• strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/active5/public_html/drupal6_multisite/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 906.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/active5/public_html/drupal6_multisite/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 607.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/active5/public_html/drupal6_multisite/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 607.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_boolean_operator::value_validate() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::value_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/active5/public_html/drupal6_multisite/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter_boolean_operator.inc on line 159.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_style_default::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/active5/public_html/drupal6_multisite/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_style_default.inc on line 24.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/active5/public_html/drupal6_multisite/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 134.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/active5/public_html/drupal6_multisite/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 134.

Use of Word Processor

Using a word processor for writing activities has a moderate to high effect on improving student writing depending on the skills of the writer.  Students who struggle the most with writing will have the greatest improvement by using a word processor. The benefit for all students is seen in a variety of ways.

“Documents students produce with word processors tend to be longer in length, contain fewer mechanical errors, and to be better overall quality than handwritten compositions.” Additionally, “Teachers report that when students compose using word processors, time spent on task and engaged writing and revision time, as well as the amount of text written increases.”

“Using Technology to Build Independence in Writing for Student With Disabilities”
Preventing School Failure
Donna Montgomery

Word processors have the highest effect rate if parents teach strategies for using the features available in the word processing software. 

Spell Check

Students often have difficulty with the spell check feature on word processors.  The spell checker can miss homonyms (son, sun), or assume a word is spelled incorrectly when in reality it is spelled correctly.  Students occasionally are unable to select the correctly spelled word from the suggested list due to their weak skills in this area.

When using Spell Check, bear in mind that the programs do not work phonetically.  Rather, spell checkers search for words beginning with the same letter as the student has typed. Encourage the writer to think of other phonetic spellings for the sounds they hear in the word.  For example, if a student types “fon” attempting to type “phone,” most spell checkers will not offer any words starting with “ph.”

PDF handout - Using Spell Check Strategy

Grammar Check

Many word processing systems have grammar checks features built into them. Like spell checkers, grammar checkers may miss student grammar errors and/or may highlight errors that are simply style choices of the writer.

A key to understanding the word processor’s grammar check is to learn the terminology it utilizes. I suggest a parent sit alongside the student as they run a grammar check on their writing. Parents can assist students by explaining terms they encounter when using the grammar check.

Referencing a grammar handbook may become necessary.  Parents should not shy away from helping their student if they don’t immediately know the answer themselves. Purdue University offers an extensive resource at their Online Writing Lab – Purdue OWL. Their resources on grammar are extensive. Parents can assist students in researching problem areas highlighted by the grammar checker. This is an excellent way to incorporate grammar study with student writing. Lessons are immediately applicable to the student’s writing thus making the time spent much more productive than any other sort of grammar study.

Grammar Traps: A Handbook on the 20 Most Common Grammar Mistakes and How to Avoid Them by Stephen Dolainski is another great resource for homeschool parents needing to brush up on their own understanding of grammar.  

Additional Resources

Besides the features built into word processing programs, two additional programs might benefit student writing, especially for the weaker writer.


Sonlight, a respected homeschool curriculum company, endorses Inspiration for students grade 6 and above. This organization program, and Kidspiration for K-5 students, moves students from brainstorming to drafting.

Word Prediction:

Originally created for students with severe disabilities, Co:Writer6 decreases the demand for writing and spelling skills. The program also provides grammar assistance and help with mechanics.