How to get started with the Writing Reviser Add-on for Google Docs

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I’m sure most students would agree that writing well—especially writing well for a variety of purposes—is not easy. On any given school day, a student might be asked to analyze a poem by Emily Dickinson, to construct a lab report following a science experiment, or to explain the historical importance of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Regardless of the task, student writers face the daily challenge of expressing themselves clearly and forcefully.  As Mark Twain noted, “To get the right word in the right place is a rare achievement.”

Here’s the good news: Curriculum Pathways now offers a free add-on that Google Docs users can install to help them revise and edit their writing. This SAS Writing Reviser add-on includes tools that help students make their sentences more economical, varied, powerful, and clear.

The Writing Reviser add-on in Google Docs.

There’s more good news: it’s easy to use. Just follow these steps:

  1. Install the SAS Writing Reviser add-on by following the instructions here.
  2. Once the add-on is installed, choose Open Writing Reviser from the add-on menu.
  3. If you do not already have your Google account associated with a Curriculum Pathways account, choose Sign Up and create one with your Google login information. Use the same account used  to log into Google Docs.
  4. Once you have a Curriculum Pathways account, you can select Log In and follow the instructions to approve the add-on.
  5. You will now be automatically logged in to the Writing Reviser add-on and can begin using the tools provided.

Of course, the SAS Writing Reviser add-on will not analyze the poem for the student, and it certainly won’t conduct the science experiment or evaluate Lincoln’s speech. But the tools will provide student writers with the information they need to begin to think like a professional writer and to express their thoughts more clearly and effectively. And they might just find that getting the right word in the right place will become an achievement that is not so rare after all.

Learn more about Writing Reviser - and how you and your students can use this powerful writing tool!

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About Author

Terry Hardison

Terry Hardison oversees the development of English language arts resources for Curriculum Pathways. Prior to joining SAS, Terry worked for 21 years as a teacher and as a district-level English language arts supervisor.

26 Comments

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    • Ralph Moore

      Great! The Writing Reviser Add-on is available right from Google Docs. Learn more about our more than 1,500 free English, math, science, social studies, and Spanish resources, tools & apps at sascurriculumpathways.com. And you can follow us on Twitter at @SASEducator and like us on Facebook. We love feedback and ideas!

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  4. Have started using Writing Reviser as an add-on to Google Docs, and like the tools it provides. Just curious as to why it requires students to verify that they are 18 years old in order to use it? It seems a bit counter-productive for educational purposes when many of our high school students are not yet 18. Many school districts have strict policies about using tools with age restrictions - and this useful tool doesn't seem like it should fall into that category!

    • Scott McQuiggan
      Scott McQuiggan on

      Hi James,

      I am sorry it has been difficult to add. Please contact us at curriculumpathways@sas.com and we will direct your issue to our support team. It will be helpful to know what hardware and in which browser you are experiencing this difficulty. From personal experience you might try a relaunching your browser (if you haven't already tried). We look forward to working with you to get Writing Reviser added on to your Google Docs.

      Thanks!
      Scott

  5. Could it be, perhaps, turned into an app for the browser, in order to make these tools available outside Google Docs? It would be really useful for other online editors, like Overleaf.com.

    • Ralph Moore

      That's such a good idea we already did it! The full suite of Writing Navigator tools - including Writing Reviser - are available for free as a Chromebook app, an iOS (iPad) app, and on the web at WritingNavigator.com. You can also access the Writing Navigator tools, and 1,700+ other K12 resources, at http://www.curriculumpathways.com. Let us know what you like, and what else you need! Feedback is critical to our development process!

  6. This looks amazing. Can you clarify, why it is free? I was searching to see if your company was non-profit, but couldn't figure it out. There is a concern in my district with companies that sell student data, after having access to it. Thank you in advance, for addressing our concerns.

    • Ralph Moore

      Not at this time. But you never know what the future holds. Thank you for asking. Feedback and questions drive our development of new resources and features!

  7. I am a science teacher and would like to help my students write in APA style. They have used MLA style writing in English and social studies, but writing in APA is completely different. Would this program help them? In science, passive voice is what's most commonly used.

  8. Tim McBride

    We do NOT make a fetish of using active voice. We point out that there are many occasions when it is preferable (i.e., when the person or thing acted upon is the primary focus). The passive "His face was covered with sores" or "Miles Davis is adored by his fans" are both preferable to the active voice versions of these sentences. Our aim is to teach the student how to recognize passive and active verbs and how to decide which best suits her rhetorical purpose--rather than blindly choosing one or the other. We have lesson that encourages the student to use both. In other cases the same is true. We want students to ask themselves the questions experienced writers ask automatically. We don't present a simplified, schoolmarm approach saying "this is right and that is wrong." We recognize the writing is more complex than that. Hope that helps. Thanks for your note.

  9. Craig Steenstra on

    Some teachers I support have expressed concern about student privacy with using this add-on. Is it FERPA and COPPA compliant? It is concerning that the add-on can access students' Google Drives so intrusively.

    • Ralph Moore

      Hi Craig - We appreciate your important question. As an organization we are not held accountable for FERPA but we provide support for schools/districts complying with FERPA. We do fully comply with COPPA and that is the reason for prompting students for their age (not because there’s an age restriction on any of our materials). While COPPA only requires parental consent for students 13 and under, we are more conservative and we prompt for parental consent for students under 18.

      Please let me know directly if you have further questions or concerns. And let us know how your teachers and students are using Writing Reviser - and what else they need!

      Ralph
      ralph.moore@sas.com

  10. Laura Bahlmann on

    I learned about this add on through a PD class I am doing. It looks great for many uses. I would like to see a version that can be used with elementary school children. Good writing skills are so weak and not being taught. This would be a terrific resource if geared to our beginning writers.

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