Do you have students struggling with reading? Let's look at some effective uses, applications, and creative ways to use the iPad (and other mobile devices) in the classroom to support struggling readers in primary and intermediate grades.
Spelling, Phonemic, and Vocabulary Skills:
Vocabulary Spelling City. Make spelling and vocabulary learning fun with game-based learning. This website, and app, offers many free literacy resources for teachers and students.
Rocket Speller. A fun iPad application for spelling. What's great about this app is the different settings that allow you to customize the difficulty of the game, and differentiate your instruction with students.
Merriam-Webster Apps. Sometimes you just gotta go back to the gold standard of reference materials. “In addition to all the definitions from Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, the app offers voice search, synonyms, antonyms, example sentences, Word of the Day, and more.” To complement their main dictionary app, they also offer a quizzing app for improving your vocabulary (for adults or higher level-learners), a learner's dictionary app, and the official Scrabble dictionary app.
Sentence and Fluency Skills:
Sentence Builder by AbiTalk. AbiTalk has many free and paid education apps available for students. I encourage you to browse their website and try a few out. Sentence Builder is a favorite because it's currently the only app which allows you to fully custom build sentences with your own words and pictures. Students can then practice sentence building exactly to your specifications.
Friendzy. These trivia apps make learning fun with a variety of quizzing and gaming options. What's great about Friendzy is they offer many different apps set by grade level, which makes it simple to find the correct one for your classroom. In addition to grade-specific apps, Friendzy offers a couple apps that help with reading and spelling. Each app includes 10 different learning categories and over 1,000 trivia questions that align with state standards.
Reading and Comprehension Skills:
iBooks. If you have access to iOS devices, there are thousands of free books available via iBooks. “Apple Books lets you lose yourself in a good story right on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. You’ll find classics, bestsellers, up-and-coming authors, and even audiobooks — ready to download and enjoy.” Students can also create their own eBooks with iBooks. If you're interested in more on that, you can watch SimpleK12's training session, Create Your Own eBook.
Storia. Do your students have access to Scholastic books? This App is for you! If your school or your students have purchased any Scholastic books, you can download digital versions of them to your devices with Storia.
Epic!. This subscription-based app is a digital library specifically for students ages 12 and under. What's great about this app from the teacher standpoint, is you can go in and customize what displays for students based on age, reading level, or interest.
I hope you learned something new — which one of these apps is your favorite? Let me know in a comment on this article.
Looking for more teacher resources? Take a look at SimpleK12's course catalog for hundreds of professional development videos designed specifically for educators of all kinds.
The ideas in this article were selected from the following SimpleK12 training session:
Applications for Supporting Struggling Readers. In this webinar, we'll explore effective uses, applications, and creative ways to use the iPad in the classroom to support struggling readers and writers in the primary and intermediate grades. Learn how to use applications with students to improve student performance and understanding of concepts through creation, not just consumption.
About the Author
Kimber Thompson is a Lead Moderator for SimpleK12 webinars and a Contributing Editor for SimpleK12.com. She writes frequently about education topics and is passionate about tools and techniques that inspire young learners. You may reach her with ideas and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.