Our 5 Best Apps for Perfect Prose

It's frustrating when a pupil has a struggle getting down onto paper the wonderfully imaginative writing that's in their head. It's enough to turn pupils off writing if they feel unable to move forward because they are held back by the conventions of writing.

Apps and online resources offer a real solution to many children for whom the writing experience can be chaotic, and can help them produce writing that truly reflects the perfect prose inside their head. Although apps are not a quick fix, they offer a way for children to practise in a safe, fun and interactive way - often times self-correcting and learning from their mistakes. Whilst other apps can also provide a class-based tool for children who might otherwise find day-to-day writing a huge challenge.

Dictionary Pro

( Android - £2.49 )

Commonly known as the world’s most comprehensive dictionary. You can use the dictionary and encyclopaedia in 14 languages (English, Spanish, French, German, Mandarin, and Russian amongst others). This is an excellent “wiki” style resource which can act as a reference app in order to encourage fresh connections between ideas, experiences texts and words. The app can serve as dictionary, thesaurus, translation tool and encyclopaedia.

There are also a few games within the app that pupils may like to play in order to expand their vocabulary and spelling. Encouraging pupils to use it as a resource to begin searching for things would be an interesting activity for the classroom or homework.

Word Game SMART Vocab Builder

( Android - Free , iPad - Free )

This app aims to help extend the user's word knowledge whilst also helping them to understand the meaning of certain key terms such as antonyms, synonyms as well as compounding their knowledge of comprehension.
 
The app gives you a number of different options to choose from upon opening and these are aimed at giving the user a number of different ways to access the game with slightly different challenges for each. There are two main game play modes; ‘Solo’ and ‘Hands Free’ as well as two different challenge options available through ‘Game On’ and ‘Duel’. 
 
The user also has the option to play a duel or against another competitor. This competitive edge allows the user to test out their skills and abilities against someone else and will help users to stay engaged in the game for longer, which in turn will help them to improve their acumen in terms of word knowledge and their breadth of vocab.
Phonics Spelling Dictionary - Biff, Chip and Kipper

( iPad - £4.99 )

This app is linked with the Oxford Reading Tree from OUP so already you would expect it to not only be an extremely well put together app but one that also works well in its aims to help young children read. It certainly doesn’t disappoint in this either. The style of app is very in keeping with the popular Biff, Chip and Kipper books so immediately young children will be engaged with the app through its friendly appearance which are just like one of the books.

On opening the app the user can choose from three different options; Dictionary, Spelling Tests and My Words. There is also an option on this front page to enter the adult menu. On this page it gives further information about a number of different things including what synthetic phonics is and why the app uses this to help young children learn how to read. 

Handwriting Without Tears: Wet-Dry-Try for Capitals, Numbers & Lowercase

( iPad - £3.99 )

Based on the popular Handwriting Without Tears program, Handwriting Without Tears: Wet-Dry-Try Suite for Capitals, Numbers & Lowercase (Classroom edition) the app, is a great supplement to the hands-on resources and workbooks from HWT program. The consistent language used for the last 30 years in HWT will be familiar for many.  As part of its multi-sensory experience, the handwriting program also uses a chalkboard and the Wet-Dry-Try method to teach children how to write. This app is a virtual adaptation of this popular handwriting system.
 
It is a wonderful and engaging application and a must have for children who find handwriting frustrating.
 
Punctuation

( Android - £1.50 , iPad - £1.49 )

‘Punctuation’ by Daydream Education is a comprehensive app that focuses on the use of a wide variety of punctuation marks. It is a fantastic resource that can be used to help children learn about punctuation marks and practise using them. The punctuation marks include: full stops, question marks, exclamation marks, commas, apostrophes, speech marks, brackets, dashes, colons, semicolons, bullet points and hyphens. It has achieved 5 stars in our Certification.

 
What we really like about this app is its attention to detail, making it a very comprehensive resource. For example, the material for question marks provides examples of a variety of question types including yes/no, either/or, closed and open questions. Likewise, the material for commas explains how they can be used to separate items in a list, as well as being used to break up large sentences and separate extra information in sentences. In addition, the apostrophe material explains the difference in usage between ownership and omission. These are all highly useful features for anybody wanting to learn more about punctuation.