose from or the flexibility to create their own, and includes summarization activities and tools that help students to identify the important ideas in a reading.

TextHelp Systems

Read&Write Gold v9—Licensing starts at $645

TextHelp Systems’ assistive technology Read&Write Gold is a toolbar that “floats” on top of any mainstream Windows application such as Microsoft Word or Internet Explorer and provides support for any struggling reader or writer. Features include a selection of text-to-speech voices to review passages, an online “fact mapper” to help students organize graphics and notes, and a customizable word prediction function that enables teachers to provide tailored levels of help for an individual student or lesson.