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RoundUp October 2015 – Early Literacy Favorites!

The impact technology is having on the printed word is huge. As we continue shifting to digital texts, we can use apps to support children’s early literacy development. At App Ed Review, we’ve included an abundance of apps for these purposes and have shared four of our favorites below! And remember, all reviews posted to the App Ed Review website are guided by our comprehensive rubric and offer teachers both instructional ideas for using the app along with an original app description. We hope you enjoy this month’s selection of apps!


  1. Biography Comics is a great app for teaching our young students about significant people in our culture. The app presents these individuals’ biographies in comic book form, with vivid pictures and clear language. However, what makes Biography Comics so appealing is the variety of activities that can be used with them, which include summarizing, visualizing, and vocabulary activities. Then, once students understand the technique and structure used by this app, teachers can have students produce these types of biographies for people from their own lives, such as parents, friends, family, and role models. With high scores for its design, this app is sure to engage young readers. For more instructional ideas and information, click here.
  2. Sometimes students need to learn or review grammar rules, and the English Grammar in Use app is here for them! With this app, students can study a range of grammatical topics with the app’s 20 tutorials, and it includes a glossary of terms with high-quality examples of the grammatical rule in action. These examples support students in learning and recognizing the grammar usage in their own writing. Plus, the bookmark “Ribbon” tool lets students easily save pages that interest them. Although grammar may not be the most engaging topic, this app certainly helps with it! To see our full review, click here.
  3. Use Your Handwriting is a fantastic app for students learning to write and an engaging tool to add a 21st Century spin to note taking. Students open the app and click the “Plus” icon to create a new note. Then, students can use a finger to practice writing letters or begin scrawling notes. One feature that makes this app so enticing for developing students’ early literacy skills is that they can practice writing letters, numbers, and words in this app. Teachers can show students an letter, number, or word and have students write it on their screen using this app. With its interactive user interface, this app is sure to be an engaging tool in your classroom. (After all, it did score a 9.0 for engagement and a 9.3 for its design.) To read more, click here.
  4. Writing poetry can be difficult for some students, and that’s where the Word Mover app comes in. Students channel their budding poetic minds through the scaffolding of a bank of moveable words that includes random words, words from famous works, or they can insert their own words. With the words in the bank, students can then touch and drag desired words to create poetic stanzas or sentences. Teachers can use this app to support students experimenting with language. This highly engaging app scored a 7.4 overall. Lesson plans and more can be found here.


That’s all for this month’s Roundup.  If you would like more information about any of the apps mentioned here or that are on the App Ed Review website, please contact us at info@appedreview.org. And remember, apps for elementary English language arts can be incorporated in some many ways, so use your imagination and enjoy!