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Copyright 2006 Julie Shepherd Knapp
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Copyright 2006 Julie Shepherd Knapp.  All rights reserved.
about the book
The Homeschool Diner's Guide to
Homeschooling Special Situations
Language Arts for Homeschoolers
Writing Resources


Creative Ideas and Free Online Resources
for Writing

by Julie Knapp, copyright 2005

Writing assignments don't have to be boring.  If you’d like to provide fun,
inspiring writing ideas for your child, the Internet is a great place to
start.  You can find free tutorials, clever ideas, fun writing prompts,
enrichment activities, and creative inspiration.  Check out a few of these
fun and educational websites…  


Wacky Random Headline Generator -- click to make a weird
headline, then write your own news story to match it ;-)
Fortune Cookie Story Prompts -- use the fortune to inspire a story,
news article, song, or poem (from Bruce Van Patter)

Shape-Book Patterns -- dozens of boldly outlined printable shapes,  
choose with or without guide lines, great for descriptions, listing nouns
or other parts of speech, or poems, free  

Postcard Creator -- from Read Write and Think, a free online activity
that allows students to type addresses and messages onto a blank
postcard format, then print it out, color or decorate, for older kids, you
could use the postcard to generate story ideas

Grow Your own Story from the BBC -- Pre-K and up, a free online
activity, "grow" a story by choosing from several plot options as a plant
grows, student must print out and finish story on their own, reading skills
not really needed because story is read to you as it develops

Writing Fix: Right-Brained Writing Prompts -- fun activities and
creative ideas for right-brained writers
Writing Fix: Left-Brained Writing Prompts -- fun activities and
creative ideas for left-brained writers

PIZZAZ !... People Interested in Zippy and ZAny Zcribbling --
creative writing and storytelling ideas
Let's Get Creative! -- free online web activities from author Bruce Van
Patter, many ideas and prompts to spark imaginative writing and thinking

Wordle -- enter text that you've written or copied and generate a
"cloud" of words, with more frequently used words larger that the others
(fun way to show a preponderance of "nice" or "really" or "cool" ;-)

All You Need to Know About Cartooning -- cartoons are a great way
to express humor, tell stories, or work thru issues -- also take a look at
Make Beliefs Comix! -- free online comic-maker, choose from several
pre-made characters, choose the mood of the character (happy, sad,
mad, surprised), and type words into "bubbles" to make a comic/story
Create a Comic Strip -- from Hasbro MonkeyBar, scroll down to Comics
KaBoom! -- a dictionary of comic book words as sound effects ... and
now, a
little comic book humor

Write a Travel Brochure -- a great option to writing a factual report on
a place... but also think of creative alternatives, such as a brochure for
a different time or historic event, for space travel, or from the point of
view of an animal, bug, or germ ;-)

Book Report on Peter Rabbit by the Charlie Brown Gang
The Book Report Sandwich Maker from Scholastic -- an interactive,
fun way to write a tasty report, free
Thirty-Four Alternatives to Traditional Book Reports -- fun and
creative ideas for all ages
Traci's Lists of Ten -- great ides for writing projects (more creative
than plain old reports)

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) -- an international
writing challenge to write an entire novel in just 30 days, starting
November 1st :-)  Here are some printable workbooks to get your
elementary to highschool students psyched up for writing a novel --

Young Novelist Workbooks
(they take a few minutes to open up) .
Cure NanoWriMo's writer's block! by Language is a Virus -- writing
games and gizmos to inspire creativity
Script Frenzy is an international writing event, like NaNoWriMo, but  
participants write a script during the month of April

ReadWriteThink Printing Press -- an free, onlne, guided interactive
tool for creating and printing out a brochure, newspaper, booklet, and
flyer, several other writing activities available, too

Writing With Writers Workshops from Scholastic -- free online
tutorials on different kinds of writing, includes news, folktales, book
reviews, biography, science writing, etc., messages and tips from
professional writers provide inspiration

Favorite Poem Project -- 50 videos documenting and encouraging
poetry’s role in Americans’ lives.

Science Writing -- what is it and how is it different from other writing?  
includes several fun ways to incorporate science writing projects
Neuroscience for Kids Writing Projects -- lots of clever ideas for
writing about brains and the nervous system

Better Fonts -- over 10,000 free fonts, great for poetry and prose!
Online Slang Translator -- convert English to IM text language, see if
you can write a story using only IM ;-)

25 Funniest Analogies from Student Writers
RIF Reading Planet Game Station -- free online spelling and writing
games, sign up then it is free
Storytelling Activities from Story Arts -- can be used as pre-writing
exercises and to generate ideas for written stories

5-Card Nancy -- create picture stories from cut-up Nancy cartoons
Hula as a Literary Experience... by Vanessa Maañao

The Five Paragraph Essay Slide Show -- amusing show and tell for
the 5 paragraph essay
Five Paragraph Essay Model -- and example essay and outline, with
each element in a different color
SAT Essay Prep Course-- very helpful free online course
SAT Essay Writing Part 1 -- free video on YouTube explains strategy
and walks thru writing an essay

Silva Rhetoricae: The Forest of Rhetoric by Brigham Young
University -- examines the art of effective writing and speaking,  "...a
discipline for training students 1) to perceive how language is at work
orally and in writing, and 2) to become proficient in applying the
resources of language..."

Get Writing! -- free online mini-courses, tips, contests, inspiration for
young writiers of all genres, from the BBC

The Slam by Cricket/Cicada Magazines -- a place for teens over 14
to submit creative writing for general peer review
**parents should pre-read entries on this website for appropriateness**  

WordSmiths -- an anthology of teen writing on the web, from the NY
Public Library, accepted submissions are featured for 1 month
**parents should pre-read entries on this website for appropriateness**  

FanFiction -- fiction written about characters or settings from published
works by someone other than the original author, usually not authorized
by the author and not sold for profit, considered an outlet for the
storytelling tradition "... in a system where contemporary myths are
owned by corporations instead of owned by folk..."  A popular one for
those 14 and up is
MuggleNet Fan Fiction  a Harry Potter FanFic
site,  **parents should pre-read all fan fiction for appropriateness**   
there can be mature content -- which is supposed to be flagged with  
*Warnings* -- but I advise pre-reading and printing out those that you
find appropriate for your particular child

Language Construction Kit -- for creating your own artificial language
(for fantasy novels, games, etc)

Starship Dimensions by Jeff Russell -- compares relative sizes of
fictional starcraft to each other, The Hindenburg, Eiffel Tower, Apollo
craft, etc., inspiration for sci-fi writing

Lesson plans on
Code Writing and Code Breaking


Related Issues
The Code of the Debater: Introduction to the Way of Reason by
Alfred C. Snider, University of Vermont -- a free online text that covers
basic debating skills from
Debate Central,

What Are the Progymnasmata?--preliminary rhetorical exercises that
introduce students to basic rhetorical concepts and strategies.

For more writing prompts and other writing resources check out
Writing Programs, Curriculum, and Creative Alternatives

Need some help with a reluctant writer?  Check out
Homeschooling Reluctant Writers and
Children Who Hate to Write

For more language arts resources, go to
Language Arts for Homeschoolers
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gifted
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writing resources
"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood
and don't assign them tasks and work,
but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea."
-- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author and aviator