The ultimate goal of reading is good comprehension. We've gathered information about apps that provide practice with specific comprehension skills, including sequencing, differentiating between fact and opinion, developing word awareness (through antonyms, synonyms, and homophones), as well as several mind mapping apps. Mind maps are visual diagrams that help students represent words or ideas and can be used in reading and writing.
Aesop's Quest, based on Aesop's Fables, is a learning game where the student must remember elements of a story to complete a level. At the end of each story segment or level, the student is rewarded with puzzle pieces. After solving the puzzle, the story is complete and the child can continue to the next story. Developed in association with the Virginia Department of Education.
Inspiration Maps is a mind-mapping tool that helps kids visually organize ideas. They can create diagrams, maps, organizers, brainstorms, and text outlines. Outlines can be converted to maps, and maps can be converted to outlines. Users can share creations by emailing, printing, or saving to iTunes, Dropbox, Photos, or the app (as PDF or PNG files). The Lite version, which is free, lets kids create up to five mind maps with no sharing options.
Learn With Homer
A learn-to-read app for kids ages 3 to 6 that incorporates drawing, voice recording, stories, songs, and more, along with more traditional phonics exercises. This app can be helpful for kids who have speech production issues and organization of language issues.
LightSail is an e-reading literacy platform that helps teachers support their students' independent reading. Students can use LightSail to check out texts from their schools' digital libraries and read the books directly on their devices. As students progress through a book, questions appear to gauge their comprehension. As students complete these assessments, they earn badges and also earn a Lexile measure.
MiniMod Fact or Opinion Lite
Fact or Opinion is a bingo style game that helps students practice determining if a passage is factually accurate or the writer's opinion. A correct answer allows the student to place a marker on a bingo style card. Five markers in a row wins. Levels can be played in single player mode against the computer or multi-player against a friend.
MiniMod Reading for Details Lite
Reading For Details helps students practice identifying the 5W's of reading — who, what, where, when, and why. After reading a short story, the student is asked a reading detail question, a correct answer allows the student to place on marker on a bingo style card. 5 markers in a row wins. Levels can be played in single player mode against the computer or multi-player against a friend.
News-O-Matic for School, Nonfiction Reading
Whether your students enjoy reading about sports, science, world news, or wacky events, News-O-Matic delivers what’s making the news. This nonfiction reading comprehension app publishes five news stories each weekday. The stories range in length and difficulty to create opportunities for differentiated instruction. Readers learn what happened on this date in history through an educational game and write or draw to Editor-in-Chief Russ in the News Room.
In Opposite Ocean, Luna and Leo must master the magic of words by correctly identify the antonym that is the opposite of the given keyword. Children earn pearls when they drag the correct bubble word to the enchanted clam. Developed in association with the Virginia Department of Education.
Popplet is a productivity app that also works as a mind mapping tool. Use the app to begin structuring the writing process. The app can also be used to create graphic organizers, classroom visuals, organize material according to text structures (list, sequence, compare–contrast, cause–effect), and to practice sentence combining and complex sentence creation by connecting individual "Popples." Not ready to commit to the $4.99 price tag? Try out Popplet Lite for free.
Professor Garfield Fact or Opinion
Professor Garfield Fact or Opinion is part story, part game, and part online safety lesson. When Garfield's friend receives an "F" on his report about goats for using opinions instead of facts, Professor Garfield steps in to explain the differences between a fact and an opinion (particularly with regard to the Internet), how to read with a questioning mind, and how a fact can be verified. Developed by the Virginia Department of Education.
Question Builder is designed to help children learn to answer abstract questions and create responses based on inference. Use of audio clips promotes improved auditory processing for special needs children with autism spectrum disorders or sensory processing disorders. Audio clip reinforcement can be turned on or off for non-special needs children.
Same Sound Spellbound
Same Sound Spellbound is an adventure designed to help the player understand homophones (words that are pronounced the same but have different meanings, such as "bee" and "be"). Luna and Leo, young magicians at Magic School, must use their spell book to bring animal statues to life. In the game, students must correctly identify the homophone which best completes the puzzle sentence, in a given time. If the word is correct, the animal statue comes to life. If it's incorrect, the statue crumbles. Developed in association with the Virginia Department of Education.
SimpleMind is a basic mind mapping tool that turns an iPhone/iPod into a brainstorming, idea collection and thought structuring device. SimpleMind's limited options make it a good tool for students that are new to mind mapping. Not ready to commit to the $6.99 price tag? Try out SimpleMind Lite for free.
Speech with Milo: Sequencing
Speech with Milo: Sequencing is a sequencing and storytelling game. Slide the three picture cards into correct order (first, next, and last), then watch the story come to life. A speech–language pathologist chose Milo's activities, such as hitting a baseball or eating a sandwich, to help kids learn to organize time, sentence, and storytelling concepts with familiar themes. Speech with Milo: Sequencing is also available in Spanish.
The Opposites app helps children learn vocabulary and the corresponding antonyms by challenging them to match up pairs of opposing words in increasingly difficult levels. The game also helps children understand the importance of word context, and is an opportunity for them to think about how the words they use oppose other words. The Opposites consists of 10 different levels, each stage with a corresponding level of vocabulary. The app also offers a dictionary option that provides definitions and antonyms in a kid-friendly format.