5 Apps to Encourage Reading Over the Winter Break

December 16, 2013
Ellen Holderman
Common Sense Education

CATEGORIES Out-of-School Learning, Parents and Families, Tools, Students

With students heading home for the holidays, there will be plenty of time between shopping, feasting, and hanging out with family and friends to settle down with a good book -- or perhaps this year, a good ebook. In fact, if there's any travel involved, there may be hours in the car, plane, train, or airport, when students are hungry for an activity that will stretch their brains for awhile. To help your students stay engaged this holiday, here are five great reading apps and games perfect for tablets and even smartphones.

Photo by Blake Flickinger.


Teens learn by reading books, then forming and sharing opinions in an online setting. By engaging in friendly discourse about books, they'll learn communication skills. They'll be proud to add newly read books to their own online library and talk about their favorites with peers. Read full review.

The Learning Network
The Learning Network is a blog-style website that features New York Times news content. With some guidance, kids can explore and follow and read news articles that interest them. It's a great app to build reading habits by having kids follow current stuff on their favorite topics. Read full review.

Professor Layton and The Curious Village
Professor Layton and the Curious Village is a good, engaging app during the winter break because it's an incredibly fun game, with tons of tricky puzzles that help with analytical skills, and has a good amount of reading as well. And since it's a DS game, kids will love it and it won't feel like schoolwork but a gift. Read full review.

Subtext might be the digital reading resource of your dreams. Parents can read a book first and annotate it, or read along with kids and annotate together. It's for tablet only, so parents and kids would need to share one device, but it allows a-temporal dialogue and interaction since parents could leave a note that kids see later during their reading time. Read full review.

The Sports Network 2
The Sports Network 2 is set in the bustling context of cable sports news, but it's a reading game at heart. It can be used to build reading comprehension, teach core critical and evaluative reading skills, and/or as an introduction to the professional workplace. Read full review.

What apps do you use that help students stay engaged during school breaks? Sign in to comment below.