5 Great Literacy Apps for K-2 Teachers and Students


There are a lottttt of apps out there!

Years ago, I helped pilot a 1:1 iPad program with my Kindergarteners. At that time, there were fewer education apps available (so much changes in 5 years!). Still, there were sooo many to choose from.

And honestly? I went a little app crazy! I downloaded more than my kids really needed.

Since then, I’ve learned that less can be more. 😉 Sure, I like to give my students new and different app options. But I also limit the number of apps I download on my own devices and on my students’ devices. It takes time to teach kids how to use an app. Having fewer apps enables students to learn how to use a select group of apps well (instead of learning MANY apps not very well)! It also makes it easier for students to locate the apps.

In today’s post, I’ll share 5 great literacy apps that I think are must-haves for any primary classroom. If you want to (or have to) limit the number of apps you download, I think that these 5 apps are a great place to start!

Love these apps for teaching reading! They're especially great for guided reading and centers in Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade.

Photo Credits; In Green, Shutterstock

Important Notes

Some of these apps are free, some are paid, and some have a free version AND paid version. In this post, I’m not mentioning prices or whether an app is free – these things change all the time and I don’t want to provide incorrect information!

Also, I have tested these apps on an iPad. All of the links are to the Apple Store. They may exist for Android, too – however, I have only used iPads in the classroom and can’t provide any information about using them on Android devices. Please do a Google search for the app name if you are having trouble locating one!

One last thing – if you are having tech troubles with any of the apps, I recommend contacting the creators/app support. I am not super techy and most likely can’t help! But when all else fails, exit out of the app, restart the device, and try again! 🙂



This app is so simple but so versatile! It’s basically a visual mapping tool for words or ideas.

Try using it for…


Vocabulary / concept mapping


Character traits (or any other comprehension skill that requires text evidence – see how I put each trait and an example in the same color?)


Planning for writing (especially great for opinion writing or informational writing)

Book Creator


If your kids need a little motivating during writing time, this app is a HUGE help! I used it as a reward for staying on task, completing writing projects, etc. We usually worked toward a class goal – for example, if everyone writes quietly for 20 minutes on Monday through Thursday, on Friday you can start a new book on the Book Creator app.

One thing I love is that kids can either write (with a finger or stylus) to create text. Having taught Kindergarten, this is a big deal. I want the kids to learn how to type, of course, but sometimes writing is just faster.


This app is pretty simple, but your students can get really creative with it. I love the fact that you can easily insert photos! You can have students use Safe Search for Kids to find photos about a topic. Then, they can write an informational book about it. Or, students can take pictures during a special experience in the classroom, and they can then write a book about it. Inserting photos is easy!


Do you see that little part of the dropdown menu that says “Add Sound”? Students can even record their own reading of a book!! This is great when your students are working on spelling traditionally (aka you can’t really read their writing yet 😉 ).

I love this app!

Guided Reading Organizer


I actually wrote a whole post on this app, so I won’t go too in-depth here. I recommend reading the complete post HERE.

In a nutshell, this app is fabulous for planning small group lessons (guided reading, math, etc.). You can put in all your students, record their levels, keep track of anecdotal notes for each student, keep track of your groups, easily pull up lessons, share lessons, re-use lessons, and the list goes on. It is AWESOME!!

groups-watermarked-357x500Word Wizard


This app has quite a few different functions. You can get kids to practice unscrambling words, spelling words, and taking quizzes.


However, my favorite use of this app is for guided reading!!

Magnetic letters and letter tiles are great. I love using hands-on materials with my kids. However, sometimes I just don’t have time to make little baggies of all the letters the kids will need a certain day!

Instead, I give each child an iPad and have them open the Word Wizard app. I have them turn off the sound and then touch the part of the screen that says “Talking Movable Alphabet.” They can then manipulate letters to make words!


In addition to the regular alphabet, there are also some spelling chunks and patterns kids can manipulate (check out the bottom of each of these images). Love this feature!!





This app really is epic. 😉 It’s full of free, high-quality books that students can read! And it’s free for you and your students!

You create your own login and a login for each of your students. Using the app (or the desktop version), you can assign texts, make quizzes, and monitor how long students spend time reading books in the app,


When kids log into the app, they see a different screen – with assignments, recommendations, and more. The design is great (kind of like Netflix) and the images are so eye-catching. Very motivating for our little readers!!



These are some of my “must-have” literacy apps – what are yours? I’d love it if you shared your favorites in the comments below!!


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7 years ago

My absolute favorite app for teaching is GoodNotes 4 – Notes & PDF ( It allows you to use your iPad like a notebook with all different pen colors and highlighters. You can annotate PDFs which is very helpful when you buy unit plans on Teachers Pay Teachers. I use it to write notes in meetings, make sketches, and do all my lesson plans. I make a template, upload it, write on it, then export it to my Google Drive to share and print. No more messy erasing all over the plans! When I need to move something in the… Read more »

7 years ago

It spans the subject areas, but my favorite by far is Seesaw. 🙂 Love it!! I also love chatterpix and Kahoot

7 years ago

Hello! Our school uses Samsung Tablets. Do you have an app similar to Word Wizzard that you would recommend for these tablets. I love the idea of using this instead of baggies and magnetic letters all the time.

5 years ago

I have just discipovered plickers, still experimenting but a very easy way to gather kids responses. You load your students (I have students numbered in roll order), print out response cards which are numbered. Each card has a small A, B, C, D on each side. The question is displayed on the board ( you can make a powerpoint slide with pictues to correspond to the multiple choice answers for younger students), & students hold up their card. The teacher can very quickly gather student responses using the camera. It graphs the answers & keeps individual respones.


I’m Alison, a literacy specialist. I love getting kids excited about reading and writing – and sharing teaching ideas with other teachers!

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