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TOP PICKS | 19 TOOLS

Best Digital Library and Reading Apps and Websites

While nothing can quite replace the feel of a good paperback or the atmosphere of a library, students are increasingly looking to their phones and computers -- not to mention e-readers like the Kindle -- as their go-to reading devices. Digital library and reading apps and websites make it easier than ever to help students dive into text on their own terms and better understand what they're reading. These picks -- our favorite e-book and e-reading platforms -- let students browse libraries of text, read at their own pace and level, engage in discussions in the margins, or answer questions and prompts as they read to guide and gauge learning. Many also feature nice supports for teachers -- including assessments and progress tracking -- to help with classroom implementation.

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Bookshare

Unique digital library gives access to those with print disabilities

Bottom line: This fantastic digital library service provides a powerful sense of independence for students with print-related disabilities.

HOMER Stories: Kids Library

Entertaining stories offer handy extensions to HOMER reading

Bottom line: This versatile, story-based companion app to HOMER Reading connects kids to the written word, and shines best as a supplement.

Raz-Kids

Solid choice for leveled readings and progress-tracking

Bottom line: Trusty -- if a tad dated -- tool for helping younger students become proficient in many aspects of reading.

LeVar Burton Kids Skybrary School

Thorough lesson plans help teachers utilize an amazing digital library

Bottom line: Though it could use some updates, Skybrary School has a set of top-quality resources with great value worth checking out.

Lexia Reading Core5

Interactive reading program promotes targeted, individualized growth

Bottom line: A good blended reading platform that offers students some choices, and teachers actionable data and useful offline resources.

ReadingIQ

Great looking, free library has a reasonable diversity of titles

Bottom line: This is a reading app that focuses primarily -- and successfully -- on the reading; don't expect many bells and whistles though.

Rivet: Better Reading Practice

Free, leveled library has promise despite missing pieces

Bottom line: The free library of high-interest content is handy, but the lack of data and learning features will require supplements and supports.

Amazon Rapids

New way to engage reluctant readers can be a good short-term option

Bottom line: A fresh way to engage reluctant readers, but teachers will need to monitor comprehension and connect students to more complex texts.

Epic! - Unlimited Books for Kids

Free, expansive digital library unlocks treasure trove of books

Bottom line: This large collection of books and videos on a wide variety of topics is an easy -- and free -- enhancement to any classroom library.

LightSail

Robust, full-featured reading tool measures meaningful literacy gains

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

Newsela

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.

Accelerated Reader 360

Boundless, flexible tools promote instructional, independent reading

Bottom line: A stellar literacy platform for assessing student reading levels and promoting further reading.

Rewordify

Text-leveling tool gives every student access to complex readings

Bottom line: This utilitarian differentiation tool is useful enough to be in every teacher's toolbox.

ThinkCERCA

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.

CommonLit

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.

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.

Amplify Reading 6-8

Supplemental reading program puts sci-fi twist on core ELA concepts

Bottom line: This is a creative, thoughtfully built program that, while a bit contrived, could slot well into many classrooms with some scaffolding.

StudySync

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.

Serial Reader

Literary app chunks out classic texts for on-the-go reading

Bottom line: Useful if pedagogically limited option for teachers to introduce students to the classics, or prep for future units.

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