The Missouri Reader Vol. 40, Issue 3 - Page 44

Teaching children to think deeply and apply their learning across subjects is a far more effective and engaging way of increasing rigor.

more about chimney swifts, be aware of their habitats, and a website where they can learn more about the birds.

Although the reading level is geared toward lower elementary, this text would work well in an upper elementary classroom library. It can be used as a launching pad for a research project into animal life cycles, animal habitats, food chains, and even conservation. This book could also be when teaching several of the Next Generation Science Standards ranging from grades 2-8, as well as several of the current Missouri Learning Standards ranging in grades from K-6. As a lower elementary text, it works well to integrate science and literature and is a must for any school that has integrated their science curriculum into their reading instruction.

Apps, Apps and more Apps

“Having access to technology in today’s classroom is a must. With the movement of STEM implementation across curriculum, high stakes test that are 100% computer based, and the constant search for ways to keep our students engaged, staying up to date with what apps are available is key.” Jaime Zaitz

Name of App: Kahoot!

Reviewed by: Jaime Zaitz

Platform: Android and iOS

Category: Interactive Literacy Learning

Grade Level: K - 12

Cost: Free

Rating: 5 stars

Kahoot! is an interactive app that can be used in any grade level and subject. Versatile in its uses, Kahoot! can be used as a tool to quiz or to survey students. This app is easy to navigate and allows for the teacher to search through over 12 million pre-created Kahoot!’s or make their own. All personally created Kahoot!’s are stored under the My Kahoot!’s tab and can be shared publically or kept for private use only. To play, the teacher opens the game on his or her desktop and projects what is on their screen for students to see. When students open the app, they will enter the game's code and create a user name to join. Once all students have joined the fun can begin! Quizzes are timed, however the amount of time given may be adjusted or eliminated altogether when creating a game. Students can play on tablets, laptops, touch screen phones, either individually or in teams. Kahoot! is highly engaging and provides instant feedback after each question. At the completion of a game, scores can be exported to a Google Doc or downloaded. However, scores are not individualized, only overall percentages for correct/incorrect responses are given. Having younger students play on laptops is more challenging. Using touch devices for this app is ideal.

Name of App: EPIC!

Reviewed by: Jaime Zaitz

Platform: Android and iOS

Category: Interactive Literacy Learning

Grade Level: K - 5

Cost: $4.99 (FREE for educators)

Rating: 5 stars

EPIC! is an app that provides access to over 20,000 books. Once the app is downloaded a class roster may be entered or imported from Google Classroom to create individual student profiles. When a student accesses their profile for the first time, they will go through a series of genres and tap to select their favorites to tailor a personalized library. Students have access to audiobooks, books written and read aloud in Spanish, nonfiction and fiction titles, as well as articles and videos. EPIC! provides the ability for students to keep a digital reading log, as well as complete teacher created assignments and quizzes pushed to them through the app. If students have devices at home, the teacher may choose to allow or not allow for students to access their accounts while at home. Students must be taught how to use and navigate the app for best practices while using the app. Chapter books are more difficult to find on the app due to the bulk of the online library being made up of picture books.

Name of App: Literacy Leveler

Reviewed by: Brent Sweeney

Platform: Android, iOS &


Category: Productivity

Grade Level: K - 8

Cost: $3.99

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Literacy Leveler is an interactive literacy learning app designed for teachers and students in grade levels K-8. Literacy Leveler allows teachers and students to use the barcode scanner, equipped on most devices, to scan the ISBN in order to find the book’s reading level. The app is easy to use, making it adult and child friendly. It allows students to scan books in order to make reading level appropriate choices. Teachers and school librarians will find leveling their classroom libraries is a breeze, using Literacy Leveler to quickly scan and label texts. In addition to scanning books, teachers and students may search texts by title, author, Lexile, DRA, or guided reading level. Texts can be saved to the My Library feature in order to quickly access them at a later time. However, not all titles can be found in the apps database. For this reason, the app does not receive a perfect 5 out of 5 star rating. Overall, Literacy Leveler is a great app for every teacher, student, and librarian who would like to make selecting appropriate texts for every individual reader’s skill level.

Classroom Close-up