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Practical Steps to Foster 21st Century Skills With Your Young Students

by Faye Valbert on October 17, 2016



Unleash Student Creativity and Develop Writing Skills With the Fun WriteReader Web App

As an educator, I’m always looking for tools to support students reading and writing skills. It’s important to foster students skills that 21st Century learners must develop including how to research, analyze, synthesize, collaborate, and produce work to share with a wider community. I was really excited to discover a learning tool that really supports these skills. WriteReader is a K-4 web tool that works well both as ELA and ELL.

This year my Special Monthly Synergy Club for K, 1st, and 2nd Graders at our school in North Carolina quickly learned how to use WriteReader.

They loved being able to select photos and write their own sentences. The nearly instant feedback with the teacher writing the correct version below their sentences made the students better writers and spellers as they continued their stories.

We all wrote on the same topic after a group vote…Dogs!


I was surprised by how my students wrote words that they sounded out that were beyond their spelling knowledge or ability. Knowing the teacher would help with spelling and grammar edits made the students more creative and feel safe exploring new words. They wrote more detailed, daring sentences.

Students couldn’t wait to write their next book AND to share our books with others. Parents and classroom teachers can read them as well.

Over the summer break several students asked to use WriteReader with their parents at home. When students want to “take it home”, you know their learning is real and engaging.

This school year, students in 1st and 2nd grade are starting the year with Becoming Authors! As the kindergarteners learn how to work with technology, they, too, will become authors as well.

The ease of starting their first book is an asset for this program to be used as early as Kindergarten. Students can insert pictures from Google or a set of photos the teacher has provided..

Also, the students can draw their own pictures in another drawing program and save them to a specific drive where they can insert their drawings into their story. Teachers can also scan the student actual hand drawn pictures for use as well.

For a great beginning project, students can research a specific topic, i.e., animals. Then, they can write sentences to show their research on the characteristics of that animal. Afterwards, they can insert photos or drawings demonstrating that they have understood those characteristics. Students can explore, engage with others, and create a group book as well.

Here’s one of the final products (click to open the PDF):



Click here to get started exploring WriteReader and get started with this classroom web app for free.



Faye Valbert teaches at Hillandale Elementary School in Durham, North Carolina

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