As a home school mom of an eight year old who REALLY doesn't like writing - I'm always looking for new ways to inspire my boy wonder into the adventure of letting his imagination soar AND translating that to paper. Letting the imagination soar is NO problem. Oh, the tales he can tell. It's when he's asked to put it on paper...no that's not right either. He likes to make up stories and write with no structure. It's when he's asked to write something specific that he shuts down. It's like you push his "FREAK OUT" button. To help alleviate some of the anxiety involved with this activity he now has his own blog. We do all of his writing assignments on there. It is helping somewhat. Backspacing to fix an error and running his work through spellcheck is a lot less daunting than breaking out the eraser or, God forbid, rewriting it. Oh, the horror! Gasp!
Well, with this in mind let me share an exciting find with you. As I was perusing through my newest issue of Good Housekeeping I came across this article that features 3 different websites that each help to inspire a love of writing in a unique way.
1. http://www.tikatok.com/ - (ages 5-14) This website lets your child write, illustrate, and publish their own storybooks. It has optional prompts for beginners with writers block. It's free to log on and create the book. The cost to order a printed copy will range from about $15-$20.
2. http://www.makebeliefscomix.com/ - (ages 4 and up) This website allows kids to make their own comic strips using pre-drawn characters. They fill in their own text bubbles. They can either e-mail the finished comic to their friends or print it out. It's free. We like free.
3. www.readwritethink.org/crossword - (ages 4-18) This site is a free crossword generator. The kids pick their own words and write the clues. The site sets it up. It can be printed right off your computer.
We actually went on the crossword puzzle website this afternoon. I must say that Isaac gave it a two thumbs up. He thought is was a lot of fun and really cool. He was actually excited about it. There were a couple of features that I really liked as a mom. First, you have the option of simply doing a crossword puzzle that they have on the site already or you can go straight to the creating your own part. Both of these features have age brackets that you can work within. If your youngster needs help in creating the clues for his puzzle - he can go and do a couple first to get a feel for it. There is also a hints and tips button at the bottom that he can click on if he's stumped. It will bring up a story about the puzzle's topic with the answers in bold print. I thought it was really a brilliant idea - mostly because I needed the help myself on some of the answers. Don't judge! You probably would have, too!
We are really looking forward to checking the other two sites out as well. Anything to make learning more fun is worthy of looking into in my book. Maybe I'll even have a go on tikatok.com myself and actually write this book I'm always talking about.
Happy writing adventures. Pam