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 tool 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.


Stellar program scaffolds the writing process with peer review and feedback

Bottom line: Research-based pedagogy and a highly scaffolded process make this tool highly desirable for teaching writing and peer review.


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 reader keeps kids actively, independently engaged

Bottom line: Far beyond the average e-reader, 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, build confidence

Bottom line: A flexible tool that -- with teacher guidance -- students can use for both quick fixes and more in-depth writing improvement.


Superb ELA/EL resource is a complete package

Bottom line: StudySync continues to thoughtfully grow its already robust platform, offering a complete secondary ELA/EL program that cleverly bridges reading and writing, online and offline work.

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