WORD PROCESSING FOR KIDS
We developed this program "WORD PROCESSING FOR KIDS" because we feel
that more than any other kind of program, a word processor can do much
to help children learn to communicate through the written word. While
those word processors developed for adults have the features required
for professional writing, they do not serve children. They simply are
much too complex. We undertook the task with the major design goals to
be that of simplicity while serving the needs of the target age group,
beginning writers. We think writing should be a fun experience for kids
opening up a whole new world of communicating in a new way. Everyone we
have shown it to, including the children who have tested it, were
enthusiastic about it. It can be used by very young children with but a
brief training period since it uses only a few keys. It uses the large
type font typically taught in school rooms today and so will be familiar
to the child.
We would like to make this program available to as many children as
possible. Therefore, we are making it available to you through the
freeware concept. Clubs and individuals are invited to copy and
distribute it. Share it freely with your friends and copy as many
personal disks for classrooms or your own personal use as you wish. We
do believe that a program of this quality would easily retail for about
$30 and feel justified in requesting a contribution of $10 if you find
it to be useful to your child. We do this for several reasons. First,
copy protection would nullify the usefulness of the program. Second,
you should have the chance to evaluate the software with your child
before you commit to its purchase. Third, personal computer educational
software should be supported by those who use it. Fourth, if the
response is satisfacory to us, we will make subsequent efforts available
in the same freely distributed way.
If you can't afford the ten spot or just want to use it without paying,
that's OK. Just make some copies and give them to some friends because
the more people that get it, the more opportunities there are for those
who might support such a distribution concept.
Finally, we are interested in hearing about your experiences with the
program. How effective is it in aiding children to learn to write?
What features should it have? How can it be improved? Drop us a line
with your contribution. We can not promise an answer because frankly we
do not know what we are getting into. We developed it in our free time
and as such have at least a 40 hour a week commitment.
Please drop a ten spot, a $10 check or money order to:
Sidney D. Nolte
13858 Peyton Drive
Dallas, Texas 75240
WORD PROCESSING FOR KIDS
TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION FOR THE PARENTS OR TEACHER.......................2
WHY A WORD PROCESSOR FOR KIDS?................................2
HOW TO CREATE A PERSONAL DISK.................................2
HOW TO GET THE PROGRAM STARTED................................3
THE MENU SCREEN...............................................3
THE WRITE OPTION..............................................4
THE OLD MENU.................................................4
THE NEW MENU.................................................5
HOW TO WRITE YOUR STORY.......................................5
MOVING THE CURSOR............................................5
THE INSERT KEY...............................................5
WHEN YOU ARE FINISHED........................................6
THE LIBRARY MENU..............................................6
THE PRINT MENU................................................7
THE DELETE MENU...............................................7
ENDING THE SESSION - QUIT.....................................7
A PRACTICE SESSION............................................8
INTRODUCTION FOR THE PARENTS OR TEACHER
This section is addressed to the parent or teacher. This program is
intended to be a first word processor for first writers, children who
are learning to write. The computer word processor has much to
contribute to this activity. It requires two skills for a child to
produce written text, the mental skills required to put ideas together
into complete sentences and the physical or motor skills necessary to
make the pencil move properly to produce the written page. Frequently
it is found that the motor skills are not sufficiently advanced for
successful writing. That's where the computer can help. The messy
paper syndrome is gone with a simple press of the delete key instead of
the eraser smudge. Writing can be fun when reduced to the mental
activity that it should be. This program was designed to make it fun
for kids to learn to write.
Like any computer program, it will take some familiarization for the
child to get used to it. This program has been designed to require a
minimum number of keys so that it is writing that is being learned and
not how to use the program. That's where you come in. It is suggested
that you first learn how to use the program so that you may lead the
child in its use. To do this, simply read these few pages and use the
program for a while so that you know how it works.
WHY A WORD PROCESSOR FOR KIDS?
Have you ever attended an open house at school where there are beginning
writers? You probably will see their very best pinned to the bulletin
board. Obviously with some labor and maybe a few eraser smudges, a
single sheet of lined paper presents a few simple ideas. That scene was
the inspiration for this program.
Most of us consider writing as an activity that will require several
passes to perfect the way we express thoughts in writing. A first draft
is prepared, marked for improvement and rewritten for another look.
Sometimes when the communication is very important, several passes are
made and each time there are improvements. Unfortunately, because of
the labor required, children can not regard writing as this kind of
activity. Their first draft is their last one. Word processors on a
computer help us to make the rewrites easier. This one will help the
child begin to regard writing as most of us do, an editing of previously
HOW TO CREATE A PERSONAL DISK
It is suggested that anyone using the program have a personal disk. The
disk should contain the system, the program, some examples and those
stories created by the person using it. You should save the original
disk in its original form so that at any time you can perform the
following procedure to make a new disk. First place the system disk,
the one that came with the computer marked DOS 2.0 into drive A, the
one on the left. The number should be at least as big as 2.0 because
the program uses some of the features not present in DOS 1.0. Place a
new and unused disk into drive B, the one on the right. In case you
have only one disk drive, you will get instructions as to how to
proceed. Now type:
and then press enter (the big key with the crooked arrow pointing left).
After some whirring and purring and everything calms down and you see A>
appear on the screen, insert this program disk into drive A: and type
COPY WPK.* B:
and again press enter. Then type
COPY *.WPK B:
followed by enter and you have a disk ready to use in drive B. Remove
it from the drive and find a sticky label and write the name of the
person who will use it and the name of the program, WPK. Now you are
ready to start having fun with it. Repeat this process each time you
wish to create another disk. You may want to do this because the old
one got damaged or it has gotten so full of stories that you want to
start another one. The program is simpler to use when there are but a
few stories on a disk and the program limits the number that will be
allowed. A message will be relayed to tell when this happens.
Now read along to find how to get the program started and to learn how
to use it. When you have finished learning yourself, use the new found
knowledge to get the child started. After a short session you will
agree that it's utter simplicity will allow independent activity to
proceed. Good luck!
HOW TO GET THE PROGRAM STARTED
Insert the personal disk, the one with your name and WPK written on it,
into disk drive A: (the one on the left if you have two or more and the
only one if you have one). Then type
then press enter (the big key with the crooked arrow pointing left).
The title screen will appear and the title song will play. It is fun
the first few times but after a while, you will get tired of it so just
press any key to put a stop to the song and to start the program.
THE MENU SCREEN
The MENU screen will appear next and everything you will want to do can
be done by selecting one of the six options listed on the menu screen.
The following sections address each of the options presented to you on
the menu screen and what can be accomplished with each of them. Before
we go on though, just a word about the menu screen itself. Options are
selected with the red thing which we will call the cursor. Press the up
or down arrow keys found on the right hand side of the keyboard pointing
up or down. You will see that the cursor moves in the indicated
direction. The space bar will also make the cursor move. When you have
stopped it on one of the six choices, the choice can be made by simply
pressing the enter key, (the one with the crooked arrow pointing left).
All important activity is available to you from the menu. When you are
in an activity and want to get to the menu, press the escape key, the
one with Esc written on it in the upper left hand part of the keyboard.
The menu will come up and you can write a new story or print out an old
one. Now lets go on and see what the options do for you.
THE WRITE OPTION
We will discuss the other five options later. Press the up or down
arrow keys (find them on the right of the keyboard?) until the red stops
on WRITE. Press the enter key. The WRITE menu will appear and another
decision is in order. Before we consider this decision however, press
the Esc key found on the upper left hand side of the keyboard. That key
takes you back to the MENU. The Esc key is always used to take you back
to the point from which you came. This is always the case even when you
are writing a story. Now go again to the WRITE menu by selecting that
option with the arrow keys and press enter.
On the WRITE menu you will see two choices, OLD and NEW. When you
choose OLD, it will mean that you want to add to or change an old story
that you created yesterday or this morning and it isn't finished yet.
When you choose NEW it will mean that you want to start an entirely new
one. It is important in either case that you know that every story has
a name. You can have several stories each with its own name. For a new
one, you will make up a very short name and for old ones, you will
choose one from the several you have worked on before.
THE OLD MENU
When the OLD option is selected, the OLD menu will appear. It directs
you to choose from the many stories you have already created or at the
very first, ones that were supplied for you on the disk. The old story
can be chosen by pressing the up or down arrow keys or for that matter
by simply pressing the space bar. When the cursor stops on the name of
a story you want to work on, press the enter key. Your story will
appear on the screen just as you left it. If you want to do that now,
go ahead. Just skip over reading about the NEW menu and go to the
section that tells about how to use the word processor. If you want to
see how the NEW menu works, just press the Esc key and you will find the
menu screen again.
THE NEW MENU
When you want to start an entirely new story, select NEW. It will give
you a completely clean sheet to start your work and to enter your words.
Before you can do that you will want to give your story a name. The NEW
menu gives you spaces to enter the name of the new story. Spell out the
name of the story so that it will fit into the spaces. It can not be a
very long name, just enough for the blanks provided or even shorter.
When you have done this, just press enter for your blank sheet to write
your story on. You can learn how to do this in the following sections.
Again at any time that you want to back out, just press Esc. That is if
you do not wish to name a new story but rather go back to the MENU
screen, just press Esc.
HOW TO WRITE YOUR STORY
When you are writing your story, you will notice that a red cursor is
always somewhere on the screen. Whenever you press any of the letters
or numbers on the keyboard, then that letter will appear where the
cursor is located and the cursor will move on to the next place that a
letter will be written. If you are working on an old story or a new
one, the cursor will be right where a letter will be written. If you
have a new story and nothing is on the screen at all except the cursor,
practice a little bit by entering a few words. It doesn't matter much
what you write just so you can see what will happen. Write a few words
on the screen so that you can work through some of the things that
you can do in the following sections.
MOVING THE CURSOR
The arrow keys pointing up, down, right, and left are used so that you
can control where you are writing. Press the arrow keys and notice that
the cursor will move in the direction of the arrow. Of course it will
not move past the end of your story or before the beginning, but it will
move to any point in your story. When you enter any letter or number
it will again be written right where the cursor is located and move on
to the place where the next one will be placed.
THE INSERT KEY
Notice that when you write, you have inserted the new letters between
the old ones that were already there. This will always happen when the
little message at the bottom of the screen "INSERT ON" is showing.
Press the insert key and notice that the message is not showing. This
means that now when you write, it will not be inserted between the old
letters in your story but will write right over the old ones. You can
have your choice when you want to insert a new sentence anywhere in your
story, place the cursor where you want to write the new words and just
write it in. If you want to write over a mistake with the right letter,
just press the insert key until the message is hidden and type the new
letter. Press the insert key several times to see that the message
switches back and forth from on to not on just as the insert will or
will not be done when you enter your letters.
You may want some other color scheme for your story. If you do, there
are four different color combinations for you to choose from. Just
press the F2 key for the next color set any time you are writing your
You may write your story with the large type or smaller type as you
choose. Simply press the F3 key at any time you wish to see your story
in the other size.
You will soon learn what keys you will need to write what you want where
you want it. Even so, you will not want to keep reading this paper
until you learn how to write your story. Whenever you want help in
remembering, it is right there for you to see. Simply press the F1 key.
You will see an explanation of how to use the cursor key on the first
help screen. Press any key to get the next help screen and you will see
how to use some of the fancier features of the program. Any key will
get you the next help screen telling about the insert and delete keys.
You do not have to look at all of the three screens if you have already
found what you need. Simply press Esc which will take you back to where
you were before you asked for help or back to your story.
WHEN YOU ARE FINISHED
You do not have to write the whole story at one time. Of course you
have put a lot of work into your story so you will want to save it to
finish it another time. It is easy. Just press the Esc key. You will
see the red light on the disk light up showing that your story is being
saved for some other time. You will see the menu again. You will want
to select STOP if you are through or WRITE if you want to work on
another story. If you press stop, the session is over and your story is
saved for another day under the name that you gave it when you started.
THE LIBRARY MENU
Sometimes you may just want to find out what stories you have saved.
When you do, you may select the LIBRARY option on the main menu. It
will simply show you all of the stories you have saved in your own
library of stories. If you are curious what a particular story is
about, you may select it by placing the cursor before its name and
pressing the enter key. The cursor can be moved by pressing the up and
down arrow keys or just by pressing the space bar. If you do not want
to see any of the stories press the Esc key to take you back to the main
THE PRINT MENU
If you want to see your story on paper, you may choose the PRINT option
from the main menu. Again, any story may be selected with the up or
down arrow keys or the space bar. When you have the cursor placed
before the one you want to see printed, press the enter key and it will
be printed for you. The story will be printed with the big letters just
as you wrote them. If you were writing your story and with the small
letters and then decided to print it, the printer will show the smaller
type on the printer.
THE DELETE MENU
When you have some old stories that you are no longer interested in,
they may be removed. Remember though that they will not be around any
more so do not delete any good stories. Select the DELETE option on the
main menu and you will see the names of all of your stories. Select the
one you want to delete by pressing the up or down arrows or simply the
space bar. The story will not be automatically deleted from your
library right away. Instead, it will ask you if you are sure just in
case you selected the wrong one. If you press Esc or select the NO
option with the cursor, no harm done. Only by selecting YES will the
story be deleted from your library of stories.
ENDING THE SESSION - QUIT
Writing is fun but we get tired of even fun things sometimes. When you
need a change, go to the main MENU by pressing Esc. Put the cursor on
the stop sign, the QUIT option and press enter. Your story is saved for
the next time.
A PRACTICE SESSION
One of the old stories on the program disk is called "PRACTICE". It
contains the following:
I see the dog.
Eye see the dog.
I C the dog.
I see the dob.
The object of this exercise is to make the last 3 sentences just like
the first one. This is done by correcting them by using the insert and
the delete functions.
Select the WRITE option from the main menu. Select the OLD option from
the write menu. Move the cursor to select PRACTICE from the OLD menu.
Now you will see the correct and the three incorrect sentences. Before
you correct them, to see how it all works, press Esc. You will then see
the main menu with the cursor on WRITE. Press enter and you will see
the cursor on OLD. Press enter and you will see the cursor on PRACTICE.
The program remembers where you were the last time you went to the main
menu. Press enter again to see the practice sentences.
Let us correct the second sentence by changing Eye to I. Press the down
arrow to bring the cursor under the E. Press the delete key three times
to erase the word Eye. Press the shift key and the letter I.
Now for the third sentence. Press the arrow keys until the cursor is
below the C. Type the word see and you have the word seeC. Press the
delete key and the third sentence is repaired.
The last sentence needs the letter b in the word dob changed to a g.
Put the cursor under that letter. Just to be different this time, press
the Insert key, the one with Ins written on it. The message at the
bottom of the screen is not there so the insert is off. Press the
letter g. When the INSERT ON message does not show, the letters write
over the old ones instead of being inserted there.
Press the F1 key to get the help screens. Press any key to get the
second and the third help screens. Press any key to get back to the
story. Press the F2 key to change the screen color. Press the F3 key
to get the small type. Press F2 and F3 several times to see how color
and size can change. Now that all four of the sentences are correct,
press Esc to save the corrections. Select the PRINT option from the
main menu and see the corrections printed.