Top 5 Apps for literacy

Literacy development in schools is  a real focus for all and there are many apps out there that provide teachers and students the opportunity to develop their skills in a creative and engaging way.

Here we take a look at our Top 5 apps and how they could be used in different areas.

Mat Pullen

  1. Book Creator – I love this as it allows students to make their own interactve books, even if they can not write yet they can simply add their voice, developing oracy skills
  2. Shadow Puppet – Nice and simple way to make how to guides, add an image in a sequence and takk over it.
  3. Lego Movie Maker – Making movies is a great way to tell a story, plan, script, voice over.
  4. Yakit – A fun one for sharing your thoughts or voicing a character
  5. iMovie – a more advanced app but still easy to use and create a story in a film format.

Dan Oakes

  1. Book Creator – This is such an incredibly versatile app that enables all children, irrespective of ability to create unique, personalised and professional looking interactive books for any genre and purpose.
  2. Action Movie FX – Create incredible writing prompts for your class by making the opening of a story using professional looking, jaw dropping special effects.
  3. Aurasma – A great Augmented Reality app. Your pupils can make the walls come to life and tell stories by simply recording a video and attaching it to any static image in your school.
  4. AlienSky – Simply take a picture and then create a sense of mystery by adding strange moons, nebulas, stars and lens flares. Challenge the children to describe the scene in a ‘quick write’ session.
  5. iMovie – The perfect story telling app. Either use it as a teacher to create a visual prompt for your class or ask your children to create their own stories.

Steve Bambury

  1.  Grow Grammar – Formerly known as Sentopiary, this is my favourite app for teaching sentence structure. It uses a smart branching structure to identify word classes as students build sentences.
  2. Word Wizard – This is my pick for EYFS. Fantastic for letter formation and recognition and fine motor skills in general. The fact that you can fully customise and tweak everything from the words in use to the font make this an excellent choice for younger students.
  3. Trading Cards – One of several excellent, free apps from Read Write Think, this app allows students to create their own trading cards and uses prompt questions to help them structure each section. Great for character studies.
  4. Newsela – Free newspaper app for students that provides daily articles differentiated to meet a range of reading levels. Comprehension questions included too!
  5. Exciting Sentences: Pupil Edition – Incorporating Alan Peat’s techniques has had a huge impact on the writing of our Year 6 students. This app packs all they need into a student-friendly package.


Matt Smith

  1. Book Creator – what can I say about this app?!  It has been a key app for many years now due to its versatility.  Providing students with the opportunity to create digital books instantly engages and the ability to add video/audio increases accessibility for students with additional learning needs.
  2. Padlet – one of my favourites; Padlet is a collaboration tool that provides students with a workspace where they can share ideas.  Use this as a lesson starter to develop word banks that can be shared and printed for working walls.  Simple but hugely impactful.
  3. Green Screen by Doink! – this app allows students to work ‘in the moment’ and is perfect for fiction writing.  Jump on the board the sentence train – each student creates a descriptive sentence against a backdrop of their choice, and then shares for a class movie.  Instant story openers!
  4. Popplet -a mid mapping tool that is very easy to use and works brilliantly for story mapping.  The ability to add pictures offers a nice alternative to written plans.  Additionally, you can use the online feature to open collaborative features.
  5. Sculpt+ – my students used to love this app.  Create characters from a piece of clay and mould/paint/decorate to suit any theme you wish.  Mix this up with Morfo or Photobooth to create your very own talking character.

Stuart Hammersley

  1. Book Creator – Does exactly what it says on the tin!! A simple way of creating books, as the children’s skills improve this app allows the children to produce really engaging ePubs!!
  2. Word Cloud – A simple way of children recording all their vocabulary around a topic or an idea, easily exported as an image to add into other apps or just to use as a reference for their writing.
  3. Word Foto – vocabulary turned into an image. Find or create your image, decide on the vocabulary and the app magically turns the words into the image! So engaging for the children.
  4. Writing Wizard – Allows children to practice writing letter shapes and words, the settings allow to differentiate for each pupils individual ability and motor skills.
  5. OSMO Words – a magical wonder game! Once set up using the base station and mirror, open the app and children place letter tiles in front of their iPad, magically these are recognised and appear in the game! Add your own words and images, such a fun and engaging way for groups of children to practice spelling, phonics and learn key vocabulary. (Warning: you need to buy the OSMO pack, then you’ll continue to play all the games!)

Simon Pile

  1. Temple Run – if you use the game to generate questions, Who is he? Why is he running? Where is he? You get some incredible generation of characters, settings and story. Explore all the characters and engage reluctant writers. The same principles apply to any game based app.
  2. Puppet Pals – for EYFS the ability to enhance speaking and listening skills alongside storytelling is priceless. Easy to use and limited only by the imagination.
  3. Book Creator – it’s a given. The ability to build a class bookshelf and share all genres of text is great. It’s the simplicity that makes it so good.
  4. Padlet – from sharing ideas to sharing opinions, debating character actions or creating word walls. This is the best app around to collect This kind of information and preserve it. 
  5. FIFA ’16 Ultimate Team – fed up with boring journalism units. Get the children to report of real events or make them take notes while you play FIFA. Story mode in 2017 will be a fabulous literary tool to engage reluctant writers. 

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