The Big List of Digital Language Arts Resources!

by - July 28, 2019



[This post may contain affiliate Links]

With the new school year nearly upon us (can you believe that summer is almost over already?), I am beginning to plan how I want this school year to unfold. This year, my 7th graders will be 1:1, meaning that each student will be issued a laptop that they will be responsible for carrying to and from school. I have had a good amount of laptops in my classroom the last few years, so my students have had ample access to the plethora of digital resources available online, but this year I will be able to really put some of them to good, consistent use.

I love anything digital, I am a total sucker for a good resource that can be used on a computer. Not only does it make grading easier for me as the teacher, but it reduces the number of copies that I have to make, the amount of waste that my classroom is producing, it keeps my students engaged, and it makes everything portable to and from the classroom.

So in light of this, I thought that I would share some of my favorite digital resources. Some of these are Language Arts specific, and some of them can be used for any subject area, any grade level, and any classroom. All of these are user-friendly and offer tons of positives for your classroom!

1. CommonLit. 

Website Address: http://www.CommonLit.org 

Price for use: 100% Free to use, run by a non-profit!

What is it: CommonLit is a digital reading catalogue full of thousands of fiction non-fiction, and poetry resources. It is standards-based, organized by standard and grade-level, and searching for texts that target specific standards and skills is simple to do. I can create a class and input my students into an online classroom, assign articles to the whole glass, groups, or individual students. They answer standards-based multiple-choice questions and short response questions that I can grade and give feedback on. The teacher dashboard keeps track of all kinds of data, including how students are performing on specific standards so that I know what to target. You can also send articles back to students after they have turned them in to "try again" after you give feedback.

Features I Love: There is a vocabulary function where students can highlight unknown words and get a definition. There is also a translate function that will translate single words to Spanish, which is excellent for my ESOL students. There is also a highlighting function that students can use to annotate. My favorite feature is the guided reading mode where only a portion of the text is revealed at a time and students have to answer a question about that portion of text before the next portion is revealed. This encourages students to read with purpose. In the teacher dashboard, it tells you how many attempts each student took to answer the guided reading questions so if you have a student took 3 attempts to answer, then you know that particular student needs to slow down or perhaps has some other reading dilemma hindering their success!

How I use it: In my classroom, CommonLit is our bread and butter. If I am targeting a specific standard, let's say Central Idea for example, I can search the database for an article - fiction or non-fiction - with this target in mind, pull a text to read with the class doing guided instruction as a mentor text, and then afterwords I can assign a different article that has the same focus to the whole class for them to work on independently. The data screen in the teacher dashboard gives me instant feedback and I can monitor how students are performing on the standard. I can then use this data to form small groups for reteaching or to pull certain kids who seem to be struggling.


2. NewsELA

Website Address: http://www.NewsELA.com

Price for Use: 100% Free

What is it: NewsELA functions in a lot of ways just like CommonLit, except it focuses on non-fiction news articles on a variety of topics. Articles can be organized and searched by standard, subject, event, or topic. They can also be leveled by grade-level. They offer a variety of text sets that are themed, which can be great if you are planning a themed unit.

Features I Love: I love that this website offers current events. While CommonLit focuses on generalized non-fiction, NewsELA offers real news stories. Students can read on current events and learn about the world around them. The teacher function allows you to create and manage classes and assign articles to students, however, the teacher data dashboard is not thorough like CommonLit, so it is not a reliable progress monitoring tool.

How I use it: I use NewsELA if there are articles that pair with other things that we are reading. For example, I do a unit every year on Mount Everest (my kids love this, I will be writing about unit building soon!), so I can search NewsELA for current news stories about things happening on Mount Everest currently, like the garbage crisis, or the overcrowding on the mountain. This website provides great supplemental reading.


3. NearPod

Website Address: http://www.nearpod.com

Price for Use: Free to use, some features require a Gold Membership for 50 students of $120/year and up to 75 students for $349/year, If you sign up for the Webinar class and become a Nearpod Certified teacher, you will get 6 months of the Gold membership for free. This is worth it and I recommend doing it!

What is it: Nearpod is a presentation program that allows you to great interactive lessons. You can create slides, quizzes, discussion boards, insert videos, pictures, and digital 360 field-trips to destinations all over the world. Students log in and join the lesson and you control the lesson as it progress through the lesson activities. At the end of the lesson, you an download the lesson data including scores for quizzes, discussion board responses, and polls. Lessons are saved on your dashboard, so you can use them year after year.

Features I love: Interactive field trips using 360 imaging students can zoom in and "travel" through many destinations all over the world. Quizzes with immediate feedback, polls, discussion boards, videos, pictures... this program has literally everything.

How I use it: I LOVE LOVE LOVE this program. I have created digital lessons alongside mentor texts that students have in front of them and Can use as part of the lesson. I have taken my students on digital field trips to the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the tomb of Abraham Lincoln, Fords Theater, and may other places! I love the interactive-ness of this platform and my students are 100% engaged at all times. Their favorite function is the discussion board which allows them to respond to a question, post it to the board, and everyone else can see and read the responses and "like" them just like a social media platform. This encourages quieter students to participate in a class discussion because there is that level of security that you have behind a keyboard (keyboard warriors?). They also like to receive "likes" on their posts from their classmates. The discussion board also incorporates Google Images so they can search for pictures, which I love because my ELL Students have trouble sometimes expressing their thoughts so being able to associate with pictures allows them to participate in the discussion too! This program is 100% worth paying for the membership.

4. Edulastic

Website Address: http://www.edulastic.com

Price for Use: Free to use, the Premium membership is $100/year, but honestly the free edition is all you need!

What is it: Edulastic is an assessment platform that can be used for any subject area. This program allows you to input your students into an online class, you can create interactive assessments, assign them, and students can complete them in class or at home.

Features I Love: My absolute favorite thing about this program is that you can get LIVE feedback as students are taking an assessment. They have their computers open taking the assessment, and you can have your teacher dashboard open and as they answer questions, you can see their answers in live time. I love this because if a student is rushing, playing around, answering every question wrong, etc. I can go see what's going on and stop them before they do any more damage. This also keeps track of questions by standard so you get standard-based feedback. Another wonderful feature is that there is a database of assessments organized by state standards that you can pull from that other teachers in your state have created! This was wonderful last year for me because some wonderful teacher here in Florida took the time to input our practice state assessment and I was able to assign it to my students when we were preparing for state assessment.

How I use it: I use this as a formative and summative assessment tool. This definitely beats paper-based assessments, and it keeps track of standard-based data that I refer to when making instructional decisions. It also allows me to have students re-do assessments as many times as I want, which I love.  I have not paid for the premium membership, and I haven't needed to.



5. Quizlet

Website Address: http://www.Quizlet.com

Price for Use: Free to use, Premium membership is $35.99/year and allows you to create classes to keep track of student progress. I have only ever used the free option.

What is it: Quizlet is a study tool that is amazing. I used it myself when I was studying for my certification exams. Quizlet allows you to put vocabulary sets together for students to study. There are several interactive study tools.

Features I Love: I love that it is so easy to create a study set. They have a dictionary attached to the program, so you don't have to look up definitions and type them. All you do is type in the word and their database finds it. They also have a photo database so you can do picture associations as well. Students can use the study set as flashcards, there is a matching game (my students always love this), a game called Gravity where they have to type in the word before the definition rock falls to the ground, the program will read out loud to students so they can hear the words and definitions - it's amazing.

How I use it: I start a lesson with 15 minutes of Quizlet. Students log-in with a partner and practice a set of vocabulary words that pertains specifically to the text that we will be examining. After 15 minutes, I give students a paper-based matching quiz and they have 2 minutes to match as many correctly as they can. The partners that have the most correct get a little prize. I have had huge success doing this at the start of a new text! I also use this for students to practice academic vocabulary as a station or a study tool.

6. ESLVideo

Website Address: http://www.eslvideo.com

Price to use: Free!

What is it: This website has tons of videos that they pull from YouTube - clips from TV shows, movies, music videos, cartoons, you name it - for the purpose of practicing listening. Each video has questions that have to be answered as students listen. The music videos require students to fill-in-the-blanks with the missing lyrics.

Features I love: I use this mostly with my ESOL students to practice listening in English, but this is a great tool for all students to practice listening.

How I use it: I assign these to students by putting the link address in our online classroom. They listen to the video and answer the questions and keep track of their scores on a data sheet. This is typically a station assignment because the videos are pretty short. Students can complete more than one video in a single rotation. They enjoy this because they get to watch videos. I assign a lot of current music videos so they appreciate that. There are also some Mr. Bean videos that are hilarious and they love those! Sometimes if we have some extra time, we will do one as a whole class and they really get into it!

7. ListenWise

Website Address: http://www.ListenWise.com

Price to Use: Free to use the database, $299/year for premium with includes the ability to create classes and keep track of progress.

What is it: Listenwise is a database for listening activities. Students listen to audio and answer questions about it.

Features I Love: The database is enormous and you can find audio clips on just about anything. I love that students have to answer questions about the audio and practice active listening. This is great for ESOL students, but all students benefit from active listening practice. This is another great activity for stations because the audio clips aren't long.

How I use it: I use ListenWise as a station activity and assign audio clips that students must complete. They keep track of their progress on data sheets.





8. Khan Academy

Website Address: http://www.KhanAcademy.com

Price to Use: Free!

What is it: Khan Academy provides free video lessons that students can watch on a variety of topics with quizzes and practice for students to complete. Khan Academy is excellent for math, but I use this for Grammar.

Features I Love: In Khan Academy, I can create a class and assign activities for students to complete. Students can view the video lesson as many times as they want and answer questions or practice. I love that there are so many grammar lessons because it provides video-based direct instruction that students can engage in without me. We don't always have as much time for grammar as I would like, so this is a wonderful activity to assign at a station so that students are being exposed to grammar-based direct instruction with practice.

How I use it: Sometimes we will do a Khan Academy video whole-group. Typically I do the lessons on coordinate adjectives and DOSASCOMP because this is one of the big 7th grade Language standards in Florida and it accompanies the Cornell Notes that we take on this skill beautifully. Otherwise, this is another great activity for students to be engaged in at a station.

9. Freckle

Website Address: http://www.freckle.com

Price to Use: Free! There is a Premium level, but it is intended for whole-school or whole-district instruction. For teachers it is free.

What is it: Freckle is a program for math, ELA, science, and social studies that allows teachers to assign lessons and texts to students that are on their level. How this works is that students take an assessment that determines their reading level or skill level and then you as the teacher assign a text and students will receive that same text on their own level. So essentially, the students in one classroom will be reading the same text but it will be differentiated for them. These also include standard-based questions!

Features I Love: I love that this program differentiates for you. I teach ESOL, so my students in one class can be on severely different reading levels and this program takes care of the differentiation for me. There are tons of texts on lots of different topics that you can assign to students.

How I use it: Again, this is another great tool for stations. Students can log-on and work independently. This, of course, would come after direct instruction from me using a similar mentor text. My students like Freckle because it gives them the ability to feel successful regardless of their reading level.


10. ReadWorks

Website Address: http://www.readworks.com

Price to Use: Free!

What is it: ReadWorks is similar to CommonLit and NewsELA where you can search and assign texts to students accompanied by standard-based questions. The difference is that ReadWorks gives you the ability to assign and/or print texts on different levels, which allows for excellent differentiation.

Features I Love: I love the leveled readers for differentiation, and I love that there are themed text sets that you can assign to students so they work through an entire text set with similar skills and topics instead of just assigning a singular article. The self-pacing that this allows for is great for students who work at different paces!

How I use it: I use ReadWorks most with my ESOL students because I can print texts at different levels and work with students in small groups to do vocabulary and practice fluency. I use this mostly in small group instruction when I work with students at a "teacher instruction" station.


Shop new arrivals from Cricut!


11. Kahoot

Website Address: http://www.kahoot.com

What is it: I am sure that everyone knows about Kahoot by now! :) Kahoot is a quiz platform that allows you too create quizzes and hold live competitive quiz sessions. Students log into the quiz with a code and them they have to compete with one another to answer correctly as fast as they can. The competitiveness of Kahoot makes for extremely engaging studying of vocabulary and concepts that require a bit of memorization.

Features I Love: Aside from it being very engaging for practicing, Kahoot also allows you to download an Excel spread sheet of data from the quiz session so that you can see how students answered questions. This can be used as a tool to determine small groups for reteaching or enrichment. It also allows you to use the Kahoot activity as a grade!

How I use it: I use Kahoot often because my students beg for it. They are so competitive and make a big deal about winning. Winners have bragging rights sometimes for days after we play Kahoot. I use this before an assessment. I always use Kahoot as a classroom assignment grade so that students try their best, but the competitive nature of it typically takes care of that :)

12. Quizizz

Website Address: http://www.quizziz.com

What is it: Quizziz is the same thing as Kahoot with one exception - you do not have to hold live sessions. You can create the quiz and students can log in and take it whenever. It maintains the same spirit of competition though because it keeps track of every student's progress and after each question it shows students where they are on the leader board. So they still have to be just as fast and accurate as they would with a live Kahoot lesson.

Features I Love: I love that students can do this on their own time, at home, for homework, if they are absent they can make it up. I also love the memes that appear when students answer a question right or wrong because they offer encouragement in a humorous way.

How I use it: I have not used Quizziz very much in my classroom, but my son's science teacher used it last year as a homework assignment. Students had to complete the same vocabulary quiz 5 times for the week's vocabulary words. They kept track of how many times a student had taken the quiz by using asterisks after their name, so if you were John and it was your fourth time taking the quiz, you would log in with John****. This was effective and allowed the teacher to keep track of student progress as they did the quiz over and over. It definitely helped my son commit vocabulary to memory.

13. Google Earth

Website Address: http://earth.google.com

What is it: Google Earth is a map of the entire world that includes street-view photos of nearly the entire planet. Google Earth allows students to explore and learn geography, which isn't even really taught in schools anymore.

Features I Love: I love street-view. Students get to have up-close looks are places all over the world.

How I use it: Hear me out on this one, I know it seems obscure so I will give you an example and include some photos. Every year I do a unit on Mount Everest. My kids always love this. Last year, I tried using Google Maps for a quick geography lesson and it was phenomenal! I created a Mount Everest scavenger hunt and students had to go to google earth and find the places on the list and mark them on the earth. In Google Earth, you can drop a pin in multiple places and connect them! So we pretended that we were Mountaineers about to embark on an Everest trek. The first place that we would arrive is Kathmandu, Nepal. Then you would fly to the Tenzig-Norgay airport in Lukla and star your journey on foot to base camp. There are several stops long the way on this trek, and my students had to find each of these places. They marked every stop all the way from Kathmandu to the summit of Everest. When you zoom back out, you can see the entire journey. This was such a great geography lesson because I did not tell them anything - they had to find everything themselves. I was shocked how fast they were able to locate Nepal on the map and dive into their scavenger hunt. They LOVED this activity. And as they were finding and marking places, they were able to explore using the Street View feature. I think that this is one of the best lessons that I have done in my classroom and it was so simple and not even ELA related! Below are some pictures of my students working on their maps:




You could do this with any place and have students explore. The possibilities are really endless with Google Earth and it's free to use so you can't go wrong! After my students completed their Everest hunt, they asked if they could explore and I gave them a few minutes. Some students in my ESOL class found their home towns in their home countries and showed me their schools ad neighborhoods and that was pretty cool. Some other students explored the streets of Paris and London - it was a great learning experience for them and I will be doing this again!

I hope that this list contained at least one resource that you are excited to try! If you know of any others that were not on this list, PLEASE drop it in the comments because I am a digital resource hoarder!



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3 comments

  1. i love the fact that some of these digital resources can be set up as stations. I however do not have a class set of computers or even a small group set so it makes it hard. Do you do stations every day and are they more than 15 minutes.

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  2. I absolutely LOVE readtheory.org for their nonfiction text passages and question sets which get scored for you. You can print off data about each student individually and that helps me feel super prepared and knowledgeable about my students' progress in IEP team meetings. Highly recommend it!!

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    Replies
    1. Also, thank you for compiling and sharing this list!! :D

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