Bookmark these back-to-school English and literature apps

Aug 28, 2014
Tech

Summertime is coming to an end for most students across the country. Yet technology offers new beginnings. English teachers are increasingly using an array of media and resources to jumpstart classroom discussion and test student knowledge. These five mobile apps cover reading comprehension, root words, essay writing, and so much more! Reading Raven Vol 2 […]

Summertime is coming to an end for most students across the country. Yet technology offers new beginnings. English teachers are increasingly using an array of media and resources to jumpstart classroom discussion and test student knowledge. These five mobile apps cover reading comprehension, root words, essay writing, and so much more!

Reading Raven Vol 2 (iPhone $1.99, iPad $2.99, Ages 3-6)

The second volume of Reading Raven, which is ideal for children aged 3-to-5, focuses on reading lessons and literacy review. All of the exercises operate as ‘learn-to-read adventures’ guided by the app’s cartoon raven that immerses youngsters in reading and writing. Children can record their voices as they practice vowel sounds, blends, sight words, and more. In addition, the  Reading Raven website offers a downloadable PDF guide outlining the app’s features, lessons, and classroom implementation for parents and teachers.

Vocabulary Practice: Greek and Latin Root Words Vocabulary Game (iOS Universal Free, Ages 10-14)

This is a thoroughly straightforward, free app for improving reading comprehension. After a few sessions, elementary and middle school students will better their understanding of word origins and identify patterns within roots. The app’s quiz provides a root word and an example and four possible meanings. It then alerts users to whether or not their answers are correct. This instant feedback is invaluable, as the app contains more than 250 words. The level of difficulty increases as students advance through the quiz.

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iTooch 8th Grade Language Arts (iOS Android $5.99, Ages 13-15)

The iTooch suite of apps is held in high regard by many educators, and it was created based on Common Core Standards. iTooch 8th Grade Language Arts contains 49 chapters and 1,500 exercises, with lessons focusing on one skill at a time. For example, students will learn about the parts of speech and subject-verb agreement while adhering to grammar usage and punctuation. There are 17 composition and writing topics that will certainly assist with essays and narratives. The best part? 8th graders can return to this free app for the entire school year and as a refresher before starting high school level English courses. There is a lite version available for Android.

Phraseology – Text Editor with Writing Tools (iPad $2.99, Ages 10-18)

Phraseology, developed by the adroit folks at Agile Tortoise, boasts a simple yet usable interface that will boost high schoolers writing production. The app employs an extended keyboard, live counts of characters and words, and a textual rating system. The latter checks the document for complexity, repeated or overused words, syntax, and sentence length. One of the handiest features is the ability to drag-and-drop paragraphs, which makes essay reorganization a snap! Students can see overused words, parts of speech used and have a running count of total words. These features make editing much more effective and lead to a better overall paper.

English Literature Revision Games (iPad Android Free, Ages 14-18)

Lumpy Learning’s English Literature Games includes a cloud-click game focusing on central literary characters, plus quizzes focusing on content, narrative structure, and quotations. This free, splendid app has several in-class applications, including general discussion and quizzing students before tests. This app crosses off every item on the checklist. Developer known for producing enticing educational apps for Android and iOS? Check. Icon featuring a cartoon Shakespeare clutching a shiny skull? Check. A wealth of quizzes and games focusing on must-read sonnets and novels, via eChalk? You bet!

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Stephen Danos

Stephen Danos is the Associate Editor for appoLearning.com, AndroidApps.com, and Appolicious. He has contributed to articles published on TechCrunchThe Chicago Sun TimesThe Chicago Tribune, and elsewhere.

He received his BA in English from the University of Iowa and MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia College Chicago. He is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Playhouse State (H_NGM_N Books, 2012) and Gravitational (The New Megaphone, forthcoming).

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