Featured Applications: Reading Applications Across the Components of Reading

By Cathy Buyrn, M.Ed.

The value of technology in the classroom has been a hot topic for a number of years, but amidst all the other pressures they face on a daily basis, teachers can get overwhelmed by the sheer number and glitz of the tools available.  Technology tools should not be selected simply because they have impressive bells and whistles. The instructional objectives must be kept in mind when choosing applications and tools.  That is, instead of designing instruction around a technology tool or application, the instructional objectives should drive the selection

In the area of reading, applications should be selected from the five essential components of reading, as defined by Reading First (Title I, Part B, Subpart 1): phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and text comprehension.  In the following, we will explore relevant applications available for iPhones, iPods, and iPads. 

Component of Reading



Phonemic Awareness

The knowledge and manipulation of sounds in spoken words



Voice Toddler Cards provide talking flash cards that help children associate sounds with words.


The relationship between written and spoken letters and sounds




The Word Wizard app is a modern day speak-and-spell.  Students can spell your words or work on preset lists.


The ability to read with accuracy and with appropriate rate, expression, and phrasing



The K-12 Timed Reading app keeps track of timed readings and provides multiple levels of stories to build fluency.




The Dr. Seuss books are available as downloadable apps that give students the option of reading independently, controlling a read aloud, or playing the book in its entirety.  Students can read along out loud or listen to the model.


The knowledge of words, their definitions, and context



This Dictionary.com app puts a fully featured dictionary and thesaurus at students’ fingertips for vocabulary development.

Text Comprehension

The understanding of meaning in text



Question Builder is designed to help elementary-aged children learn to answer abstract questions and create responses based on inference.  It provides various layers of flexible support.