Tuesday, January 17, 2012

English Apps for Middle School

English is one of the major components of the curriculum. For any 1:1 iPad program to be really successful appropriate apps need to be sourced that will not only meet curriculum outcomes but also address the learning needs of your students. The following is a list of apps that have been researched and evaluated specifically for use in the Middle School English course. This extensive list was compiled by @ShireenRichards


Must Have:
Dictionary.Com: (Suitable for Years 5-8) 
Essential dictionary and thesaurus for students 

Reading and Reading Strategies:
Must Have Apps:

iReadItNow FREE (Suitable for Years 5-8) 
At last - a reading log that is suitable for the Middle School age range!
(otherwise could use Pages or blogs/forums instead)

Professor Garfield Fact or Opinion: FREE (Suitable for Years 5-6)
Teaches students how to identify fact vs opinion in text 

Professor Garfield Forms of Media: FREE (Suitable for Years 5-6)
Teaches students about persuasive forms of media

Recommended Apps:

English Idioms Illustrated: FREE (Suitable for Years 5-8) 
Provides a pictorial explanation of the meaning and origin of idiomatic sayings
Best Books for Tweens: FREE  (Suitable for Years 5-6) 
Lists and reviews suitable books for students in this age group to read 

Spelling Utilities/Vocabulary/Word Games:
Must Have Apps:

Chicktionary HD: FREE (Suitable for Years 5-8) 

Recommended Apps:

Flashcards+ : FREE  (Suitable for Years 5-6) 
A useful app for students to learn spelling words (could use the free version and put up with ads)

Words with Friends HD: FREE and $2.99 AU  (Suitable for Years 5-8)
Great for students to compete against one another (could use the free version with ads!)

Blanks: FREE  (Suitable for Years 7-8)
Teaches students correct word meaning and expands vocabulary

The Opposites: $2.99 AU (Suitable for Years 5+) 
Teaches students opposite words in context via games, starts easy and gets quite difficult

Writing Tools:
Must Have Apps:

Toontastic: $1.99 AU  (Suitable for Years 5-6)
Must have as it uses cartoon writing to teach students about narrative structure

Storykit: FREE (Suitable for Years 5-6)
A simple way to create picture storybooks or illustrated stories

Creative Book Builder: $4.49 AU (Suitable for Years 5-8, particularly 7-8)
Create and publish ebooks

Sock Puppets: FREE (Suitable for Years 5-6) 
Students can create mini dialogues between 'sock puppets'

Kids Write Text Types $0.99 AU (Suitable for Years 5-6)
Outlines all required text types, complete with examples, blank planner templates and posters. Very useful for Year 5

The Guardian Eyewitness: FREE (Suitable for Year 5-8)
This is a daily gallery of distinctive and provocative photographs that are great for use as writing stimulus

Recommended Apps:

StoryRobe:  $0.99 AU (Suitable for Years 5-8) 
A mobile digital storytelling app that provides a simple way to record story readings with illustrations or photos. 

Penultimate: $1.99 AU (Suitable for Years 5-8) 
A useful and very quick scrapbook/journal creator.

Mad Libs: FREE (Suitable for Years 5-6)
A classic that enables the user to input words that are then used to create a 'mad' story. Usually very popular with students and a bit of fun that enhances knowledge of grammar and provides reading practice. 

Haiku Poems: FREE
This app provides a range of poems based on the seasons. It also has instructions on how to compose within the Haiku structure. Students can send their own compositions for inclusion in the app. Useful for year 6 poetry unit.


Must Have Apps:

iTooch English: $5.49 AU (Suitable for Grade 5)
This really is a must have app that could potentially replace the use of a grammar text book. Currently on sale at $2.99 but will be $5.49. This app explains the concept, provides practice and then tests understanding. Hopefully the app will be available for year 6 in the near future. 

Grammar App HD: $1.99 AU (Suitable for Years 5-8) 
Provides lessons, reference information and practical applications of all aspects of Grammar. Also reinforces learning through games, quizzes and tests. Very useful. must have

Recommended Apps:
Grammar Games $0.99 AU (Suitable for Year 5-6)
This app has lessons followed by reinforcement using simple but quite challenging and fun games which require the user to 'fly' the words into the appropriate parts of speech airport hangars. 

Other interesting Apps 
Mobile Mouse: $2.99 AU 
Enables the use of the iPad to remotely control laptop - very handy when laptop is connected to IWB! 

eClickerHost $10.49 AU
The eClicker apps provide the opportunity for quizzing students whereby students individually log their responses.

eClicker: FREE 
The eClicker app works in conjunction with the eClicker Host paid app to provide opportunities for quizzing students whereby students individually log their responses.

Rover: FREE 
Enables user to play flash games - have yet to test on a school network! Would be useful for students to access 'Spelling City' games.

iSwifter $5.49 
Enables users to play flash games and movies. Would be useful for students to access 'Spelling City' games at home.


  1. These are some nice looking apps. It's funny how our technology is evolving today. iPads are now starting to become part of the curriculum for some schools. And these apps should aid the children's education.

  2. FYI - it's Professor Garfield, not Dr. Garfield. Also, the Mad Libs app is for the iPhone/iTouch, so small on iPad. And this is just a trial version; have to pay to upgrade to full book.

    1. Thank you Jaime
      I have made the changes in the article, thanks for the heads up.

  3. The free version of Words With Friends has an age restriction of 13+ which is unfortunate because it's a very beneficial app to have.

  4. Hi Greg,
    My name is Bob Levy and I work for Professor Garfield. Thanks for promoting the site. I just thought I'd give you a heads up, that this summer we will be releasing an incredible ELL site for Hispanic students/parents to learn English. It will also have a tremendous amount of science curriculum as part of it too. And, as the rest of the PGF site, it will available for free. There are about 8 professors working on developing the site right now. I hope you'll be impressed.
    Bob Levy

  5. Thanks for sharing ...Very nice post....

  6. Coming from a school that uses Ipads and other Apple products in daily education and school life, I believe that these apps are very helpful to students, such as myself. I find myself pointing out ones that I've used in the past, or ones that I will use. Thanks for the heads up!!!

  7. VerbBusters is a really useful app to help older kids (10 and up) get to grips with the irregular verbs.

  8. Good post and informative as well...