Software Programs for Kids With Writing Issues

By The Understood Team
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Kids with writing issues like dysgraphia often struggle to express their thoughts in written form. The physical act of writing can be difficult for them, too.

There’s a range of assistive technology software that can help, however. These software programs help kids to create legible text, organize their thoughts, make word choices, spell words correctly, and catch some of the errors they make while writing. Most of them offer several tools that help with writing, such as:

  • Dictation (voice-to-text) to type out what a child says

  • Text-to-speech (TTS), which helps by reading back what’s been written

  • Word prediction, which predicts what a child is trying to write and helps correct spelling

  • Spell-check

  • Grammar checker

  • Electronic graphic organizers, which can help kids organize their thoughts into writing

  • Different types of dictionaries and thesauri (some allow kids to look up words with sound or pictures)

  • A floating toolbar that lets the software program interact with other programs

Software programs may also offer other features that can help kids with reading, organization and studying.

Here are software options to consider. Most of them run on both macOS and Windows.

Program and Price Key Features Software Experience
Clicker 7: $495 (Mac or Windows)
  • TTS
  • Word prediction
  • Spell-check
  • Grammar checker
  • Graphic organizers
  • Talking dictionaries

The program’s tools are aimed at grade-schoolers.

Voice Notes lets kids rehearse and record what they want to say before writing it.

With the TTS:

When a sentence is typed, the program reads the entire sentence aloud using kids’ voices. Words are also highlighted as they’re typed.

With the word prediction:

Kids can choose words and phrases from pre-selected lists that are presented as word banks (called “Clicker Sets”).

With the graphic organizers:

The program lets kids create mind map diagrams and visual organizers.

Co:Writer: $4.99/month to use the software on both Mac or Windows
  • TTS
  • Word prediction
  • Topic dictionaries (word banks)

The program syncs with its mobile app and Chrome versions.

With the TTS:

This program reads aloud each word and sentence as it’s typed in. This is an enhanced way to use TTS.

With the word prediction:

The program uses its special topic dictionaries to help predict words in different subjects.

Dragon, professional version (formerly Dragon NaturallySpeaking): $300 (Mac or Windows)

  • TTS
  • Dictation

With the dictation:

The Dragon dictation function is known for its accuracy. It can adapt to how a child speaks. (Keep in mind that no dictation tool is perfect, though.)

The program can turn audio files into text.

Kids can edit their work by voice using dictation commands like “delete” and “capitalize.”

Ghotit Real Writer & Reader: $199 (Mac or Windows)
  • TTS
  • Word prediction
  • Spell-check
  • Grammar checker
  • Talking dictionary

With the grammar checker:

After they write, kids can get suggestions on how to fix grammar errors.

Inspiration: $39.95 (Mac or Windows)
  • Graphic organizers

With the graphic organizers:

The program helps kids create many types of graphic organizers, such as mind map diagrams. Kids can choose from 100+ templates for different types of writing.

The “RapidFire” brainstorming tool allows kids to quickly add ideas and sub-ideas to a mind map without worrying about the formatting.

The program can automatically convert a diagram to a map or outline form.

This program really focuses on helping kids organize their thoughts. It can walk kids through the writing process, from brainstorming to outlining to writing a first draft.

Kurzweil 3000: $1,395 (Mac or Windows)

(It’s available at a big discount if your school is a Kurzweil customer.)

  • TTS
  • Word prediction
  • Graphic organizers and writing templates
  • Talking and picture dictionaries
  • Thesaurus

With the TTS:

The program reads aloud text as it’s typed. The TTS works in multiple languages and translates to any Google-supported language. Kids can also choose from more than 30 voices.

With the word prediction:

The program predicts words based on frequency of use. It also offers lists to help kids with choosing words.

With the dictation:

Kids can combine the dictation tool with word prediction when writing. As they speak words to write, the program suggests words for them to use.

With the graphic organizers:

Kids can organize their thoughts with mind maps. They can look at their outlines and at what they’re writing at the same time.

In addition to these writing tools, Kurzweil includes many other features for reading, studying and organization. Extensive note-taking tools for reading can also help with writing.

Microsoft Learning Tools: Free (Windows)

(This set of tools can be used with Microsoft OneNote, Word, Outlook and the Edge browser.)

  • TTS
  • Dictation
  • Spell-check
  • Grammar checker
  • Picture dictionary

With the TTS:

With the Immersive Reader, one of the learning tools, kids can listen to text read aloud in several Microsoft applications. Words are highlighted as they are read aloud, making it easier for kids to proofread and edit.

Microsoft Word also has a basic “Read Aloud” feature that highlights and speaks text.

With the dictation:

There’s a helpful dictation tool in Microsoft OneNote, Word and Outlook. Kids with writing issues can use this tool to speak words, instead of typing them.

With the spell-check and grammar checker:

Microsoft applications have a spelling and grammar editor with built-in read-aloud technology.

With the picture dictionary:

When kids click on a word within the Immersive Reader, they can hear the word read aloud and see a picture of what it means. This is in addition to the standard dictionary and thesaurus tools already in Microsoft Word.

Read&Write (formerly called Read&Write Gold): $145/year (Mac or Windows)
  • TTS
  • Word prediction
  • Spell-check
  • Verb checker
  • Talking and picture dictionary
  • Floating toolbar

With the verb checker:

Kids can use the program’s verb checker to figure out the right tense of a verb.

With the talking and picture dictionary:

Kids can hear definitions of words read aloud with TTS. They can also see images of those words to help them understand the meanings.

In addition to the spell-check, the “Sounds Like and Confusable Words” tool lets kids check documents for mistakes involving words that sound alike but are spelled differently.

The program also has several tools to help with reading issues.

WordQ+SpeakQ (Windows only): $279

WordQ with word prediction only (Windows or Mac): $199

  • TTS
  • Dictation
  • Word prediction

With the dictation and word prediction:

Kids can use these one at a time. Or they can switch back and forth and use both in the same document.

Wrise: $59.99 (Mac only)
  • TTS
  • Word prediction
  • Spell-check

With the TTS:

The program reads aloud text as it is typed.

Software programs offer kids with writing issues a wide range of tools. (They come in a wide range of prices, too.) Explore free online tools that can help with writing. You can also look into assistive technology that’s built into mobile devices. And for a free low-tech tool, download some of our graphic organizers.


Price and availability may vary but were accurate as of July 12, 2018. Understood does not endorse or receive financial compensation for the sale of any of these products.

About the Author

About the Author

The Understood Team 

is made up of passionate writers, editors, and community moderators. Many of them learn and think differently, or have kids who do.

Reviewed by

Reviewed by

Jamie Martin 

is an assistive technology specialist at the New England Assistive Technology Center (NEAT) in Hartford, Connecticut.

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