Home iOS Tips and Tricks Online Reading Programs and Digital Apps

Online Reading Programs and Digital Apps

by Miguel Guhlin
Digital reading room

Looking for some ways to supplement your reading interventions? Here are a few AI-recommended solutions with reflections about each one. We’ll explore 21 supplemental online reading programs and a list of 6 iOS apps, including reading titles and content. Ready to dive in?

Five Reading Strategies

Before we look at the online programs and apps, let’s take a moment to revisit my top five favorite high-effect size instructional strategies. What I like about these strategies is that students can learn to use them independently while reading. So, once students have learned them, they can apply them when using supplemental reading materials.

A list of high yield strategies in an infographic with links to more information for each.
Infographic created by the author | Edit or download the infographic.

Now that you have some strategies, consider these sources of digital reading material and online reading programs.

What AI Was Used?

We prompted several AI tools, including ChatGPT, Claude.ai, Perplexity, and POE. Perplexity and POE offered more varied responses than ChatGPT and Claude, but less in total. While ChatGPT and Claude didn’t provide links, Perplexity and POE did.

What online reading programs can be used as supplemental intervention for struggling readers that are inexpensive or available at no-cost?

-TCEA Staff

21 Online Reading Programs

Here are the responses in alphabetical order. Items with an asterisk appeared on lists from multiple AI. The summaries of each online program were provided by the AI generating them. For a few, I wrote the summary or tweaked the one provided.

  1. ABCmouse: While ABCmouse is a subscription-based program, it often offers free trials. It covers a wide range of subjects, including reading, and is suitable for early learners.
  2. BeReading’s Free Reading Program: The Free Reading Program, initiated by Be Reading, is a K-6 reading, language, and grammar program that provides over 3,500 activities to improve reading comprehension, language, grammar, and spelling skills. It is available at no cost, promoted through various local organizations, and used internationally in schools.
  3. Book Adventure: This interactive and educational online platform is designed to encourage and motivate young readers to develop their reading skills while having fun.
  4. Bookshare: Bookshare is a free program for students with disabilities that affect their ability to read. It provides access to a vast collection of accessible eBooks.
  5. CommonLit: This resource features an extensive collection of reading passages and question sets for data tracking. It’s entirely free to teachers and students.
  6. Epic!: Epic! is a digital library for kids aged 12 and under. It offers a 30-day free trial, and after that, it’s available at a monthly subscription fee. Epic! provides access to thousands of books, audiobooks, and educational videos.
  7. International Children’s Digital Library: This digital library curates children’s books in different languages for free online reading.
  8. LibriVox: Volunteers read books from the public domain aloud and upload audio recordings. All books and resources are free.
  9. Newsela*: Newsela provides news articles at different reading levels, allowing students to choose texts that match their abilities. It offers a free basic version with limited access to articles. But it can be a valuable resource for improving reading comprehension.
  10. PBS Kids: PBS Kids offers a range of educational games, videos, and activities, including reading games and interactive storybooks. The content is aligned with educational standards and is designed to support early literacy development.
  11. Prodigy English: Prodigy English offers a brand-new adventure that introduces kids to a world filled with adventures, wishes, and more ways to practice reading and language skills. It is available for free.
  12. Project Gutenberg: Project Gutenberg offers over 60,000 free eBooks, including many classic literary works. While it may not have the interactive features of other programs, it’s a valuable resource for accessing a wide range of reading materials.
  13. Raz-Kids*: While Raz-Kids requires a subscription, it often offers free trials. It provides hundreds of eBooks at 29 different levels of reading difficulty.
  14. Reading Eggs: This structured online reading program uses visual accompaniments and self-paced lessons to motivate struggling readers and improve their skills.
  15. Reading Rockets*: Reading Rockets offers a collection of free reading resources, strategies, and activities to help struggling readers. It provides valuable tips for teachers, parents, and tutors.
  16. ReadTheory: ReadTheory is a free online reading comprehension program that provides personalized reading practice for students. It adapts to the student’s skill level and offers passages and questions at an appropriate difficulty level to help improve reading comprehension skills.
  17. ReadWorks: ReadWorks offers a wide range of reading comprehension lessons and resources for students of all ages. It’s a free platform that provides high-quality texts and questions to improve reading skills.
  18. Starfall*: Starfall is a free public service that helps young readers learn to read and write with phonics. It’s designed for pre-K through third grade students and offers interactive activities and games.
  19. Storyline Online: Actors read popular children’s books alongside illustrations in videos on Storyline Online with free video streaming.
  20. Teach Your Monster to Read: This website offers a series of engaging and interactive games that help children learn to read. It covers phonics, sight words, and other essential reading skills. The desktop version is free, and there is a paid app version for mobile devices.
  21. Vooks: Vooks is an entire library of storybooks brought to life with beautiful animation, read-aloud narration, engaging music and sound, and read-along text.

You will want to visit each online reading program and decide the best use of these tools for your students.

iOS Reading Apps Available for Free

A fun follow-up question to AI is, “What iOS reading apps can be used as a supplemental intervention for struggling readers at no cost?” ChatGPT offered the following responses:

  1. ABCmouse. While ABCmouse requires a subscription, it does offer a limited number of free activities and books. It covers a wide range of subjects, including reading and literacy.
  2. Epic! – Kids’ Books and Videos. Epic! offers a vast library of digital books, audiobooks, and educational videos for kids. It includes a Read-to-Me feature that can assist struggling readers.
  3. Novel Effect: Read Aloud Books. Novel Effect offers books that you can read out loud. It includes book activity plans that you can export to PDF.
  4. Raz-Kids. Raz-Kids provides hundreds of eBooks at 29 different levels of reading difficulty. It offers interactive quizzes and recordings to support reading comprehension.
  5. Sight Words Reading Games ABC. This is a reading program for young children aged 2-7. The program aims to prepare children for kindergarten and school. [*Updated entry. See note below for previous entry]
  6. Starfall Learn to Read. Starfall’s Learn to Read app is designed for early readers. Through interactive stories and activities, it offers a systematic approach to phonics and phonemic awareness.

*Note: This item removed from the list per the update in the comments: Sight Words Learning Games & Reading Flashcards: This app focuses on teaching sight words, which are essential for early reading. It includes games and flashcards to make learning engaging.

With these online reading programs, reading apps, and reading strategies in your back pocket, you’re sure to supplement reading interventions and encourage students to read. The most important reading is self-directed reading, which promotes autonomy, independence, and engages students’ minds. Which program or app will you try first?

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Patty Bowman January 9, 2024 - 11:06 am

The Sight Words app is not available on the Apple School list because it is not an iOS app. The app is available for free with 3 games from eFlashApps, LLC from Amazon Apps, iTunes, and Google Play Store: https://babyflashcards.com/apps/play-sight-words-free.html

Miguel Guhlin January 9, 2024 - 11:10 am

Thanks for the update, Patty! I’ve replaced the entry, and attached a note that points to your comment.


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