Help For The Reluctant Writer

Sorting through the avalanche of software that purports to help students can be overwhelming.   There are two award-winning literacy support products that have been around for a while and actually can help, particularly for students who have a hard time organizing their thoughts and transferring that organization to paper.  Inspiration combined with Read & Write Gold can greatly reduce frustration in several types of writing assignments.

Mindomo, a mind-mapping tool, provides graphic organizers for nearly any type of writing assignment – an autobiography, a biography, a book report, a compare-and-contrast essay, a scientific report, etc. Through an array of diagrams and templates, Mindomo first helps students (particularly reluctant writers) to organize their thoughts and their information into categories. With the tap of a key that data can then be transformed into an outline or sequence. The student is then ready to write the first draft.  The program also helps a student actually see relationships between various elements, which is particularly helpful when the assignment involves analysis, as in a book report. (

Read & Write Gold has a wealth of features for people with learning weaknesses, but the Study Skills set of tools is of most value to the reluctant writer.  With it, the student can easily highlight and extract texts and move them to a Word document. So when the frustrated student with relative weak fine motor skills is faced with the tedious task of highlighting and /or copying citation after citation from a document or website, this program simplifies the process. The program is particularly useful in categorizing text and collecting it to create an outline or finished assignment. Read & Write Gold shifts the focus from the mechanics to the writing, pure and simple. (

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