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Top Tech for Advanced Learners in ELA

If you're looking to support high-achieving or gifted students that need their reading and writing skills challenged, we've collected some ELA tools for all ages that provide more complex and/or involved experiences. There are tools that let students select books that push their skills, online communities where students can create and critique with others, and games that'll open students' minds to the possibilities of the written word. You'll also find publishing tools for students who want to take their perspectives out of the classroom and onto the web.

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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.

Biblionasium

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.

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.

Elegy for a Dead World

Compelling sci-fi world imagined -- and written -- by its players

Bottom line: With some teacher guidance, Elegy offers an opportunity unlike anything else to get students to write stories and stretch their creative muscles.

NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program

Wildly engaging contest turns students into novelists in 30 days

Bottom line: A thoughtful adaptation of the famous and fun grown-up novel writing contest, NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program is brimming with advice and encouragement as well as classroom support.

Scribblenauts Remix

Vocab-building word puzzles inspire creative problem-solving

Bottom line: Wide-open problem solving builds creativity, vocabulary, and spelling skills, but controls can be tricky.

LitPick

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.

Call Me Ishmael

Drop a calling card, leave a message, inspire others to love reading

Bottom line: A truly unique experience for students to share a reading experience, different from most else out there.

Room for Debate

Experts examine, dissect, and discuss critical issues

Bottom line: A helpful site for exploring multiple perspectives on key current events and hot topics.

Twine

Cool interactive story creator can both dazzle and baffle

Bottom line: Twine is a fascinating tool to build interactive stories, but the "function first" interface means it'll take patience and time.

Wordflex Touch Dictionary

Amazing interactive visual dictionary makes exploring words exciting

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

Genius

Collaborative tool lets users annotate songs, literature, web content

Bottom line: Students can collaboratively engage in the process of annotation and analysis with various texts -- both within the forum and on the web.

Story Wars

Read, write, and vote on engaging collaborative storytelling site

Bottom line: A cool, competitive approach to online storytelling with a lot of learning potential -- just be aware of the iffy content and licensing risks.

The Harry Potter Alliance

Fan site promotes real-world heroics with activism for social justice

Bottom line: A fun, empowering community for Potter fans who want to talk Hogwarts and make the world a better place while they're at it.

Where the Water Tastes Like Wine

Slow but alluring game uniquely depicts how folklore shaped America

Bottom line: While it's not perfect, it could serve as a nice complement to a unit on American folklore or as a way to inspire students to write their own tall tales.

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.

DEVICE 6

Inventive, interactive short story puzzles, scares, and delights

Bottom line: Utterly unique, short experience packed with exploration, mysteries, and surprises, but will take inventive teacher to wrap around.

Goodreads

Lively community for bookworms to share their love of lit

Bottom line: Using Goodreads can enhance teens' reading experience and help them become thoughtful, enthusiastic readers.

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.

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.

WordPress.com

Solid blogging tool and content management system offers DIY blogs

Bottom line: This is a great tool to get kids blogging and creating online content.

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