KidWriter is an application designed for young children to be authors and write stories. KidWriter is a unique concept. KidWriter provides children between the ages of 3 and 7 with an uncluttered word processing interface to write their very own stories.
There are four modes in which the app can be used:
Picture Word Lists
A young child may not have the written vocabulary to be able to write a story. Using the picture word lists, the child can select the "words" they want to use in their story using picture clues. KidWriter offers a number of pre-stored picture dictionaries which display icons instead of words. Clicking the icon then inserts the word into their story for them.
Basic Word Lists
Once the child's understanding of written vocabulary increases, KidWriter can be changed to word list mode. The same bank of words can be accessed but instead of being displayed as icons, they are displayed as words. Each word can be clicked on to insert it into the child's story.
Personal Word List
Where a child might have words they're familiar with but have difficulty in initially spelling the words, these unique words can be added to the child's personal word list and this mode can be used instead. In this mode, the child can also access sentence starters to assist them in getting an idea in their story started.
The fourth mode offered in KidWriter is a child-oriented word processor complete with font choice, font size, font colour, and text alignment. This mode has been deliberately designed to be less cluttered or intrusive as an adult word processing app by providing the basics of what a child might need to write a story.
All options in KidWriter are individually customisable. An adult (parent/teacher) can define the defaults for all new authors accessing the app. Once the author has logged in, his or her personal defaults can be edited. This means that KidWriter can be customised for each individual child who uses it. In a classroom situation this means that the app can be differentiated depending on the needs of the child.
While KidWriter makes use of fun sound effects, these could become annoying in an open room situation, so sound effects, tool tips, and other options can be turned on or off. An adult can even elect to turn off access to printing. A password can be established to prevent young users from entering the setup area an inadvertently making changes.
KidWriter has been tested with a range of children aged 4 to 6, each of whom gave feedback about what they liked or what they thought could be better. Many of their ideas were taken on board in this release version of the app.
KidWriter is a fun and easy way for young children to start becoming authors and see their stories in print.
Additional support for KidWriter is available.