All learning is built on a foundation of reading, writing and math literacy. As kids strengthen these foundational skills, they build learning superpowers.
We’ve curated a list of great educational apps and websites to help kids close gaps in their learning, stay on track, or even move ahead. Whether you use our recommendations or something else entirely, make sure you’re using tools that help you answer these important questions:
- What should kids know, understand, and be able to do?
Tools should be aligned to widely accepted standards.
- What do kids know now?
Tools should offer benchmark assessments.
- What should kids do next in reading, writing, and math?
Tools should provide a clear or personalized path, encourage self-direction, and allow learners to accelerate and advance at their own pace.
- How will I know if kids have learned what they need to know?
Tools should be adaptive or offer feedback to kids, and they should also provide assessments or tracking for parents or learning leaders.
Explore the suggestions below to help you personalize foundational learning for your kids.
Literacy is critical to academic development because it forms the foundation of learning. Reading unlocks knowledge and creates new neural pathways. Writing and revising enable clarity of thought, and support the connection-making that is fundamental to learning. Not only that, but precise, effective writing absolutely requires active reading. In that way, reading and writing skills reinforce one another. Together, they lead to increased knowledge, social and political awareness, critical thought, empathy, and future college and career prospects.
While literacy develops most effectively along particular pathways, numeracy—the ability to understand and use numbers—is largely taught and learned in standard linear progressions. So, while there are many practical benefits of numeracy, from understanding quantity, scale, and distribution to deconstructing statistical arguments, there are also academic benefits. Missing particular content and skills in math often makes future learning—as concepts and skills build on each other with increasing complexity—more difficult.
Foundational Reading and Writing
How can I make sure my kids are developing the appropriate foundational skills in reading and writing?
All kids should have opportunities to read self-selected, longer works of fiction and non-fiction, ideally spending 20–30 minutes per day reading, either to themselves or out loud.
In addition, the following online tools offer additional opportunities for building foundational knowledge in reading, writing, conventions of language, and speaking and listening.
|Reading and Writing Product||What it is|
|BrainPOP||BrainPOP, a trusted learning resource supporting core and supplemental subjects for millions of learners worldwide, offers playful, reflective, and global content for kindergarten through middle school.|
|CommonLit||CommonLit offers more than 2,000 high-quality free reading passages for grades 3–12, complemented by aligned interim assessments. Resources are flexible, research-based, effective (as proven by third-party review), aligned to standards, and created by teachers.|
|Khan Academy||Khan Academy’s free, personalized learning platform offers reading and vocabulary topics from early learning through 9th grade. Khan Academy has a vast library of lessons and practice created by experts and proven to support learning.|
|ThinkCERCA||ThinkCERCA is an award-winning program for personalizing literacy instruction for students.|
Lessons are designed to teach students how to read, write, and think critically across content areas.
How can I make sure my kids are developing the appropriate foundational skills in math?
The following online tools offer opportunities for building foundational knowledge in math.
|Math Product||What it is|
|BrainPOP||BrainPOP, a trusted learning resource supporting core and supplemental subjects for millions of learners worldwide, offers content for kindergarten through middle school.|
|DreamBox||An adaptive elementary and middle school math product offering continuous formative assessment in and between lessons, providing the right next lesson at the right time. DreamBox personalizes instruction and uses rich visuals, sound design, and interactivity to support deep math comprehension. |
|Khan Academy||Khan Academy’s free, personalized learning platform offers math topics from early math through high school. Khan Academy has a vast library of lessons and practice created by experts and proven to support learning.|
|Prodigy Math||An adaptive learning platform in which students explore the Prodigy Math Game, where they answer math questions to complete epic quests and earn in-game rewards. Offers a premium version as well as 1-on-1 math tutoring.|
|Teach to One Roadmap||An adaptive tool for math instruction that starts with a diagnostic assessment, pinpoints the skills a student must master, and provides an academic roadmap to get students to where they need to be. Subscription- based or free with a school-based account.|