15 of the Best Apps for Improving Reading Comprehension

AppsComprehension – the #1 goal of reading – is always on an educator’s mind. We strive to help students improve their fluency and build rich vocabulary because we know that fluency and a broad vocabulary support comprehension.

While technology doesn’t replace a good teacher, it serves an important and emerging role in supporting student learning. Good teaching calls for differentiation and a literacy-rich learning environment that supports personalized learning.

Terry Heick, our friend at TeachThought, has compiled this list below, in an order of general complexity, of 15 apps for improved reading comprehension with skills that include word and sentence fluency, recall, reading speed, and critical thinking skills

By the nature of reading and literacy progress, most of the apps are for K-5 and SLP, but the latter several, especially Reading Trainer, Compare Twist, and Enchanted Dictionary, can be used through high school in the right context.

15 Of The Best Educational Apps For Improved Reading Comprehension

1. Reading Comprehension

Price: $2.99

Primary Audience: K-3Apps

Idea: Focusing on non-fiction texts and assessment, with the ability to create your own lessons (text + assessment).

2. Rainbow Sentences

Price: $7.99

Primary Audience: K-5 and SLP.

Idea: Like SentenceBuilder, this app focuses on sentence fluency. The who/what/where/why/when of each sentence are color-coded to emphasize word function.

3. Kids Reading Comprehension Level 1

Price: .99

Primary Audience: K-3 and SLP

Idea: Similar to the previous two comprehension apps, this provides short passages and brief assessments at their conclusion. Comprehension here is addressed through brief bursts of non-fiction text with the expectation of assessment at the end.

4. SentenceBuilder

Price: $5.99

Primary Audience: K-5 and SLP.

Idea: Helping students compose grammatically correct sentences, which helps both reading and writing fluency.

5. StoryBuilder

Price: $7.99

Primary Audience: K-6

Idea: Provide an easy-to-use framework to help learners create and understand stories and basic narrative sequence.

6. Aesop’s Quest

Price: .99

Primary Audience: K-6

Idea: With 6 available levels, the idea is to add gamification and interactive elements to story recall and comprehension.

7. Reading Comprehension: Fable

Price: .99

Primary Audience: K-6

Idea: Brief passages with multiple-choice recall at the end, but the added twist of competition, where up to 4 players can compete to answer recall and comprehension-based questions. May scare some students off, but some may thrive with this approach.

8. Reading Comprehension

Price: $1.99

Primary Audience: K-8

Idea: Comprehension is enforced through short passages with accompanying visuals, and persistent multiple-choice based assessment. Available grade levels from Kindergarten to early middle school. (The link above will take you to grades 2-3; see others in “More apps by…” area.)

9. Second Grade Reading Comprehension

Price: $2.99

Primary Audience: K-6 (all apps)

Idea: A wide variety of stories that encourage comprehension by sheer opportunity for practice. Progress can be set to automatically forward to parents and teachers, and you can also create your own stories to use as well.

10. Reading Remedies

Price: .99

Primary Audience: K-5 and SLP.

Idea: Comprehension is addressed here by breaking the process of reading down into blends, word fluency, sight words, and then general recall, with suggested activities to improve general fluency.

11. Speech with Milo: Sequencing

Price: $2.99

Primary Audience: K-5 and SLP.

Idea: Improve common narrative comprehension by improving fluency with sequencing (chronological, narrative, etc.)

12. BrainPOP Featured Movie

Price: Free with in-app subscriptions from $2-$7 per month.

Primary Audience: K-8

Idea: High-quality, animated content with assessment across content areas.

13. Enchanted Dictionary

Price: $1.99

Primary Audience: Grades 6-12

Idea: Improving general and academic vocabulary across content areas for improved fluency and comprehension.

14. Compare A Twist

Price: $1.99

Primary Audience: K-12

Idea: Use compare and contrast practice to improve fluency and comprehension, and general academic progress. Teachers can create their own lessons, comparing and contrasting everything from musical genres and cell types to geometric shapes and Shakespearean sonnets.

15. Reading Trainer

Price: $4.99 with in-app purchase “packs”

Primary Audience: Grades 6-12+

Idea: Improved reading speed for improved comprehension.


What do you think? Are there any Apps that you’ve found useful for supporting reading comprehension?

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Kimberly has been a teacher, administrator, and literacy consultant who worked in districts across the country to improve student literacy achievement. She currently serves as an Educational Specialist with Solution Tree and project manager for large-scale PLC implementations. Her new book, Blended Vocabulary: Harnessing the Power of Digital Tools and Effective Instruction, was recently released in February, 2017.