With the best learn to read apps for kids, your little ones can gain critical reading skills that set them up for success, all while having fun doing it.
Whether we like it or not technology has become an important part of a child’s daily life.
As technology increasingly changes so does the concern that it poses a potential threat to a child’s learning abilities.
But the good news is research shows this isn’t always true.
Technology can be leveraged to a child’s advantage with proper monitoring and boundaries.
Just like technology, our education systems are also evolving.
Today’s toddlers are often expected to know reading as soon as they enter kindergarten. This can be extremely difficult for many parents considering not every child is developmentally ready to read.
Thankfully, there are many learn-to-read apps that can help your child get started with reading. The best reading apps make it fun for kids to learn this essential skill, and can help give them a head start on their peers.
We’ve reviewed and ranked the best reading apps for kids based on a number of factors, including curriculum, ease of use, parent reviews, and more.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost for you, we might get a commission if you click the link and purchase.
What are the Best Learn to Read Apps for Kids?
Here are our picks for the best learn to read apps worth trying right now:
- Night Zookeeper
- Hooked on Phonics
- Reading Raven
- Talented and Gifted by Kids Academy
- Reading Eggs
- Bob Books Reading Magic
HOMER is a personalized learning app designed to help kids fall in love with learning. There are over 1,000 learning activities across all subjects, and the content is tailored to your child's age and interests.
There is a reason why Homer is on top of our list!
This early reading app is designed for ages 2 to 8 and doesn’t use the standard fit-for-all method – instead it’s completely customizable to your child’s needs.
It’s a great way to promote early literacy for your little ones.
Your child can choose from 20 different topics, which will then be integrated with his/her’s reading lessons to create that customized package Homer boasts about.
Homer works by first building up on your child’s basics, such as phonics and letters. Then, you can go through and complete the literacy learning lesson plan the software has created so kids can improve their reading level over time.
It also has a ‘practice’ button to help your child fully grasp certain hard-to-learn concepts or to just simply replay their favorite activity.
Moreover, this reading app uses a variety of tools like drawing, voice recordings, phonics, songs, and stories to help your child learn to read.
It is also similar in terms of an interface to games your child likes to play. The app offers an interactive and playful treat for your kid, all while they learn to read.
Key Features & Benefits
- No advertisements
- Great for kids in preschool and elementary school alike
- Huge library with stories across all genres
- Parents can access materials such as printables, videos, and professional advice.
- Helps kids overcome reading difficulties
- The app is suitable for children, and they can simply touch, hold, or drag items with a single tap.
- There is a broad range of educational games and tales across numerous subjects, including reading, math, social skills, critical thinking, and more.
- Participatory and engaging stories, games, activities, and music
HOMER pricing is as follows:
- $9.99 per month
- $59.99 per year
- Digital plan+hands on bundle for $99.99 per year
If you have a reluctant reader at home, Night Zookeeper could be the perfect app to help them fall in love with reading.
Aimed at kids ages 6 and older, Night Zookeeper makes reading fun and engaging by using a Language Arts curriculum that incorporates games, challenges, interactive lessons, collaborative projects, and creative writing prompts.
With Night Zookeeper, children can enjoy a totally immersive learning experience that introduces them to the world of the Night Zoo as soon as they start and lets them create their own zoo.
Your child will receive personalized feedback from a team of professional tutors, who closely monitor and review all of their submitted work.
Parents also get access to their own dashboard, where they can track progress, assign specific lessons and manage features. Most important, the settings are flexible and everything can be adapted to best suit your child’s learning style and pace.
Key Features & Benefits
- Curriculum aimed at developing reading and writing skills
- Personalized tutoring
- Gamified learning makes it fun for kids
- No ads
- New content added regularly
- Free trial period
Night Zookeeper offers 3 different subscription options. These are:
Monthly: $12.99 per month
Quarterly: $33.99 every 3 months
Yearly: $59.99 per year (50% discount!)
(prices based on a 1-child subscription)
ABCmouse has long been a favorite of families with young children who are learning to read. Thousands of tasks are available in this interactive app to help parents develop their child’s reading skills.
This award-winning reading app has been specially designed for ages 2 to 8, and it’s great for helping children learn letters, phonics, sight words, and more advanced reading concepts.
The software’s distinctive “Step-by-Step Learning Path” has over 850 courses across 10 levels. Each level will further develop the previous knowledge via engaging, colorful activities.
Parents need not filter among lessons to locate the “correct” one, rather kids can “play” directly through the connected lesson path.
It has tools like videos, puzzles, songs, and stories to make the challenging process of learning to read a lot easier for kids.
It also allows parents to keep a record of their child’s progress.
Furthermore, ABCMouse rewards kids with tickets once they complete their lessons to decorate their virtual class which can act as a great incentive to keep them engaged!
Key Features and Benefits
- No pop-ups or advertisements
- 30-day free trial
- Expertly planned curriculum
- Assessment section to monitor the child’s progress
- Games and activities that are instructive and entertaining
- Kids learn reading and other subjects
- App and internet versions are available.
- Per account, up to three children can be registered.
ABCmouse pricing is reasonable and affordable. It too offers three paid plans:
- Monthly: $12.99 per month
- Short-Term: $29.99 every 6 months
- Annually: $59.99 per year (up to 60% off the regular price)
This is one of the best learn to read programs, and it features a highly comprehensive system that makes it an excellent choice for homeschoolers-particularly for preschoolers, kindergartners, and grade 1 students (ages 3-7).
Hooked On Phonics has been around for quite a few decades but while it may be old, the program is still highly exemplary.
It primarily used to concentrate on physical learning resources such as books, flashcards, and worksheets. It has now shifted to a multimedia-based learn to read model that employs the same practiced strategies for teaching children to read, but with more interactive features than ever before.
Along with worksheets, questionnaires, and stories, kids are taught new lessons via entertaining videos, songs, and activities. Their reading app also has puzzles and games that can assist children in practicing before they attempt to read the related literature. And to motivate children to read, it has awards and achievements feature too.
Parents or teachers can also track their child’s progress and even add multiple children. This app also boasts a “machine-learning algorithm” that will assist children with practicing their need-based hard-to-grasp concepts.
Key Features & Benefits
- Complies with state and federal reading proficiency standards
- Can be used on multiple devices
- You can try it before you buy it
- Young children learn sight words and more
- More than 250 songs, award-winning videos, games, lessons, and ebooks.
Hooked On Phonics pricing might seem more expensive than other options but contains more products alongside the app itself. It has a single paid program of $16 per month (includes app access but mailed Practice Packs to your home each month) after a $1 trial month.
Founded by Suren Markosian and Kevin Donahue in 2013, this learn to read app consists of more than 40,000 books, videos, and audiobooks from popular publishers, giving your kids an “epic” reading experience.
There is no doubt why Epic is an award-winning app and is oh so popular. With its interactive kids’ friendly user interface, it provides a great learning experience for young readers in preschool and elementary school alike.
Children can fill up their virtual libraries with stories based on their age, interests, and reading levels.
Not only this, but Epic has stories in a vast variety of languages, giving your little one opportunities to learn new languages. It also awards them with badges which serve as a great motivation to read.
Parents can also keep track of their children’s progress and see how far their love for reading has grown.
Key Features & Benefits
- For youngsters aged two to twelve.
- Simple navigation interface that is kid-friendly
- Offline access with the option to download so children learn and read on the go
- Accounts can be created for up to four people.
- Excellent for use in the classroom and at home.
- Many well-known academic platforms have collaborated with Epic
- Compatible with most Android and Apple devices.
Epic has a one-month free trial period and is completely free for teachers and librarians. It has two paid plans:
- $7.99 per month
- $71.99 per annual
Farfaria is perfect for kids that are fascinated by castles, knights, fairies, and magical folktales.
This magical world-themed learn to read app is great for elementary school kids.
Readers can explore diverse subjects and themes through numerous mystical “lands” on a map, which will consist of unique stories to develop their reading abilities.
Kids can choose from a broad range of stories and can either read it themselves or use the “read to me” option, where professional readers will read the story aloud.
FarFaria keeps the kids engaged through their colorful and mystical stories and instead of full-fledged games or planned classes, it places reading skills in practical applications.
Even more, it has been proven that when children use Farfaria, they read for longer lengths of time, and the read-along features make it simple to comprehend.
Farfaria offers two membership “tiers”, one free and one paid. Users can obtain one new tale every day at the free level, while premium customers get limitless stories, with new stories added every week and the opportunity to read “favorite” stories even when they are offline.
Key Features and Benefits
- Has a free program
- Unlimited stories every week with paid membership
- Can be accessed from anywhere and at any time (paid only)
- The read-to-me feature brings stories to life
- Eliminates the difficulty involved in locating the appropriate books at the appropriate reading level.
FarFaria offers free membership and three paid plans which are as follow:
- $5 per month
- $50 per year
- $100 for a lifetime subscription
This nonprofit learn to read website has been in existence ever since 2002 and is now available in an app format.
They have been a mainstay in the learn to read program and there is no doubt why they are one of the best reading apps for kids.
It is mainly made for preschoolers and kindergartners and uses interactive games and traditional phonics to teach the basics of English reading and writing skills. So not only can your kid learn to read but will also learn to write!
It starts with simple vowel lessons along with super comprehensive examples and with phonic lessons. Then with each new lesson, children will learn a new sound or language skill. Before you know it, children learn sight words and even advanced reading concepts.
There are also engaging games and activities for kids to play in addition to traditional reading sessions, allowing children to enhance their learning while not realizing that they’re “learning” at all.
Not only this, to keep them further engaged, there are adorable animal characters with whom children can read along.
Children need not discontinue the use of Starfall once they have progressed through basic phonics and alphabet training, rather they can start using the “It’s Fun to Read” and “Let’s Read” sections, which are designed for elementary kids.
The difficulty level will increase to further polish their reading skills. When they reach the advanced level, they will receive pieces of advice and will be acquainted with fables, nonfiction, and various other literary genres.
What’s more, is that most of Starfall’s material is free, and to access everything, it costs only $35!
Key Benefits & Features
- Most of the content is free
- Both Apple and Android friendly
- Engages kids to read with fictional characters
- Features such as keyboard-friendly activities, closed captioning, and visual explanations.
- Children learn while having fun
- Can be used at home or in a classroom
Most of Starfall’s material is free but full content can be accessed for $35 per year.
Skybrary is an affiliated company of Reading is Fundamental, which is quite a popular not-for-profit organization for children’s education.
Their apps to help with reading consist of a thoughtfully selected interactive collection of eBooks and actual video expeditions aimed at engaging young readers and encouraging them to read.
With its fun-to-use interface, readers can choose a topic of their choice and can also make use of its read-along feature.
Unlike other learn to read apps, Skybrary does not focus on the basics of reading, rather it aims at providing consistent new literature to read. More crucially, the app’s variety—and the possibility for young readers to select books on topics that interest them—aids in the development of real love for reading at a young age, which is just as vital as the ability to read.
Key Features & Benefits
- Highly motivating with features like build your own story, story-related stickers, and games.
- For ages 2-9
- Easy-to-use Parent’s dashboard to check your child’s progress.
- Kid-friendly user interface
- Interactive animations
- Offline reading feature for up to 5 books to teach kids on the go
- Both Android and Apple devices are compatible.
As with other reading apps, a one-month free trial is available. It has two paid plans:
- $4.99 per month
- $39.99 annual subscription
Hand-eye coordination, reading, writing, and listening abilities are all improved with this dynamic, multi-sensory Reading Raven app. Specially curated for young children aged 3 to 7, this reading app focuses on the basics of reading, helping young readers to get acquainted with the world of literacy.
To create a strong base, Reading Raven uses a phonics-based syllabus combined with instructive games to teach children how to identify letters and trace them. This helps your child create a connection between written and spoken language as well, making this one of the best all-around apps to help with reading and writing.
Reading Raven also allows children to learn on their terms and interests, offering reading tips and lessons in a fun, engaging way.
Parents can personalize their child’s learning experience based on their grade level. Each instruction on the app is properly spoken and pronounced. If children need to hear the instructions again, they can tap icons on the screen.
Moreover, to make things more interesting for kids Reading raven uses “adventure” filled activities to keep children engaged.
For ages 3 and above, Reading Raven has games that teach children letter matching, letter tracing, letter sounds, and word matching.
For 4 and above, there are word beginning, word spotting, word building, and vocabulary games.
And lastly, for ages 5 and up, children are taught to trace words, group them, and how to read with their ‘read aloud’ activity. As a result, your child will gradually progress from identifying letters to identifying words and eventually reading sentences aloud.
Key Benefits & Features
- Based on a tried-and-true phonics method.
- Great for teaching letter recognition.
- Children will enjoy multisensory reading games.
- Children can work at their own pace using a step-by-step program with tailored reading tips and lessons.
- Child-friendly interface
- Compatible with Android and Apple devices
The original reading app retails for $3.99 and a second volume for $2.99 which has a greater amount of activities for the same levels.
This “learn through play” app is a perfect teaching assistant for preschoolers, kindergartners, and grades 1, 2, and 3. It taps on a child’s curious behaviors to help them build their reading foundation and makes it fun to practice reading.
A team of qualified US educators with years of classroom experience have assembled all the Talented and Gifted by Kids Academy’s learning activities. You can access over 5,000 learning games, informative clips, quizzes, and Smart Worksheets as part of your apps’ subscription. This makes it one of the most comprehensive and best reading apps for kids.
With a single parent account, parents can enroll up to 3 children. Parents (and teachers) can also track their child’s performance using their ‘Easy to track” feature.
This learn-to-read app uses the latest technology, artificial intelligence, gamification, and customizable learning to create a stimulating environment to help your kid learn to read.
With all the interesting, colorful, and engaging animations, it will be hard for your kid to look away!
Key Features & Benefits
- COPPA and FERPA compliant
- Easy to use
- Complies with Common Core standards
- Specially designed by a team of experts
- No advertisements
There are three paid plans offered by Talented and Gifted by Kids Academy
- $19.99 per month
- $39.99 per quarter ($13.33 per month)
- $97.99 per year ($8.17 per month)
11. Reading Eggs
Reading Eggs is a fun, engaging, and highly appealing way for kids aged 2 to 13 to learn to read, and the best part is, it is backed by sound scientific research!
To assist kids in becoming competent readers, Reading Eggs was developed by a highly skilled team of Australian elementary school teachers, authors, and developers, who have put together online reading games and activities that are simple to comprehend, self-paced, and extremely interesting for young learners.
It also has multi-award-winning resources to help with your child’s learning to read journey.
The program provided by Reading Eggs is so enjoyable and informative that it can be easily added to your child’s daily routine as they practice reading and work on improving literacy skills.
More than 91% of parents have found that Reading Eggs improved their child’s reading ability noticeably and this is all because of their sound scientific research.
The research team found that by using the five essential keys to reading success, a child can be exposed to all aspects of learning to read. The five essential keys to reading success are as follows:
- Phonemic awareness- The skill to hear and manipulate the many sounds that make up words.
- Phonics– Identifying the link between letters and their respective sounds.
- Vocabulary– Comprehending the meaning of words and the context in which they are used.
- Reading Comprehension– Ability to understand the meaning of the text
- Fluency– Ability to read aloud quickly, accurately, and with understanding.
Key Features & Benefits
- Kid safe certified
- Reward schemes like golden eggs to motivate children to complete reading lessons
- Both Android and Apple devices are compatible
- Expertly planned curriculum to practice reading and literacy skills
- Easy to use
- 30 day free trial
Reading Eggs pricing includes two paid plans :
- $9.99 per month
- $69.99 per year
Bob Books Reading Magic offers two apps – Reading Magic 1 and its sequel Reading Magic 2.
Reading Magic 1 teaches young readers the reading fundamentals whereas the sequel is made for preschoolers, kindergartners to help them keep discovering the world of literacy.
The first version starts with a phonics curriculum focusing on the connection between letters and their sound, speaking out words and then spelling them out too. It uses a drag and drop interface along with Bob Books characters and colorful animations to keep them entertained.
The second app contains twelve scenarios with a total of 50 new phonics words to read and spell. Preschoolers and kindergarteners will face greater reading hard levels as they go through the game’s four levels. Moreover, Teachers and literacy specialists have reviewed and approved all of the content.
Key Features & Benefits
- Available on Amazon
- Complies with COPPA
- Listed as the best app by Parenting.com writer (Reading Magic 1)
- Parents choice approved (Reading magic 1)
- Easy to use interface
- Available for Apple devices
Both Reading magic 1 and Reading magic 2 retail for $2.99.
What are Learn to Read Apps?
Reading apps are smartphone applications developed to help teach younger generations reading.
Unlike adult language learning apps, these focus on building blocks of reading such as phonics, alphabets, and other basic concepts, all while engaging them with fun activities.
They have specially curated child-friendly interfaces and multimedia to not only teach them reading but also make them fall in love with it.
Young generations are far more comfortable with technology which is why educational apps are so useful. Hand a 3-year-old a smartphone and watch them quickly figure out how to switch it on or make a few calls.
With the looming dangers of children spending lots of screentime on baseless games and videos, it is important to divert your kid’s attention to far more useful activities all while making it a fun experience.
Moreover, so much of your child’s learning takes place at home. It’s where they’re most at ease, content, and feel supported.
Children who grow up in families where reading is valued are already far ahead of their peers, according to studies. The home is an excellent location to start laying the foundation for long-term reading and academic success.
This is where the best reading apps for kids come in.
With a few simple taps and game-like interfaces, children won’t even know they are learning to read, and thanks to innovation, the endless learn to read programs in the market will give you enough options to choose from.
Along with acting as a virtual teaching assistant, the best apps to teach reading also remove the hassle educators face in finding appropriate learning to read materials and resources. These apps are developed by experts keeping in mind children’s ages, developmental needs, attention spans, and reading needs.
What’s more is that most of the apps to help with reading on the market provide a personalized plan for each child to follow.
These apps make sure all learning to read aspects are targeted in a colorful and stimulating method. Any hard-to-grasp concepts can be gone through again with their practice modes. Educators can also remain up to date with a child’s progress which is almost not possible in physical learning.
What to Look for in Learn to Read Apps
The overwhelming variety of learn to read apps can make it difficult for parents to choose.
Finding the best reading apps that meet your child’s needs can help ensure their screentime is being efficiently used.
Here are some features to look for when searching for the best reading apps for kids:
Personalized learning plans
When teaching kids to read, it’s very important to ensure a child is learning what they can comprehend and understand. This feature ensures your child follows a planned route that matches their level and developmental requirements.
“Read aloud” features
This feature makes these apps self-sufficient for your kids, removing the need for parents to read for kids. These also help in building up their pronunciation skills.
Progress tracking tool
These tools are essential in a child’s learning to read journey. With the help of tracking tools, parents or educators can be up to date with the child’s achievements and shortcomings. This also makes it easier to go over topics that are particularly hard for the child to understand.
Questions and Feedback options
Learning is nothing without assessments and feedbacks. Make sure the app you choose asks plenty of questions to test their knowledge and gives valuable feedback to parents as well through their progress tracking tools.
Step by step Learning to read programs
It is essential that your kid is slowly and naturally introduced to various parts of reading without being too overwhelming for them.
Colorful, interactive activities and games
To keep your child engaged, apps must have plenty of colorful visuals, animations, and games to make learning a fun experience for them. Apps can also be used to help prevent boredom with online learning.
Parental lock option
With the help of this feature, parents can ensure children are not using these apps beyond their designated screen time. However, there is no need to be concerned about this feature, since almost all children’s applications have parental controls and supervisory locks.
The Benefits of Learn to Read Apps
If you are still not convinced why apps to help with reading are useful for your child, here are a few benefits that can be reaped from the above mentioned learn to read apps:
- They keep children engaged in an informative manner. For most of the day, many parents find themselves busy with professional work and may not be able to spend time with their kids. Learn to read apps can keep children engaged all while they learn something new!
- Colorful simulations. All of these apps are filled with eye-catching graphics designed to make children’s learning experience a lot more creative and colorful. The interfaces of reading applications are frequently life-like, and the games that come with them are also highly well-simulated. Many of these apps also include automated text-highlighting functions, and kids may select their favorite highlight color too.
- Improves their technology skills. Technology is already a crucial part of our daily lives and in the coming years, its usage will increase even more. So your kid must be comfortable with using tablets and smartphones. Learning to read apps’ easy-to-use interfaces makes this extremely easy.
- Shared learning experience. While many believe tablets and smartphones decrease a kid’s social skills considerably, this is not true. Apps like learning to read can help children to easily bond with their siblings, friends, relatives, or neighbors by playing games and activities together. It also creates space for children to learn from each other just like in a group study.
- Enhances reading speed. Due to these apps’ interactive interfaces, children tend to read faster on apps than on hard copies. Even more, it is reported that the early academic performances of kids who use reading apps are better than those who don’t.
- Different options to read from. This comes as no surprise as app curators consistently make sure learn to read apps are equipped with all kinds of books. There is a genre for every kid. Whether your kid prefers magical land stories or stories with kings and queens, there is a book for every kid.
- Allows for in-depth learning. Step-by-step learning plans ensure a child fully understands and is well equipped with all the literary knowledge. Apart from this, with printed books, children tend to skim over difficult words. With learn to read apps, children can learn the meaning as well as pronunciation of hard words with just a single tap.
A Final Word on Learn to Read Apps
All in all, with traditional methods of teaching children to read, creativity and critical thinking skills are greatly hampered by repetitious learning patterns.
Learn to read apps provide a fun and interactive way to help build a child’s base for reading. And the best part is with gamification and striking visuals, children won’t even realize they are learning!
Have any questions about finding the best reading apps for kids? Comment below and we’ll help you out.