Common Sense


ELA Products Aligned to Common Core Standards

The Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts are designed to prepare students for success in life by the time they graduate from high school. These tools will help students develop skills like phonics, text analysis, and supporting arguments with evidence, which will help them collaborate and communicate in their future careers. From vocabulary building to reading comprehension to writing clearly, you'll find terrific apps and websites that match the standards that are most relevant and useful to you and your students.

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Top Picks


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Homer: Kids Learn to Read App

A captivating, comprehensive beginning reading resource

Bottom line: Concrete phonics learning alongside books, songs, storytelling, and art.


Excellent free resource for all things reading and writing

Bottom line: A language arts teacher's dream; lesson plans, professional development, and all-around quality support.


Schoolhouse Rock meets Tupac in this delightful hip-hop-based platform

Bottom line: Flocabulary has the goods: It's savvy enough to keep kids focused, and teachers will be tapping their toes to the unorthodox learning method.


Quality Common Core-aligned lessons with great modeling for teachers

Bottom line: An innovative way to enhance lessons and tailor learning for individual needs.


Useful, adaptive tool for assessing, tracking reading ability

Bottom line: It's very utilitarian, but what it does it does well: getting students test-ready by effectively assessing and tracking reading ability.


Differentiate reading instruction with high-quality texts and lessons

Bottom line: The quality and scope of texts, lesson plans, assessments, and supports on this platform can help facilitate targeted reading instruction in any classroom.


Subscription-based, student-facing app fine for independent practice

Bottom line: A potentially more engaging -- although uneven -- option for your students, if you've got a Premium membership.


Robust, full-featured reading app measures meaningful literacy gains

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

News-O-Matic for School, 2016-17 Nonfiction Reading

Flexible, interactive daily stories for elementary school students

Bottom line: Engaging, high-quality news stories help students learn about the world.


Site for reviewing and sharing books makes reading a social adventure

Bottom line: This safe, simple social network lets kids share their reading success with friends, creating healthy competition and confidence.


Slick but dialogue heavy ethics game teaches students to make tough decisions

Bottom line: A versatile game that can teach ethics, argumentation, and civics is light on interactivity but will come alive through discussion.

Catchy parts-of-speech instruction, from hook to assessment

Bottom line: The fun songs will stick, and so will kids' knowledge about the parts of speech.


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.


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.

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.

iTooch 6th Grade Language Arts

Quality lessons, challenging quizzes help kids learn core concepts

Bottom line: This solid companion to the ELA classroom offers brief lessons and quizzes to reinforce key concepts and skills.


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.


Bring real-world stories from public radio into the classroom

Bottom line: A fantastic resource that brings both historical and current event public radio stories into the classroom.

WordFlex Touch Dictionary

Amazing interactive visual dictionary makes exploring words exciting

Bottom line: Dynamic, highly visual presentation makes learning new words exciting.


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.

The Learning Network

Process current events through engaging NYT-style lens

Bottom line: This free resource can be a reliable source of activities and ideas for current event discussions from a trusted news organization with its finger on the pulse of the world.

The Sports Network 2

Make news and build ELA skills with this cable sports show sim

Bottom line: It's a great blend of important cross-disciplinary critical reading skills and a fun newsroom context that'll show students how learning translates to working life.

Youth Voices

Vibrant online community hosts authentic student writing

Bottom line: Supported student writing, collaboration, and communication make this a healthy space for kids to express themselves.

Shakespeare In Bits: Macbeth iPad Edition

Multimedia shines in this elegant remix of an old classic

Bottom line: Engaging and supporting kids throughout, it breaks down Shakespearean language and brings the play to life.

Shakespeare's The Tempest for iPad

Explore Shakespeare's wild island in excellent, well-rounded reading app

Bottom line: Shakespeare's The Tempest for iPad packs a college-level course into an affordable iPad app.

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