Teaching Writing – some online resources

Teaching writing isn’t easy but despite being a “high order skill” it is an invaluable thing for any student who will work in an all English environment. Or for any second language speaker who’ll communicate online (or by snail mail – people still do that, you know!).

Fortunately there are many online sites to help teachers instruct and for students to visit and get much needed feedback and practice. Also, many sites which offer writing collaboration so that students can share their writing and teachers can monitor and offer advice/feedback.

Here are all my favorites which teachers teaching writing might find useful. Be sure to visit our writing center for many, many materials and ideas to help you….. Happy teaching and learning. Enjoy the discovery!

The Top 10 Writing focused websites for ELT

# 1 The Owl at Purdue Writing Lab

Long time, the “go to” site for teachers of writing. Visit the ESL writing section for valuable advice. Their powerpoint section offers many power points to inform instruction of all writing points.

#2 PBWorks Wikis

Writing online needs “a place” and PB Works offers the best wiki around (online writing collaboration and website editing . Simply sign up for a loaded free version and invite your students by email. Perfect for projects on any topic. Find out more about what a wiki is and how to use one, at Common Craft Plain English.

#3 Penzvu

Journals and diaries are cool to most kids. Penzu offers a real simple but attractive format where students can write and then send / share with their teacher or classmates. A perfect way to get students writing from prompts or sentence starters and getting them hooked on the writing habit! Take the tour here.

#4 Interactives Spelling Bee

Divided by grade level, students listen and spell parts of the story. An excellent dictation device for individual or even whole class practice.

#5 Listen and Write

Much like Spelling Bee, you can listen and write selected words from passages. Lots of precise feedback and very simple to use.

#6 Writeboard

A 37 signals collaborative writing product, Writeboard allows a teacher to create a class shared “bulletin board” or page. Students using a password can access and edit. Compare edits and see the differences in color. A great way for a teacher to edit student work and show the corrections! Also use Google Docs – http://docs.google.com and Show Document – http://www.showdocument.com/ds/main.jsf for collaborative writing.

#7 Dancing Mat Typing

Writing also means being able to type! The BBC offers the best online beginner site with a cool Scottish accent! Fun for kids. Bubbles is also a simple practice game – http://www.typingmaster.com/games/Bubbles.swf For higher level practice try
Type Racer or Barracuda

#8 Graphic Organizers
Graphic organizers (especially storyboards) are a great way to get students beginning to write. They are essential to the Prewriting stage and whether you just make your own with a blank piece of paper or use a designed version, they really help students organize and prepare for writing.

#9 The Tarheel Reader

Story writing and using narrative to practice writing is essential. The Tarheel reader provides powerpoints (click SET UP on any book) which students can then open (the teacher can just erase the existing writing) and write about, then present as a book to the class. Wonderful stuff!

#10 Comics – Read Write Think Comic Creator

Comics really get your students motivated to write. Read Write Think offers many resources but this one rocks! Students make their comic and then print out to share. Here’s another generator.


There are many other fine resources for writing. See my whole list here.

Also look at this blog for a lot more tools (online spell checkers / word counters / editors / dictionaries / thesauruses etc……. ). Lots there, just keep scrolling down.

Writing Websites for ELT.pdf

Story Frame Template.doc

Making A Mini comic book.pdf

Writing organizers.pdf

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Teacher trainer, technology specialist, educational thinker...creator of EFL Classroom 2.0, a social networking site for thousands of EFL / ESL teachers and students around the world.

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3 Responses

  1. Stephen says:

    I would like to recommend you also look at Zazew http://www.zazew.com for further development of your collaborative writing ideas. You can write, obtain peer group feedback and contribution as well as publish your work in ebook format.

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