Common Sense Review
Updated November 2013

Writing Prompts for Kids

Writing prompt and word choice app has potential to empower, enrich
Common Sense Rating 3
  • Add story elements: situations, characters, settings and objects.
  • Find inspiration through prompts and better words.
  • The Better Words tool helps kids improve their word choice.
  • The Hard-to-Spell feature helps reinforce correct spelling.
Pros
Multiple story components give students control over their writing and better words help them spice it up.
Cons
While it's fun to tap and check out all the story combinations, this could potentially distract students from the goal -- actual writing.
Bottom Line
Kids can learn about creative writing and the elements of fiction; switching some of the story-idea components can help spark great new ideas.
Stacy Zeiger
Common Sense Reviewer
Homeschooling parent/instructor
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

Silly sound effects keep kids tapping through story-element combinations -- they'll like having control over the generation process. However, if they tap too fast they could accidentally pass a story element they like.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 3

Kids have some control over aspects of prompt generation, and they can save favorite prompts. Kids can also get help with spelling and word choice. A sharing component for students' writing would be a nice touch.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 3

The app lacks directions, but it's simple to use -- kids are likely to figure it out on their own. Opportunities to further extend learning would be a welcome addition.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

Writing Prompts for Kids can work well for individual writers, small groups, or even whole-class instruction. You can use the prompt generator portion to help students come up with creative ideas to write about, or perhaps to get them through severe cases of writer's block. You could also use the app to help teach some of the elements of fiction.

Using the "Favorites"  feature, teachers can give kids time to experiment, generate prompts, and save some of their favorites. Later on, simply ask them to choose one prompt from their Favorites list and get writing. When they're done writing, have students use the Better Words feature to help improve word choice and variety. This feature may also lend itself well to a peer-review or whole-class activity where students can help find better words to spice up a sentence or story.

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What's It Like?

Writing Prompts for Kids helps students generate creative writing prompts, and -- once they've written something -- can help them improve their word choice and variety. The prompt-generating tool contains a situation, a character, a setting, and an object. Students may want time to tap as they refine their search for the best prompt, and they can save their favorite combinations to return to later. 

Once they've start writing, students can return to the app to get new ideas, or to use the Better Words feature where they can find suggestions for words to use in place of common verbs and adjectives. For example, using the Better Words section students will find that the word "said" to have 25 different suggestions. Instead of simply saying words their characters can "mutter," "divulge," "recite," "announce," and "declare."

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Is It Good For Learning?

Writing from a random prompt can be fun, but also challenging at times. With Writing Prompt Generator, Instead of being tied down to a randomly generated prompt, students gain some measure of control over the prompt. With this, the writing process can become much more engaging and fun for kids, and they're more likely to take more ownership and pride in their work. If they don't like the situation or setting, they can change it. If they have trouble writing about a character, they can tap to find a new one. It's great that every part of the prompt can be changed; students can fine tune a prompt to their liking.

Along with encouraging kids to take control over what they write about, Writing Prompts for Kids also encourages them to take control over the words they use. Using the Better Words section, they learn more about word choice and discover alternatives to common verbs and adjectives.

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