Common Sense


Resources for Beginning Readers

Learning how to read is different for each child, which is why we highlight a range of techniques within these apps and websites. Whether you're looking to help build students' phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, or comprehension, you'll find tools here that support every step of the process. Some of these apps and websites even offer diagnostic tools to help you identify and target specific areas of need as your students work to improve their reading.

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Top Picks


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Name Play: a name reading and writing practice kit

Simple but fun games cleverly let prereaders explore familiar names

Bottom line: This collection of name-based mini-games offers a targeted and clever introduction to literacy.

Montessorium: Intro to Words

Well-crafted app lets emerging readers and writers develop reading skills through word building

Bottom line: Basic reading skills are developed through word building, word play, and letter-sound recognition.

Hooked on Phonics

Well-known curriculum adapts well to fun, easy-to-use app

Bottom line: Thorough phonics program offers a nice mixture of learning, practicing, and reading.

LeapFrog Explorer Learning Game: LeapSchool Reading

Kids play fun reading and hobby games to complete a classroom yearbook

Bottom line: A combination of reading games and activities based on hobbies fill this engaging title about building a yearbook.

Homer: Kids Learn to Read App

A captivating, comprehensive beginning reading resource

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

Monkey Word School Adventure

Delightful monkey means business on this challenging early reading app

Bottom line: Automatic leveling and mix of phonics and sight words make this a great addition to any early reading toolkit.


A range of clever activities for early literacy and math exploration

Bottom line: This great resource for fun games and animated books has intrinsic educational value.

Montessori Crosswords

Gently ease kids into phonics with superb Montessori-inspired puzzles

Bottom line: The surprisingly great combo of Montessori principles and technology helps kids learn phonics without overstimulation.

Ready to Learn Reading

Vast assortment of activities encourage reading and storytelling

Bottom line: A great variety of activities to inspire and develop reading and story building skills, but navigation is tricky.


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.

Starfall Learn to Read

Delight emergent readers with lively phonics lessons

Bottom line: Easy-to-use, plentiful phonics activities keep emergent readers engaged.


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.

Phonics Genius

Quality flashcard-style phonics app missing some basics

Bottom line: Phonics Genius is a great resource for building phonemic awareness and a library of sight words.

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.


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.

News-O-Matic: School 2018-2019

Flexible, interactive daily stories for elementary school students

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


Robust, full-featured reading app measures meaningful literacy gains

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

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