Constitution and Declaration for iPad Free Actually, these are two separate apps. Each is a no-frills app that allows students to read one of these historical documents on the iPad. In the Declaration app, students
can view and read an image of the original parchment Declaration of
Independence and find out more information about each of the signers.
In the Constitution app, readers can search by article or amendment
number, read the full text, and read notes relevant to each section. Keep
in mind that both of these seminal texts are included in the new Common
Core State Standards for English language arts. And you can have these
primary-source documents literally at your fingertips!
Marvel Comics Free + (Paid issues are $2.) I am a big fan of using comics and graphic novels in the classroom. These texts appeal to striving readers and are popular choices for boys, although
many girls like comics too. The full-color pages with high-quality graphics
and easy-to-read text really make this app pop! While you can download
a few comic books for free, you will need to sign up for a username and
password to download other titles.
SAT Vocab Cards Free Paid SAT apps abound, but this one is free. It’s not as flashy as some of the others, but it offers a quick and easy way to build vocabulary without slogging through
hundreds of workbook pages. There are two components: flash cards
and quizzes. The app has nearly 1,000 flash cards, and it is possible to
master the entire load. You can control the quiz feature to include all the
cards or narrow it down by selecting options, such as “never quizzed” or
Poem Flow Free You get 20 poems for free and can pay to add more. A library of 100 poems costs 99 cents. This app features both contemporary and classic poets as well as the “poem of
the day.” I love how the poems literally flow across the screen for a unique
reading experience with this oft-neglected genre. Hook your iPad up to a
projector or lay it on a document camera to have a poem flowing across
the screen or interactive whiteboard as students enter the classroom.
Newspapers for iPad $2.99 If you want a free newspaper for your classroom, I highly recommend USA Today. It is a high-quality, full-color app that looks just like the paper version (see Elementary
Grades for details). If you want something more, I suggest Newspapers
for iPad. For only $2.99, you can catch up on the news from all over the
world! This awesome resource provides you with a quick and easy way to
select a location and then click for the link to the newspaper’s website.
You will need to be online for this app to work, but you can email articles
or save them to the Instapaper feature to read later offline.
i Translate Free + (The basic version of this great translation software is free; upgrade to a more deluxe version for about $4.) This is a very sophisticated app. You can translate written English
into more than 50 other languages, or you can flip it and translate into
English. Some languages (not all) come with a text-to-speech button as
well, so you can hear how to say it and see how it’s written. This is a
great app for English language learners and foreign language classes.
Free Books Free You get 23,469 free books and/or documents from the public domain. Many of these same titles are available through other e-readers (iBooks, Nook, Kindle), but I love
how this app’s library comes already pre-organized into categories such
as Banned Books, Classic Psychology, Epic Epics, and more. You need an
internet connection to download the titles you want, but once you’ve done
that, you can read the books even when offline.
Shakespeare Free + (Upgrade to Shakespeare Pro for $9.99.) This is a fantastic resource for any English teacher. The free version features the complete works of Shakespeare plus a searchable
concordance. Want to find all references to poison No problem! Type it
into the concordance, and every line in any play, poem, or sonnet with the
word poison immediately appears. The “pro” version contains some added
features, such as a glossary and a portrait gallery, but the free version is
probably enough if your goal is to have multiple copies of each play.
Goodreads Free This is a social networking site for readers. Have your students rate books, get suggestions, and even form book groups online. It is a great way to use social networking,
but with a literacy angle. Get the teachers in your school to start using
Goodreads and form your own student/teacher groups. Students must be
13 to set up an account.
iFound Poetry $1.99 This is one of my favorite “magnetic” poetry apps. The manipulative words and word parts look just like the real game, but this app comes with lots of options. You can
change the words by choosing a different theme, and you can create your
own words to use in the poem. You can change the background image
and the fonts of the magnets. Best of all, students can share their poems
through email, Facebook, and Twitter, or they can save them to a photo
library. This app brings the idea of “found poetry” to life and would be a
great addition to a unit on the genre of poetry.
—Jennifer Shettel is an assistant professor at Millersville University
of Pennsylvania, USA, where she teaches courses in literacy education.
She presents on how to use apps in literacy classrooms.