Combat the teacher texting blues with these sites that help students improve their writing skills.

by Lynda Scarrow

The write stuff for students


Outta Ray’s Head

Created by retired 30-year Ontario teaching veteran Ray Saetz, this quirky site includes a significant number of writing resources. Bare-bones design provides links to worksheets, lesson plans and writing assignments.



Bright colours, great games and fun animations make this a wonderful site for improving younger students’ spelling skills. I particularly like the hungry Spellasaurus – you have to be pretty quick at clicking on the letters to spell the words before he eats you. Use one of more than 800 spelling lists or generate your own custom lists, which are then incorporated throughout the games on the site.


Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL)

Purdue University’s writing lab provides well-organized access to more advanced writing resources. It includes extensive grammar exercises and lessons on sentence structure, tense consistency, style and paraphrasing. Be sure to check out the Teacher and Tutor Resources.


Wet Ink

There are a few places where young people can publish their work online, but this is one of the best, designed for ages 13–19. The writing itself is exceptionally strong. My only concern is that the writers’ biographical information is now in the public realm.


Chateau Meddybemps Story Starters

These story starters are a great way to help kids begin to write. Forty-eight free versions include Cat and Fiddle, Loose Monkeys, Tony and the Snakes, plus many more. An additional 50 or so are available for purchase. Chateau Meddybemps also publishes children’s writing. See the Young Writers Workshop for submission details and to read previous work.

(Graphic)National Novel Writing Month

In 2009, 35,000 young writers participated in National Novel Writing Month through their Young Writers Program. The goal is to write an entire novel in 30 days, beginning November 1.