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.
Many of the reviews we link to are from Common Sense Education, a trusted resource for learning about apps and other edtech tools.
Homer: Learn to Read
A learn-to-read app incorporates drawing, voice recording, stories, songs, and more, along with more traditional phonics exercises. Features 1,000+ lessons on phonics, sight words, and ABCs, and ffers 200+ stories that build vocabulary. Encourages kids to think critically about what they've read or listened to through answering questions.
A versatile mind-mapping tool to help kids visually organize information and ideas. Easily create diagrams, maps, organizers, brainstorms, and text outlines.
An easy-to-use and versatile mind-mapping tool that can be used in all subject areas. Includes an image-to-text conversion feature.
An e-reading literacy platform to support 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. Kids can earn badges and a Lexile measure.
News-O-Matic: Nonfiction for Classrooms
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.
A versatile mind-mapping tool. Students create "Popplets" that can be filled with text, drawings, images, or video, with the ability to share and collaborate in real time.
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.
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.
Sortegories features nine activities that target essential literacy skills and concepts in a web-based practice setting. Multiple layers of word knowledge — phonemic, phonological, semantic, morphological, and syntactic — are woven together to give kids the chance to apply reading practice. Sortegories is for kids who need practice with phonics, vocabulary (word meaning), and syntax (phrase and sentence meaning) to become fluent readers and comprehenders. A variety of subscription plans are available.
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.
Language-arts tool for kids who need to improve their sentence formation, storytelling, and speaking, and can be used in special needs classrooms.
Tell About This
Photo and word prompts inspire storytelling, and the app records the results. This versatile tool can be used as a pre-writing or publishing activity.