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Top New Apps and Websites for Teaching Literacy

There is a WIDE variety of apps and websites available for literacy teachers. These are apps or websites being used by teachers just like you to encourage students to enhance their reading and writing skills. Check them out and be sure to comment below with how it went for you!


Writer Igniter

Random prompt generator that chooses a character, situation, prop and setting to write about. 

Pro:

This website is great for boosting creativity and challenging your students to think out of the box.

Con:

There's no way to save the prompt you generated so make sure to save your selections by writing them down or taking a screenshot.


Popplet

Create mind maps using photos and text.

Pro:

Great way to organize thoughts before writing, brainstorm new ideas or assess prior knowledge.

Con:

Only 5 popplets can be created for free. Also, students must use computers to create their free popplet because the app costs $1.99.


CiteLighter

Writing platform for students to create outline, find citations (if needed) and write their paper.

Pro:

The citelighter toolbar (free download) allows students to search through any website. Students highlight the piece they would like to cite and citelighter generates a citation in APA, MLA or Chicago format for their bibliography or reference page.

Con:

Students may need to be coached on how to use the app so I suggest a day in a computer lab modeling how to use it.

This is the outline created for a paper on the discovery of the cell theory. The information on the right under "captures" was a piece from a website that was highlighted using the citelighter toolbar. Students create their outline and add writing spaces to begin their writing for each piece of the outline, as you can see below the "hook" heading. 


Storybird

Create and share virtual short stories using Storybird's database of animations, images and templates.

Pro:

Great for project-based learning and for encouraging student expression and creativity. Create a class library and share student-work with parents.

Con:

You might have a hard time getting them to write with pencil and paper after they realize how fun Storybird is.


NewsELA

Provides daily news articles at five different reading levels. Writing prompts and short quizzes are available for each article as well. Articles range in subjects from science to law, or even war & peace.

Pro:

There is a large variety of articles that are engaging. This is great for accommodating to student needs, like ELL students, who can still participate and understand the content but may need a lower lexicon.

Con:

Lengths of the articles vary, so be sure to preview the article and assess the rigor before assigning to students.


LearnZillion

English language arts lessons and video lessons based on common core standards.

Pros:

The lessons are developed by fellow teachers and directly cover each standard within common core. The lessons include worksheets and/or resources for students to follow along as well.  

Cons:

The videos have great visuals and audio but it may be difficult to maintain student engagement throughout the entire video for some of them.

Click on the image to enlarge.

Click on the image to enlarge.


GoodReads

This is like a Pandora Music, but for books. You enter what books you enjoy and the website generates a list of books that meet your taste.

Pro:

No more "but I don't know what to read" or "there's nothing that interests me" excuses from your students. This helps them find books that they enjoy and encourages students to continue reading for fun.

Con:

Although the website offers book suggestions, it does not guarantee that the students will have access to the books. Teachers may need to help students locate the books in their library or purchase the book online.


Know of any other apps or websites for literacy? Comment below and share your thoughts and experiences.