English Language Arts Resources
ILWritingMatters is here to provide educators with current research-based support for writing that aligns with the Illinois Learning Standards incorporating the Common Core. On this site, visitors can find grade level specific tools and resources that relate to text types and purposes, production and distribution of writing, research to build and present knowledge and a range of writing. We welcome feedback!
WordsWithFriends-EDU the game now allows students to play with their classmates. Educators create a closed classroom that only students with the class code can enter. The platform also has a dictionary component so students can check to see if what they want to play is actually a word or verify the meanings of words played by their classmates. This is an app for iOS and Andriod, but can also be played on the computer so ChromeBooks and laptops will work as well. Educators can also setup a "community" class and invite parents to play as well!
Pobble 365 is a Picture a Day story starter with additional resources. The pictures are magnificent and thought provoking and come with activities that can be either shared on a projector or downloaded in the provided PDF's. Educators can also browse previous days photos and content if they are looking for a specific topic or concept connection. Below each photo there are sections with Sentence starters, Question Time, Sentence Challenge, Sick Sentences and Perfect Picture activities.
Scholastic Story Starter - a creative way to create a story starter for students K- 6th grade. (Although other grade may find it helpful.) Students can select from adventure, fantasy, sci-fi or have the computer choose "scrambler". The machine then spins four sections of the story sentence to create the starter.
Storyline Oline is a website that incorporates the idea that reading to children has been repeatedly shown to improve their reading, writing and communication skills, logical thinking, concentration and general academic aptitude, as well as inspire a love of reading. The SAG-AFTRA Foundation records well-known actors reading children’s books (James Earl Jones reading To Be A Drum) and makes graphically dynamic videos so that children around the world can be read to with just the click of a Storyline Online video book image. New books are added periodically. The offer alternative players if your school blocks YouTube, just select the "players" button on the top left of the page to choose.
EPIC! has FREE elementary level eBOOKS!!!! Educators can create a free account with 36 students each. Students can check out books and read them on iOS or Android devices, ChromeBooks or any internet browser. Early Readers, Chapter Books, Non-Fiction, Read-to-Me Audio, and more. Books such as Fancy Nancy, Big Nate, Warriors, Ramona, Star Wars, Disney Frozen, and National Geographic Kids. Educators need to sign up at the link provided here and choose the "get started" button within the picture. This is not the standard sign up. You will receive an email saying you have an educators account. If you receive an email that says "trial", call them to change to educator's account.
Vocabulary.com this is a smart dictionary with an adaptive learning game that will have students mastering new words in no time. Educators can sign up for a free account and create as many classes as they need. The platform has ready made vocabulary lists from literature, historical documents, speeches, test prep, and news. educators can edit those lists or create lists to study. The free version has limited tracking and statistics, but educators are able to monitor how the students are doing and what words they are struggling with. Schools and districts have the option to pay for an EDUCATOR EDITION.
Storybird is an online writing platform that educators can create a class account and manage students where student emails are not required. Students can create stories/books using artwork/graphics provided by artists curated from Storybird. Books can either be simple "picture" books (K-5) to Long form Chapter books (5-9), although students can select either no matter what grade designation is assigned by the teacher. There is also a Poetry option that allows for another style. Storybird does have a monetary component in the ability to purchase the books that the students have created. This is also the only way to "print" off the work that has been created by the students. PDF printing currently cost $1.99 per story or by "credits" earned by parents purchasing books. ($12.99 and up) They do offer school fundraising opportunities. Educators can share the books created by embedding the books on a website or in emails, etc.
Analyze My Writing is a free online tool that will return an analysis of any writing that is pasted into the text box on the page. The platform will return information for basic text statistics, common words and phrases, readability, Lexile density, passive voice, cloze text, word-sentence-character counts, use of punctuation marks, and word/sentence lengths.
Rhyme Zone is a simple platform that allows users to input a word or phrase, select search and then return words or phrases that rhyme or nearly rhyme. There are also options for synonyms, antonyms, homophones and many other choices. There are other advanced features available also. No login is required to use this platform.
Learn Out Loud is a platform that has free audio and video titles of literature in contemporary, classics, literary history, drama, poetry, and short stories to name a few. Listen to the Scarlet Letter or the Chronicles of Narnia read from the voice of an actor or the author themselves will give a new voice to the story. Most of the files can be downloaded and played later, all can be streamed.
ReadWorks Digital is the partner resource to ReadWorks.org platform that offers reading comprehension support. The resource works on Windows, Macbooks, Chromebooks and iOS devices. Included on the website are Nonfiction and literary articles, Question sets, Vocabulary support, Paired Texts, StepReads, Audio versions of articles, and an Article-A-DayTM.
NewsELA has news articles that can be searched by topic and then printed in different Lexile levels. The same article on Lions can be printed in Lexile level 450 through 950 so that all students can read the content in a level that is comfortable for them and then be able to participate in a project or conversation on the subject of the article. Educators can also create text sets to assign to a class, create quizzes and include writing assignments within NewsELA. There is a writing component built into the platform where the educator can designate prompts within the article and students can create the writings.
Little Bird Tales is a digital storytelling and lesson creation site intended primarily for kids in Pre K - 6th grade, though many teens and adults use our site regularly because it’s very flexible and easy to use. Users can create stories, reports, interviews, podcasts, interactive lessons, etc. using their own photos, drawings, jpg images, text, and voice. The tales and completed lessons will playback in a slideshow style format, with audio (if recorded). Educators have a free account and can share the created books via email or as a "public" book. No downloads of the created book is available unless the account is a paid account. Currently the coast is $24.99/ year for 1 educators and 20 students.
Tween Tribune (TeenTribune, TweenTribune, TTEspañol and TTJunior) (hereinafter collectively referred to as "TTribune") is a free online educational service offered by the Smithsonian for use by K-12 grade Teachers and students. TTribune consists of daily news sites for kids, tweens, and teens, and includes text, photos, graphics, and audio and/or video materials prepared by the Smithsonian and others about current events, history, art, culture and science. TTribune also includes lessons, instructional and assessment tools, and opportunities for the registered users to communicate with other participants.Articles can be assigned based on the readers Lexile level or printed out by reading level as well.
WriteReader is an ebook creator for students that haven't even started writing yet. Students insert a picture, either by taking a photo with a tablet or webcam, type how they think the words are written and then the "adult" type under their words the correct words. Students can also then records themselves saying the words on each page. These books can be created online, using an iOS device or Android device. Ebooks can be shared via sending the link in an email. The books are hosted online and can be marked as private library.
Biblionasium is a fun and engaging reading community that will help you connect to students outside of the classroom. Educators can setup favorite books and recommended lists on virtual bookshelves that will be available to students at all times. Students can email their reading logs instead of handing them in on paper; educators can set up fun challenges and rewards that will help encourage students to keep reading, and educators can set up a reading list that the students won’t lose. It brings children together and gives them a chance to easily recommend books to each other.
Google Lit Trips are downloadable files that mark the journeys of characters from famous literature on the surface of Google Earth. Along the way, place-marks with pop-up windows contain "just in time" resources including relevant media, thought-provoking discussion starters, and links to supplementary information about "real world" references in that portion of the story. Our focus is on creating engaging and relevant literary experiences for students. K-12 and Higher education titles available. Educators can also request titles and work with the creators to help build new content.
Write About is a platform to connect students to a community of writers and an authentic audience to develop growth through the entire writing process. Hundreds of ideas filtered by grade level, category or keyword, quickly create and share ideas with your own images, text and voice. Educators can create a closed group with another class across the country or within the same school. The free account has some limitation on the number of posts, (enough for a unit or lesson). However, if this is something that fits in with an educators entire school year the full version is currently $24/95/yr for the whole class.
Plagiarism Checker website allows text to be entered into a text box and then submitted for verification. The website returns the results within minutes highlighting any passages that have been found to be plagiarized and identifies where they were found on the right hand side of the screen. There is also a percentage given to how much of the text has been plagiarized. The free account has a limit of 5000 words. Larger documents will need to be either entered in sections or using the paid account.
Poetry Out Loud is a website that works with educators to build an understanding of poetry through local and state competitions. Information is below, however on the website is also many audio readings of poems and other educator resources that can be used independently of the competitions.
Poetry Out Loud curriculum materials include the online poetry anthology, a comprehensive teacher’s guide, videos of student performances, lesson plans, and promotional and media guides. Hard copies of materials are free for teachers participating in the official program. Dates are posted each year and usually start in August and finals are in April.
Listenwise is an award-winning listening skills platform. We harness the power of listening to advance literacy and learning in all students. (ebooks, podcasts, audio books) Our collection of podcasts and public radio keeps teaching connected to the real world and builds student listening skills at the same time. Listen to engaging real world podcasts. Read along with the interactive transcript. Discuss with students to deepen understanding. Many English Learners are not acquiring the level of academic language needed for college and career readiness. Find out how listening to authentic stories can help!