These days, many children have access to smartphones and tablets as part of their entertainment. Some see this as a bad thing while others embrace handheld devices as an opportunity to educate kids through various apps.
Reading is a particularly easy skill to teach on a tablet, especially given the number of reading apps available on the iOS and Android app store. Keep reading for our list of 10 best reading apps for kids.
Epic! Books for Kids
Epic! describes themselves as “the Netflix of books,” and it’s for a good reason. Upon download, kids have instant access to over 25,000 books. The app also makes recommendations for what to read next based on the previously read books. Both features are akin to Netflix’s content library and recommendation algorithm.
Epic’s content library is segmented by age, making it easy for you to help your child find something suitable for their age. You’ll also find reading quizzes to help your older readers engage more.
There’s a read-to-me function which sounds out the words for your children as they read along.
The app is free to download but the content subscription is $7.99 per month for unlimited access to content. The subscription is also geared more toward classroom students than for use at home which can be inconvenient for parents trying to add more content to their child’s reading list.
If your kids are just getting started on reading, Homer should be one of the first apps you download for them. The app’s method is to create a reading program that is explicit, systematic, and sequential. Deliberate programs such as Homer’s have been proven more effective than random spouts of trying to teach your child to learn.
With Homer, you can personalize reading programs for up to four kids on a single account. Your children will develop reading skills through stories, songs, drawings, voice recordings they record, and phonetic lessons.
The app is free to download, and you can get a free one month trial.
After your free month expires, there is a subscription fee of $7.99 per month. The constant praise coming from the app in the form of cheers can get a bit annoying for some parents.
Hooked on Phonics
For Pre-K through first graders, check out the Hooked on Phonics app. Hooked on Phonics began as a phonetic reading curriculum back in 1987, so the company has deep roots in teaching children to read. The app includes songs, phonetic lessons, reading lessons, and more to give a holistic approach to learning to read.
You can program up to three readers on the app which can be accessed from any smart device or computer. There are also tons of interactive games to help reinforce what your child after each lesson.
A lifetime subscription for all reading levels does cost $60 which can be a hefty upfront cost for some parents. However, spread that over the course of your child’s path to learning to read and it is definitely justifiable.
Reading Raven is an app full of learn-to-read games which kids can follow at their own pace. These games help children with pre-reading skills, sounding out words, and creating short sentences.
The app introduces your child to all the letters of the alphabet including sounding them out and tracing them on the app. Kids can also record to them sounding out the letters or short sentences and hear it played back.
The free app only includes one lesson to try out. Afterward, you have to make an in-app purchase to access the rest of the content.
Reading Rainbow might have a touch of nostalgia for some of you parents out there. Now in app form, kids aged 2 and up can practice their reading. In the app, children can select up to five books from a collection of 600 to put into their “backpack” to read. The app also includes a read-aloud feature so kids can listen to the story to help them sound out the words.
In-app dashboards help you and your children track their progress. You can also use the app offline with limited functionality. As long as your child’s “backpack” is full of books, you’ll be good to go for extended periods without wifi.
The subscription fee is also fairly affordable compared to other options at just $3.99 per month.
The app really only has content for kids aged 2 to 9. You won’t find much to challenge kids over 10 in this app.
Starfall Learn to Read
Starfall Learn to Read is a comprehensive program that guides kids through learning letters to learning to read to teaching them how to enjoy reading. The app features 15 mini books that are add-ons to the Starfall website. Each mini book focuses on a particular vowel accompanied by videos and other activities.
The app is a great add-on for kids who are already using Starfall Learn to Read website. Kids can also tap on words they’re having trouble sounding out and the app reads those trouble words out for them.
You might lose some of the experience if you’re not using the website. That’s especially true given the limited amount of content on the app.
If you’re looking for a reading app for children that’s full of tons of books, look no further than Farfaria. With over 1,000 books in its library and more content being added weekly, you and your children will always be able to find something new to read on the app. You can browse the books by genre and filter by title, release date, and reading level.
There is tons of content available on the app ranging from Pre-K level to 4th grade. The monthly subscription fee is reasonable – $3.99 per month if you sign up for a whole year.
There aren’t any interactive games on the app. Children only swipe through pages like it’s a physical book.
Sight Words is a fun and interactive way for early readers to identify words and sounds. The application features many games that help your children identify over 320 “sight” or basic words and sound them out. The reading levels range from Pre-K to about third grade.
Interactive learning can help new words stick in your child’s mind better. You can also set up separate accounts for each of your children so they can keep track of their individual progress.
There isn’t much context or application usage around the words.
Reading Eggs is a comprehensive learning program geared towards kids age 2 to 13. The program originally began as solely internet-based but now features a downloadable smartphone app. The program is broken into units based on your child’s age, so you can subscribe to just that one or to all at once.
The app features tons of content that will keep kids entertained for hours as they learn how to sound out words and read.
All that content can lead to overload for parents who are looking for a quick decision once they open the app.
Kindle is Amazon’s reading device as well as Android and iPhone apps. While Kindle isn’t a learn to read app, it does offer parents (and kids) more flexibility into what kids read. Most of these apps addressed formative reading skills like spelling and phonetics but having access to Kindle’s children’s books section can help older children and young teenagers develop autonomous reading skills and comprehension skills.
Complete flexibility and control over what books go onto the Kindle app. Parents and older children will have Amazon’s vast library of books to choose from. Many public libraries also allow you to “check out” ebooks and read them on your Kindle.
Purchasing books on Kindle can be just as expensive as buying the physical books. If you have an avid reader on your hands, consider Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program which allows users to borrow books for a flat annual fee.
Finding the Best Reading Apps for Kids
These were some of the best reading apps for kids that we identified. That being said, there are many more out there that you can try.
The good news about these educational apps is many come with a free trial for a month, so you can try out several apps before deciding on one for your kids.
For more app suggestions for kids, check out the app section on our website.