Common Sense


10 Best ELA Tools for Middle School

Middle school is the perfect time to ignite students' passion for reading and writing. These hand-picked ELA apps, games, and websites do just that, building on foundational elementary skills with readings that focus on compelling topics and writing opportunities that challenge students' thinking. Many of these tools also feature great support, offering students feedback on their grammar and writing while also offering teachers ways to personalize assignments (including picking the perfect text) and to grade and assess writing more easily. Finally, a couple of tools on the list encourage students to flex their creative skills and express their style through digital creation and online, peer-to-peer communities.

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Robust, full-featured reading app measures meaningful literacy gains

Bottom line: A powerful, well-designed literacy platform for developing engaged readers.


Absorbing daily news stories offer kids just-right learning content

Bottom line: Up-to-date, high-interest articles meet students right at their level: Use this robust tool to bolster students' nonfiction reading practice.


Smart writing platform places focus on feedback and revision

Bottom line: While there's some room for improvement, this tool is rock-solid pedagogically and can be the engine of your classroom's writing process.


Well-structured lessons encourage deep analysis, thoughtful writing

Bottom line: This is a ready-to-go, research-backed resource that focuses intently on CCSS-aligned and AP-level critical reading and writing skills.

Actively Learn

Empowering social ereader keeps kids actively, independently engaged

Bottom line: Far beyond the average ereader, this tool helps students connect and stay engaged while teachers easily measure progress.

NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program

Wildly engaging contest turns students into novelists in 30 days

Bottom line: A thoughtful adaptation of the famous and fun grown-up novel writing contest, NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program is brimming with advice and encouragement as well as classroom support.


Feature-rich literacy resource offers superb support for readers

Bottom line: Access a hefty collection of reliable, ready-to-print, leveled passages that allow you to tailor lessons, assign online reading, and track progress.

Mars Gen One: Argubot Academy

Hone powerful persuasive skills on a red-planet adventure

Bottom line: A visually appealing, pedagogically sound exploration of what makes a valid argument.


Helpful tips support the writing process and build confidence

Bottom line: A helpful site to check grammar and plagiarism, and a good tool for understanding errors and how to fix them.


Superb ELA resource has comprehensive coverage, tons of supports

Bottom line: StudySync offers a complete core literacy program for secondary schools making it easy to recommend, especially for teachers new to digital platforms.

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