Smart Classroom Technologies

15 Online Resources That Help Improve Essay-Writing Skills

Writing Tools

Throughout the journey from kindergarten to 12th grade, students are supposed to gain appropriate vocabulary and grammar skills that need to be successfully implemented into essay writing. Here are some effective online tools that can help you make the art of essay writing more attractive for your students.

1. ReadWriteThink – Student Interactives

This page is a great source of interactive tools that help students accomplish various goals, from organizing their thoughts to learning about different aspects of the English language. Some of the most popular tools for grades K-12 include Story Map, Persuasion Map, Word Family Sort, Acrostic Poems, Trading Card Generator and Comic Creator. You can choose different tools based on the grade level, capabilities, student interactive type, theme, and learning objective. 

2. Interactive Sites for Education

This website serves as a resourceful guide to English language arts topics. You can find educational, interactive games and simulations for grades K-5 in the categories of grammar, compound words, capitalization, phonemes and words, punctuation, poetry, reading and sight words, parts of speech, writing and rhyming. These activities work well with an interactive whiteboard. However, you can also recommend them for individual learning at home. 

3. Graphic Organizers

Young students can hardly manage all the ideas they get if you leave them in front of a piece of paper and saying they should write an essay right away. The process requires pre-writing stages, where these graphic organizers will be of great help. Your students can use them as a way of putting their ideas and notes in order. Then, the actual writing stage will be much more focused. 

4. Teach the Children Well – Language Arts

This website may not be that appealing in terms of design, but it’s a great base of resources that will help you become a better teacher. This is actually a collection of awesome articles related to writing. Every educator should spend time examining these resources as they progress through different teaching methods.

5. Free Writing Resources is mostly known for the eight-week online writing courses it offers. However, the website is also a great source of free resources in seven categories: teaching writing, writing skills, writing sentences, writing paragraphs, writing mechanics, writing essays and standardized-test writing.

6. Guide to Grammar and Writing

This website offers comprehensive lessons on all aspects of English grammar and writing. You will easily locate all materials you need in the Index, which includes links to all resources of the Guide to Grammar and Writing, as well as Principles of Composition. This online source is like the grammar textbook you always wished to have. Now you can use it to make the lectures more accessible for your students.

7. [Resource Removed by Editor]

This was a writing resource but has since morphed into an essay purchasing service, which THE Journal does not support or advocate.

8. Essay Punch

Essay Punch is an interactive, online, essay-writing tutorial that takes students through all stages of the academic writing process. The guidance it offers is based on pre-set writing prompts and interactive exercises for the pre-writing, organizing, writing, editing and publishing stages.

9. Teen Ink

This well-established magazine publishes high-quality essays and other written forms created by students. The categories at the website include nonfiction, poetry and fiction. There is no need to subscribe to the monthly print magazine; all you need to do is recommend the website as a source of inspiration. You can select some of the featured essays and read them in class in order to show great samples of academic content.

10. Thesis Builder

Your students will love this tool! Since they are always struggling to come up with a believable thesis statement, you can recommend the Thesis Builder, an automatic engine that launches a statement based upon the topic, opinions and supporting arguments the users provide in the form. Once they get the thesis, your students can proceed with the creation of an outline without looking for another online tool.

11. [Resource Removed by Editor]

This was a writing resource but has since morphed into an essay purchasing service, which THE Journal does not support or advocate.

12. Hemingway Editor

There is a rule about long, complex sentences: You can only use them if you know how. K-12 students rarely manage to handle complex sentence structure, but they still want to impress you with big words and endless arguments. When you want to emphasize the importance of clarity, use Hemingway as an example. This tool will highlight the common errors and long sentences that need corrections.

13. The Readability Test Tool

This tool tests the readability of a piece of writing according to a set of commonly used indicators. You can recommend it to your students as an editing aid that will help them improve the readability of their work before they submit it to you.

14. WordCounter

When you assign a specific word count for a piece of writing, you want your students to respect it. This tool will help them achieve that goal. It will not only provide them with a correct number of words in their essays, but will also enable them to locate repetitive words and phrases.

15. Citation Machine

Referencing is certainly not the most exciting part of any writing assignment. Nevertheless, you cannot simply neglect all those details and citation rules. This tool provides instant citations in Chicago, Turabian, APA and MLA styles. Upon entering the appropriate parameters, the students get a properly formatted reference without any fuss.

About the Author

Julie Petersen is a tutor and a blogger who features the latest career and educational trends in her articles. She is working on her first e-book dedicated to online learning.