Regardless of whether you have embraced smart phones or touch pads from the start - or you were slower to jump on the technological band wagon - you now know that there's an app for just about everything! In an era where young children are better at using technological gadgets than their parents, teachers are beginning to learn that educational software applications are a great way for snagging students' attention and fostering good learning habits. Reading comprehension apps are no exception.
If you are looking for ways to spark an interest in literacy, and to expand on reading comprehension skills, you're in luck because…you guessed it. There's an app (or 5) for that!
Bringing Technology to the Reading Room
There are literally hundreds of apps that focus on reading, vocabulary, and overall literacy skills. Some of them are free, and almost all of them are less than a few dollars. Here are five reading comprehension apps you can use in a K-5 classroom to inspire even your most lackluster readers. They are all designed in conjunction with education specialists and earn high ratings from users.
- Fact or Opinion. This can be one of the most difficult skills to impart to young readers. Everything written is true, right? Fact or Opinion offers a fun way for young students to learn how to identify whether an author is stating a fact or an opinion. Sometimes students read a passage and identify whether it is a fact or opinion. And sometimes they are asked to choose the passage that is a fact or opinion. It covers all the bases.
- Opposite Ocean. In Opposite Ocean, magic school students, Luna and Leo, try to build up the jewels in their treasure chest. They do so by correctly listing the antonym to the provided keywords. The magical clam rewards the children with pearls. This is a great way to isolate opposites, and give students repetitive practice that is fun and interactive.
- Same Meaning Magic. Luna and Leo are back, only this time they are working with synonyms. In Same Meaning Magic, Luna and Leo get gold coins and jewels by tossing the right word "stone" - the best synonym - into the wishing well. Opposite Ocean and Same Meaning Magic prevent the common confusion that ensues when synonym/antonym exercises are mixed together. Isolated review is wonderful for students who haven't been able to understand the difference yet.
- Question Builder. Have you tried to teach the idea of "inference" lately? Whew. It's a challenge, as are all abstract questions. The game Question Builder is a solution. It provides a fun and visual way for K-5 students to "get it." You can use auditory clips as well. The auditory function can be turned on and off as needed. It has been successful in improving comprehension in children with autism spectrum and sensory processing disorders.
- Speech with Milo: Sequencing. Milo apps are very popular and have been downloaded tens of thousands of times. The Sequencing version helps pre-K - 4 students learn to piece story puzzles together using three panels, or frames, of an activity. Students put them in order. Another perk: it is available in Spanish, which is useful for ESL and/or immersion programs.
Dive into the world of educational apps and you will have a hard time coming up to the surface again. There is nothing more rewarding than implementing effective apps in the classroom, and watching your students' faces come to life as they learn things in a way that is creative, engaging, and utilizes a variety of learning modalities.
We also offer a FREE guide that gives teachers many reading comprehension aids and tips for helping even the most hard to reach readers in your classroom. Get yours today!