TOP PICKS | 22 TOOLS

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 ebook 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.

MamaLingua Go!

On-demand digital Spanish library adds variety to classroom selections

Bottom Line: The sequence of books exploring concepts and vocabulary in Spanish are useful, but a tutorial would help users take full advantage of the resources.

Grades: K–3
Price:
Paid

Lexia Core5 Reading

Blended reading program offers individualized growth

Bottom Line: This is a research-backed blended reading platform that builds literacy skills and helps teachers plan and deliver targeted instruction in the classroom.

Grades: Pre-K–5
Price:
Paid

Raz-Kids

Leveled readings with progress-tracking enhances differentiated reading program

Bottom Line: It's worth considering as a supplement to your reading program thanks to the good variety of leveled books, easy assigning and assessing, and detailed progress reports.

Grades: Pre-K–5
Price:
Free to try

BOOKR Class

Animated reading app merges text, audio, graphics, and games

Bottom Line: Narration, visuals, chunked text, and interactive assessments entice developing readers and ELLs to engage with content.

Grades: Pre-K–12
Price:
Free to try

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.

Grades: Pre-K–12
Price:
Free, Paid

MyON

Flexible e-reader features offline reading, solid audio

Bottom Line: A good tool for giving kids access to a wide range of books, though it's best used with teacher (and parent) guidance to promote a more active reading experience.

Grades: Pre-K–12
Price:
Paid

Skybrary for School

Thorough lesson plans help teachers utilize an amazing digital library

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

Grades: K–3
Price:
Free to try

Epic! - Kids' Books and Videos

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.

Grades: K–5
Price:
Free, Free to try

Headsprout

Detailed, adaptive literacy program goes from basics to analysis

Bottom Line: This is a comprehensive resource that's worth a look for teachers needing help getting students to actively engage with reading material.

Grades: K–5
Price:
Free to try

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.

Grades: K–5
Price:
Free, Free to try

Learning Ally Audiobooks

Digital library offers handy supports for readers

Bottom Line: This is a great option for students that need extra support, and, while the library is smaller than competitors, the human-voiced narration is a serious upgrade.

Grades: K–12
Price:
Free, Free to try

LightSail

Powerful, flexible reading tool measures meaningful literacy gains

Bottom Line: A powerful literacy platform for developing and empowering readers, with useful customization features for both teachers and students.

Grades: 1–12
Price:
Free to try

Newsela

Great stories, just-right leveled reading; now mostly by subscription

Bottom Line: Up-to-date, high-interest articles will meet students right at their level, and help teachers bolster students' nonfiction reading skills.

Grades: 2–12
Price:
Free, Paid

Accelerated Reader

Boundless, flexible tools promote instructional, independent reading

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

Grades: 3–12
Price:
Paid

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.

Grades: 3–12
Price:
Free

ThinkCERCA

Structured literacy program inspires deep analysis, thoughtful writing

Bottom Line: This is an expertly scaffolded and pedagogically sound resource for developing critical reading and writing skills.

Grades: 3–12
Price:
Paid

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.

Grades: 3–12
Price:
Free

Actively Learn

Empowering reader invites students to read with purpose

Bottom Line: Far beyond the average e-reader, this tool helps students connect with texts and each other while giving teachers useful insight into student thinking.

Grades: 3–12
Price:
Free, Paid

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.

Grades: 6–8
Price:
Paid

Literal

You've never seen literature like this (and your students might just love it)

Bottom Line: A compelling twist on classic lit that could be a great tool to get students interested in reading classic literature.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free to try

StudySync

Superb ELA resource features engaging activities, stellar support

Bottom Line: An exceptional, ever-growing resource for helping your students become close readers, careful writers, and critical thinkers.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free to try

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.

Grades: 9–12
Price:
Free, Paid

More Top Picks for You

  • Websites for Reading, Literacy, and Math Games

  • Resources for Close Reading and Literary Analysis Lessons

  • Digital Tools for School Libraries and Media Centers