Review by Stephanie Trautman, Common Sense Education | Updated November 2015

Write About

Engaging prompts, flexible collaboration options empower young writers

Subjects & skills
  • English Language Arts

  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (1 Review)

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Pros: Great features for sharing and commenting make this a standout tool for writing for authentic audiences.

Cons: There's not much in-app guidance on the nitty-gritty of the writing process.

Bottom Line: A solid choice for helping students grow as writers and editors.

Teachers can use Write About to curate writing prompts, collaborate with other teachers, and find other classrooms to connect with. Teachers can also give line-by-line feedback on student writing by annotating it or direct-messaging their students. Once teachers offer feedback, students receive a notification on their devices; talk about how to manage the distraction of notifications and how to respond graciously to feedback. Also, talk to your students about social publishing and discuss what positive, safe writing looks like online. One great aspect of Write About is its teacher resources; use their free webinars and other written guidance on their website to help you get started.

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Write About is a site that lets young writers respond to prompts and share their responses with others. Teachers can write their own prompts and share them with students, or they can share prompts created by the developer or by other teachers. Students can also get started on their own and write on a topic of their choice.

To respond to a prompt, students type in a text box (with some formatting options), or they can record an audio response. Once they've recorded their response, students can choose privacy options: Save it as a draft, publish it as private, share it with their classmates and teacher, or make it public and viewable by everyone. Both teachers and students can comment on students' shared work. Teachers can give feedback to students, and students can give feedback to their peers, too. Students can be a part of writing communities (either through their classrooms or joining other already-formed groups) and can collaborate with others. Students can also curate content on the site, which is an important 21st-century skill.

Write About is a cool way to help kids engage with the writing process. There's a seemingly boundless array of prompts, and it's empowering and fun to discover so many avenues for expression. It's a great way to show kids that there are lots of great things to write about, and there are lots of ways for them to be creative and find their own voice. The collaborative options are nice, too: It's great to have a platform that can help students find an authentic audience as they share their work with their classmates or with others from around the globe. As you're using those sharing features, make sure you have a detailed conversation with your students about best practices for sharing online and commenting on others' work: In addition to being a nice tool for writing, Write About also gives teachers a concrete way to talk with students about online safety and digital citizenship. There's some good information on this subject in the "Learn" section of the site; check that out and use some of the ideas there to support that conversation.

Some more built-in features for helping students improve their writing would be a welcome addition. As it is, there's great guidance on how to share and interact but not as much focus on improving writing mechanics. That being said, it's nice to have a tool where kids can just get started without a lot of fuss. There's something powerful about letting students write openly and genuinely about topics they choose for an audience of readers other than their teachers. Definitely check this one out: There's great potential for collaboration and creativity even for the most reluctant writer. 

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Students become active participants in the writing process and collaborate with others. The prompts are engaging and fun, and the site is easy to use.

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

Tons of writing prompts and galleries help writers explore. More built-in tips would help ensure that students elaborate, check their spelling and grammar, and reread to check for clarity and fluency.

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

The site offers amazing resources for teachers in the teacher resources section; an audio component would make this a more flexible fit for a wider range of student needs.

Common Sense Reviewer
Stephanie Trautman Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

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Featured review by
Sally S. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Jefferson Elementary School
Jefferson, United States
This is What We Write About!
I think this is a great tool to spark creative writing. The picture with the prompt is key to helping students with ideas of what to write. Being able to customize a prompt makes it easy for a teacher to use content from lessons to encourage deeper thinking through writing. The teacher can choose a picture that fits the lesson and then write the prompt or question for the student reflection. It is also nice to just have a resource to help choose writing prompts for journal writing. Students could even ...
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