The 5 Best Apps for ELL Students

Updated: Jul 27





Whether you work with ELL students in the mainstream classroom, or you teach in an exclusive ELL setting, one of the biggest challenges is finding opportunities for ELL students to practice what they are learning in an interactive setting. These 5 educational apps are the perfect platform for your students to learn new skills and practice them in engaging ways. Some of these apps are designed for the mainstream classroom, where you can let your ELL student practice new concepts individually while you teach the rest of the class. Other apps are ideal for students to use at home with their families. Finally, some apps provide the perfect game for a group setting and the perfect opportunity for your native speakers to connect with your ELL’s. The main goal is to see your ELLs grow in interest, knowledge, and passion for English and the best way to do it is by creating fun opportunities for them to put it into practice!


Charades Kids! With Pictures

This app will give your students the opportunity to practice their speaking skills by describing the different nouns and actions that appear on the screen. Charades! Kids is ideal for ELL newcomers because it doesn’t only show them the word they must describe, but also a picture of the word. ELL students that don’t have an extensive vocabulary or that struggle with reading will still be able to play and learn from it. I love Charades! Kids because it engages ELL students in conversation and allows them to work with other students. It is the perfect way to build new descriptive skills and create an authentic classroom community!

Setting: Group (classmates or family activity) Cost: Free Available: Apple App Store & Google Play Store


Endless Alphabet

What a creative little app to introduce ELLs to new vocabulary! Endless Alphabet shows students how each word is spelled and provides a fun illustration of its definition. Then it shuffles the letters and challenges your student to put the word back together. What makes it even more awesome is that when the students pick up each letter to put it back in the right place, the letter makes its sound! ELL students get to review the sound of each letter, the spelling of each word, and its definition through super entertaining and interactive illustrations!

Setting: Individual (classroom or home)

Cost: Free

Available: Apple App Store & Google Play Store


Lingo Kids- English Learning for Kids

This wonderful app creates an individual English Learning Program for your student based on their language level and age. Lingo Kids uses immersion, association, and organic exposure strategies to help students in their language development! Their curriculum and graphics are beyond amazing and I cannot recommend it enough! If you are an ELL teacher, this is that perfect app to recommend to the parents that want their little ones to get some extra practice at home.

Setting: Individual (recommended for extra practice at home)

Cost: Free month trial, then $5.99 per month

Available: Apple App Store & Google Play Store


Fun English by Studycat

This app covers all 4 language domains through fun games, stories, and songs! New vocabulary is introduced in creative contexts to help students remember each meaning and used it in sentences to maximize their understanding. Lessons are divided into different categories that will allow your student to review different concepts and ideas. This is the perfect app to use if your ELL student is an early finisher. The different games will keep him/her engaged in learning for the rest of the time!

Setting: Individual (it also has group setting)

Cost: Free version contains the first two lessons

Available: Apple App Store & Google Play Store


LearnEnglish Kids: Playtime by the British Council

If you’re looking for an app for your ELL students to develop their listening skills, Playtime is for you! This app narrates different fairytales using engaging videos. At the end of each story, questions and tasks are provided to check the students’ comprehension. Each video comes with text at the bottom so that the students can read along with the narrator! The full version also contains children's songs with a sing-along format.

Setting: Individual

Cost: Free

Available: Apple App Store

Educational technology is the perfect supplement for ELL instruction. If you are looking for great digital tools to engage your students in additional practice, check out the Digital Centers for ELL Students, Listen and Learn Listening Comprehension Activities, or Speaking and Writing Cards (available through google slides.)

To get the first week of the

Digital Centers for FREE, click here for K-3rd grade ELLs

To get the first week of the

Digital Centers for FREE, click here for 4th-8th grade ELLs









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