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These English apps will help students understand sentence structure, grammar, and Shakespeare

english-appsApps for STEM education top many educators’ lists today. And while STEM is a very important part of classroom education, it is not the only part. As states work to implement the Common Core State Standards, English and language arts education has become an important focus.

To help expand your access to English resources, eSchool News has compiled a list of English apps for students across the K-12 age spectrum.

These apps range from helping to teach students to write sentences, to helping them understand how to use and recognize literary devices. Some of these apps can also be helpful for creating lesson plans, taking and sharing notes and sharing presentations.

[Editor’s note: App prices are current as of press time. Prices may change.]

1. PLAY-DOH Create ABCs: Android- $1.99

This app helps kids learn how to write letters and form words using PLAY DOH to virtually mold letters. Once a letter is completed, the app shows the user words that begin with the same letter. It also features a matching game where you match letters with PLAY DOH creations to reinforce the sounds of each letter.

When you get a question right, you are given a PLAY-DOH creation to mold and play with. The app saves all the PLAY DOH creations for users to access later to create their own stories and scenes.

(Next page: Seven English apps)

2. Alpha Writer: iPhone/iPad, $4.99

The app, complete with original illustrations, teaches children to read, write and spell phonetically. It also encourages creativity by allowing the user to write their own stories.

3. Grammar Up:  iPhone/iPad, $4.99

With more than 1,800 questions in 20 grammar categories, this app can prepare students for standardized testing. The multiple choice quizzes which are broken up by topic, help students improve their grammar skills and vocabulary.

The app also includes a feature which allows you to set specific time constraints for the practice tests and keeps track of your performance in a particular topic or test. There is also a free version of this app.

4. English LaunchPad: iPad, $4.99

This app provides a package of tools that can be used by both teachers and students. Features include flashcards covering an array of topics, practice exercises, a quiz generator, grammar structures and a translator. The app is specifically useful to teachers because it also includes lesson plans, a student roster, student tracking and a white board.

5. Literary Analysis Guide: iPhone/iPad, $3.99

Dividing literature into three “wheels”- poetry, prose, and rhetoric, this app helps students to visualize the connections between literary devices and the relationships between each style or meaning. Simply click a term on the wheel and the app will give you a detailed definition, examples from literature, and additional questions to help students understand how the device is being used in the literature that they are studying.

The app is also a great tool for teachers to use in creating effective lesson plans.

6. Microsoft OneNote: Mac, Windows 7, Windows 8, iPad/iPhone, Windows Phone, Android, Free

The advantage of taking notes with this app is that it allows you to include pictures, videos and weblinks right into your notes. It also stores all your notes in one place for easy access and allows you to move the text around the page.

You can also share your notes and edit them as a group which is a helpful feature for group projects and in class collaboration. It also provides the opportunity for a teacher to share their own notes or presentations so that students can add on their own notes and things they have learned.

7. Shakespeare in Bits: iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch, Free

Shakespeare is often challenging for students to read, and actually understand what they’re reading. This app allows students to read, listen and watch animated versions of Shakespeare’s plays. It takes unabridged versions of Shakespeare’s plays (which can be purchased in the app store for $14.99) and breaks them into “bits” so that students can take their time and understand the words more clearly.

It also provides in line translations to modern English to help with the more difficult passages. The app also includes animated versions of each play. Students can watch the scene and read along with subtitles. They can also just listen to the sound of the video and read along on the separate text tab, access notes on the section or read a summary. This app is available for Apple’s Volume Purchase Program discount for educational institutions.

Are there English apps you’re using in your classroom that we haven’t listed? Share them with us in the comment section below.

Sydney Mineer is an editorial intern at eSchool News.

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