TOP PICKS | 21 TOOLS

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.

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

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.

Grades: 2–8
Price:
Free, Paid

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.

Grades: 3–7
Price:
Free

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

StoriumEdu

Collaborative writing game inspires purposeful storytelling

Bottom Line: With some planning and customization, this unique card game can motivate thoughtful and sustained creative writing in your classroom.

Grades: 3–12
Price:
Free to try

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.

Grades: 4–12
Price:
Free

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.

Grades: 5–8
Price:
Paid

LitPick

YA review site gives students a real-world, although ad-driven, outlet

Bottom Line: LitPick is a decent place for YA lovers to discover and discuss books, but the site is in need of a refresh and features a lot of promotion/ads.

Grades: 4–12
Price:
Free

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

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.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free

Wordflex Touch Dictionary

Amazing interactive visual dictionary makes exploring words exciting

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

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free, Paid

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.

Grades: 8–12
Price:
Free

Fandom Forward

Pop culture site promotes social justice critique, activism

Bottom Line: This site offers smart, fun resources for exploring the layers of meaning in media and finding causes to fight for.

Grades: 9–12
Price:
Free

myShakespeare

Handy supporting features help demystify popular Shakespeare plays

Bottom Line: This is a thoughtfully-designed site that makes Shakespeare approachable while also encouraging students to read closely.

Grades: 7–12
Price:
Free

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.

Grades: 7–12
Price:
Paid

Youth Voices

Aging online community hosts authentic student writing

Bottom Line: With some patience and understanding, this could be a good space for supporting healthy student expression.

Grades: 7–12
Price:
Free

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.

Grades: 8–12
Price:
Paid

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.

Grades: 8–12
Price:
Free

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.

Grades: 8–12
Price:
Free

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

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.

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