Common Sense


Middle School Reading Apps and Websites

There's no question middle school can be a big hurdle for readers; students' skills can stagnate and never recover. Thankfully, there are some terrific tech tools out there to help teachers support students' growth. From phonemic awareness to phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension, you're bound to find the right tool to support your students' needs. You'll also find everything from diagnostic tools to interactive e-readers, close-reading instruction, and even some online reading communities to help kids get engaged around high-interest topics.

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Useful app and website combo has potential to fuel guided reading

Bottom line: This is a pedagogically sound tool that, while still a work-in-progress, has real potential for teachers looking to upgrade their guided reading assessment and instruction.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Smithsonian: TweenTribune

Trustworthy tween news site has cool classroom component

Bottom line: TweenTribune's questions, quizzes, and educator tools can help kids follow and understand the news; its content may work best with younger users.


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.

Harry Potter Reading Club

The fun and fantasy of Harry's world plus literary discussion

Bottom line: With activities, discussion questions, and lots of free access to the books, this site is a great place for Harry Potter fans new and old.

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.


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.


Elegant, customizable e-reader empowers close reading, boosts skills

Bottom line: An excellent tool for in-text assessment. Maximize the platform's usefulness by uploading your own texts and setting up CCSS-aligned checkpoints.


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.


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.

Whooo's Reading

Innovative take on independent reading ditches multiple-choice quizzes

Bottom line: A convenient, well-intentioned tool for supporting a quality, interest-driven independent reading program, but make sure to tweak the auto-generated scores and questions.

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.

Xyza: News for Kids

Subscription-based, kid-friendly news site keeps kids up-to-date

Bottom line: It's a useful starting point to spark interest in the news and build awareness of current events, but not as ideal for teaching media literacy skills.


Tweens' reviews of YA literature great for classroom use

Bottom line: LitPick is a safe, fun environment for YA lovers to read their favorite books while learning how to discuss literature.


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.


Useful Chrome extension lets teachers add interactivity to websites

Bottom line: A potential go-to tool for teachers focused on building critical reading skills, especially those in Chromebook classrooms.

KQED Education

Great news and classroom resources support both teachers and students

Bottom line: With some organizational adjustments, the site could be an exceptional place for both kids and teachers to find educational inspiration.

Vast array of poets and poems; on the serious side

Bottom line: Great, if slightly serious, resource for young poetry lovers to explore and gather inspiration.


With an authentic audience, kids can write, read, and comment

Bottom line: WIth the appropriate safeguards in place, a terrific tool for connecting kids with authentic audiences.

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.

Teen Ink

Get kids writing, publishing, critiquing in this valuable network

Bottom line: Teens will find a wealth of information and many opportunities to further interest in writing and the creative arts.

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