Back To School 2010: Reading And Research Apps


As the summer cools down, students all over the US are preparing to head back to school. Fortunately, we’re living in a different world. There are tons of resources to help you study better, manage your time and work, and hit all of your goals to ace this school year. Here are the apps you want to have in English class (and a few others) to stay ahead of the game.

E-book Readers

E-book readers are apart of the future. Last month, Amazon announced that it’s Kindle e-books have outsold paperbacks for the first time in the history of the company. According to Amazon,

kindle-vs-nookOver the past three months, for every 100 hardcover books has sold, it has sold 143 Kindle books.

Over the past month, for every 100 hardcover books has sold, it has sold 180 Kindle books.

This is across’s entire U.S. book business and includes sales of hardcover books where there is no Kindle edition. Free Kindle books are excluded and if included would make the number even higher.

Aside from “required reading”, these apps will lead you to reading more about your passions and a few class related materials. So make those required readings easier for yourself and grab an e-book reader app along with a few samples.

Kindle Reading App

Platforms: iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, iPad, PC, Mac
Best feature: Built-in dictionary

  • Free book samples
  • Annotations
  • Bookmarks

Barnes and Nobles E-Reader

Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, BlackBerry
Best feature
: Share e-books with friends using LendMe

  • Free samples and titles
  • Built-in dictionary
  • Wikipedia and Google search
  • Annotations, Bookmarks, and Notes
  • Note Search

Research Apps

dictionarySometimes you need to find something really quickly. This could be a word or a reference to a country far away. Getting this information as soon as possible is very important to those untimely pop-quizzes teachers like to give. That’s OK because as long as you have a phone or a laptop, you’re good to go. These apps will give you the 411, right now.

Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch, Android, BlackBerry
Best feature: Word of the Day (English & Spanish)

  • Dictionary and Thesaurus
  • Phonetic and audio pronunciation
  • Example sentences
  • Non-standard uses
  • Word origin and history
  • Shake device to see a randomly-selected word

Wikipedia Mobile

Platforms: iPhone (iTunes), Android, Kindle, Palm Pre
Best Feature: Access to millions of articles

While Wikipedia has released an official iPhone app, all other mobile devices must use the mobile site in a browser to access Wikipedia mobile. Because of this, certainly functionalities are severely limited for students. So, I recommend taking a look at Articles (iTunes) for a prettier face and more features. Or see Encyclopedia: Wikipedia on the iPhone for offline functionality too.

Extra Credit

  • What reading apps are you using this school year?
  • If you’re out of school what reading tools did you find useful for passing tough classes?
Corvida Raven

A natural pioneer at grasping the rapidly changing landscape of technology, Corvida Raven talks tech in plain English on