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Reading seems to come easier for some kids than others. It’s tough to watch your struggling reader. You want to gently encourage practice, but you don’t want your struggling reader to become frustrated. Adding a couple of high quality apps for reading is a great way for kids to gain the extra practice they need in a fun way.
There are lots of reading apps on the market. But what are the best apps for reading? I’ve been sharing a Best Apps series. Today I’ll continue that series and share my favorite apps for reading. I’ve included a couple of reading apps for older learners as well. It’s not uncommon to realize a brush up of reading skills is needed when kids hit high school and are approaching the ACT or SAT. Many adults have found using a reading app can be beneficial as well. In fact, I use Reading Trainer so I can keep my brain focused and trained for all the reading I do on a daily basis.
Best Apps for Reading
#1 Bob Books Reading Magic #1
Recommended Ages: 3-7
If you are a fan of Bob Books you’ll love this reading app. This phonics-based game encourages even young kids to start reading. Along the way they’ll meet all their favorite Bob Books characters.
Young learners will learn how to:
- Make the connection between letters and sounds.
- Sound out simple words.
- Spell the words they’ve read.
Bob Books Reading Magic has twelve scenes where kids learn 32 words. There are four game levels so kids progress in challenges as they play.
- 2012 Parents Choice Approved
- Winner 2011 Editor’s Choice Award, Children’s Technology Review
- 15 Great Apps for Kids, Babble.com
- Parenting Magazine “Best App for Kids”
#2 Starfall Learn to Read
Recommended Ages: 4-7
If you are familiar with Starfall.com and your kids love the website, you’ll likely just be thrilled to know there’s an app. Go purchase it! Starfall Learn to Read is an excellent reading app for both emerging readers and English language learners. The app covers the Learn to Read section for emerging readers who have mastered individual letter sounds and are ready to practice decoding individual words.
Starfall Learn to Read has 15 sections. Each section is focused on a specific vowel sound and includes at least one learning game.
A few things I think make Star Fall Learn to Read an amazing reading app:
- Text is highlighted so kids can read along easily.
- Helps kids sound out words individually. Kids can tap on a single word. The letters of that word are then highlighted as the word is sounded out.
- It’s not the same mundane drill over and over again. Songs, puzzle games, spoken words, pictures, and word sorts are all used to reinforce concepts.
There are no outside links in the app.
#3 Reading Trainer
Recommended Ages: 13 & up
Reading Trainer improves your reading speed and retention rate with 12 challenging and fun exercises. This reading app is for anyone reading more than half an hour a day. In other words, it’s perfect for your high school student who might need a brush up on reading skills as they prep for the ACT or SAT. Heck, it’s perfect for college students and adults who find themselves rereading passages because something was not clear. It’s also great for those who are easily distracted while reading. Reading Trainer can help.
A few things I love about Reading Trainer:
- The eye exercises are said to boost your mental capacity. I’m sure that’s true. What I notice is that, for those of us working in front of a screen for long periods, eye exercises are a needed daily exercise to avoid eye strain and fatigue.
- The app takes around 15-20 minutes to go through a full cycle. It then lets you know it’s time to rest and gives you a countdown before you begin again.
- Questions about the text are used as a secondary test to assess your retention ability. So, it’s not checking to see if you can read quickly but if you can read and comprehend the material. That’s important!
- The software immediately recognizes your strengths and weaknesses and begins giving exercises based on your needs.
- You always know your progress. The statistics function lets you see and track your progress. The results of each training exercise are charted.
#4 Monkey Word School Adventure
Recommended Ages: 4-7
Monkey Word School Adventure is for kids who are ready to start recognizing letters and words. Kids are led through a jungle setting by a cute monkey, through six different activities learning early reading skills. Kids explore letters, sight words, phonics, and spelling as they trace letters, go through a rhyming maze, find letters or sight words in flying objects, spell words, and find words in a word search. Up to 3 kids can have an account on one game, making it perfect for those with multiple players in one family. Parents can adjust the challenge level or turn off certain games if they need to focus their kid on a specific skill.
#5 Learn to Read with Monkey Junior
Recommended Ages: 5–7
Monkey Junior isn’t just a reading app that offers reading games. It’s a comprehensive reading program for kids. It varies from most of the other reading apps featured here in that it adopts the whole word approach as well as traditional phonics approach. Young readers are guided along as they learn individual sight words and phrases then on to sentence formation. Along the way kids will learn over 200 phonics sounds. The reading program covers 50 different reading topics for kids ranging from things at home, shapes, body parts, toys, actions, fruit and vegetables to wild animals, insects, nature, transportation, occupations, businesses, and science.
Monkey Junior is divided into three different reading levels: easy, medium, and advanced. Kids learn to read individual words in the easy level. At the medium level, readers learn to read simple sentences. The advanced level is suitable for kids at a 1st grade reading level.
The reading app is designed so that kids do a lesson daily. It’s not meant to be a “play when you feel like it” reading app. It’s a reading program in app form.
Monkey Junior has no advertising, pop-up ads, or links to other sites
#6 QuotEd Reading Comprehension
Recommended Ages: 13 & up
QuotEd Reading Comprehension is another reading app for teens who are looking to brush up on their reading skills as they prepare for the LSAT, GMAT, GRE, SAT, ACT, or other exams. You’ll get hundreds of quotations with this reading app. The quotes each have questions attached to them. The questions are meant to be challenging. It gives you an understanding of how questions and answer choices can be constructed to throw you off when taking the LSAT, GMAT, GRE, SAT, or ACT. The questions are also meant to enhance your reading comprehension.
A few features that make QuotEd Reading Comprehension a worthwhile reading app:
- They include an explanation of all answer choices.
- There are varying levels of difficulty so you can progress as you learn.
- The author and work for each quotation are noted.
- Quote lovers are able to use the “Favorites” button and save favorite quotations or questions for friends!
#7 Endless Reader
Recommended Ages: 3-5
Endless Reader introduces young kids to sight words commonly used in school and in children’s books. Recognizing sight words is helpful to beginning readers because many sight words have unusual spelling and cannot be sounded out using phonics. Knowing these sight words helps kids achieve reading fluency.
Endless Reader uses cute monsters to teach kids the context and usage of common sight words. Kids will explore words featured in this reading app through both an interactive word puzzle with letters that come alive and a sentence puzzle with words that become what they describe.
A few features that make Endless Reader a great reading app for young kids:
- Fun animations reinforce sight recognition of words in a way that is both engaging and interactive.
- Word puzzles reinforce spelling using lower-case letters.
- Sentence puzzles teach definition and usage so kids gain another valuable skill.
- There are no high scores, failures, limits, or stress. Your children can interact with the app at their own pace, making this a great app for younger kids.
- Apple’s App Store Best of 2013
Note: If you want all of the word packs and want to avoid the in-app purchase option, go with the Endless Reader: School Edition It’s essentially the same app as Endless Reader, but specifically for schools or those that cannot make in-app purchases, or those who just want to avoid the frustration of having to purchase the word pack using the in-app purchase process.
#8 Short Vowels Word Study
Recommended Ages: 5-7
I reviewed and placed Short Vowels Word Study under my 10 Best Spelling Apps. So, why I am adding it to my list of Best Apps for Reading? Because spelling and reading go hand in hand, especially when talking about word families. Short Vowels Word Study app is based on the word study approach. Kids often learn to read and spell at different ages. Short Vowels Word Study helps kids learn the spelling patterns related to word families and longer short vowel words through developmentally appropriate and hands-on spelling activities. These activities help kids take off on their reading journey.
Short Vowels Word Study teaches kids who are ready for:
- word families
- short vowel words (CVC)
- longer short vowel words with blends and diagraphs (CCVC and CVCC)
There are four fun activities for each level in the app.
Sort it – Here kids sort words based on their spelling pattern.
Find it – Kids analyze words based on their patterns and they find the one that does not fit based on its phonics sound or visual pattern.
Spell it – Spelling is a bit more fun in Spell it, where kids manipulate letter tiles to spell short vowel words.
Write it – Kids practice tracing and writing short vowel words in Write it.
You’ll also see 2 bonus sections. One for parents and one for kids. In the parent section, you’ll find explanations for the theory behind the spelling activities included in the app. In the Word Fun bonus section, kids can play spelling games after earning stars from their spelling activities. This app truly is kid safe!
There are no ads or in-app purchases!
#9 Homer reading
Recommended Ages: 2-8
HOMER Reading is a fun interactive app that combines some of your kid’s favorite characters with critical reading skills to create a personalized reading plan for your child. The app works with the website’s monthly subscription to provide your child with thousands of lessons on phonics, sight words, and ABCs. The monthly subscription includes access to two apps: Homer Reading and Homer Stories. The reading app has tons of learn-to-read content, while the stories app is a complete library of interactive stories your kids will love reading.
The app is packed with tons of educational content, including:
- Thousands of expert-designed lessons for kids of every reading level
- A program that will grow with your child as their reading progresses
- Hundreds of stories featuring well known characters from Little Red Riding Hood to Thomas the Train
- More than 150 printable worksheets, games, and activities for your child to practice reading outside the app
- A Parent Dashboard with information on your child’s progress through the program.
The monthly subscription is $7.99 a month.
#10 Word Ball
Recommended Ages: 9 & up
Word Ball is a word-building game. Learning to build words is part of learning to read. Word Ball is both a reading app and a spelling app. Best of all, this is one of those apps where the entire family can play together. I can’t stress enough the value of playing educational games with your kids.
In Word Ball, players build as many words as they can with colorful balls that have individual letters on them – all as the balls bounce around and disappear. I’ve already said it, but what I love about this reading app is that it’s a game the entire family can play. The words need only be three letters long. This means younger kids who are just gaining spelling skills can enjoy playing with their family. Some words earn more points, depending upon length of word and letters used. The game organizes all of the words a player has spelled at the end of each round by alphabetical order. This game is useful in helping kids practice word building while having lots of arcade-style fun. Once kids get the hang of this game, they’ll be sucked into the action and hardly notice real learning is taking place. And isn’t that the best kind of learning?!
#11 Reading Eggs
Recommended Ages: 4 to 13
Help your young reader practice their sight words with this fun app that was designed by literacy experts. This app, which is used in thousands of classrooms around the world, is proven to help young children improve their reading skills through guided lessons, activities, and e-books. Each lesson is self-paced and users are perfectly matched to their beginning lesson each time. The one-on-one lessons offered in this reading app are based on scientific research and cover the five essential elements of reading (phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension). A subscription to the Apple version of this popular app includes access to:
- Reading Eggs Junior for ages 2 to 4: Pre-reading skills like alphabet knowledge and letter sounds for toddlers
- Reading Eggs for ages 3 to 7: Sight words and phonics are introduced, in addition to spelling and vocabulary skills
- Reading Eggspress for ages 7 to 13: Continues to build upon reading foundations outlined in the previous levels
- Mathseeds for ages 3 to 9: Covers early math skills, including understanding numbers, measurement, shapes, and patterns
The Android and Kindle apps only include the sight words package, which comes with a fun game made up of 10 levels with 25 sight words in each level.
- Parent and Teacher Award 2018
- Homeschool Review Crew 2017 Blue Ribbon Awards
- The National Parenting Center Seal of Approval
- Academics Choice Smart Media Award Winner
#12 Happy Frog Freading Comprehension
Recommended Ages: 7 to 11
Reading comprehension is an extremely important part of the middle grade common core curriculum, so it’s definitely a skill kids in those grades need to practice on a regular basis. This app is perfect for students who are able to read a book on level with ease but can’t quite explain what the story or passage was about when they’re finished. This app begins by asking your student to read a sentence then answer comprehension questions about that sentence. As the student progresses through the game, they’re asked to read longer passages. Kids can earn points for getting correct answers on the quizzes and for working uninterrupted for a period of time.
- Mom’s Choice Award
#13 Teach Your Monster to Read
Recommended Ages: 3 to 6
With fun colorful graphics and engaging games, your child will love learning to read with Teach Your Monster to Read. The app was designed in collaboration with leading academics from the University of Roehampton and is made to complement most phonics programs used in schools. It covers skills children should learn in their first two years of learning to read, including letter recognition, letter sounds, and basic reading. In the app’s game, children create a monster and take it on a journey through three levels that work to improve the child’s reading abilities as they play. This game is also free of ads or in-app purchases, making it perfect for use with young children.
- Primary Teachers’ Gold Award
- Junior Design Award
#14 EPIC! Books for Kids
Recommended Ages: 4 to 12
Known as the “Netflix of Books,” Epic! Is a digital library that will give your kids access to 25,000 books, educational videos, and quizzes. Help nurture a love for reading in your kids with this app, which offers unlimited access to a variety of books for kids up to 12 years old. Whether they’re interested in non-fiction books, graphic novels, or popular picture books, your young readers are sure to find a ton of awesome books to keep them reading for days. In addition to traditional books, this wonderful app also offers “read-to-me” versions and leveled readers for younger kids. The $7.99 monthly fee includes:
- Up to four reader profiles
- Personalized recommendations for each user based on what your child has previously read
- Unlimited access to every book, video, and educational tool available in the app’s database (in both English and Spanish)
- No ads or in-app purchases
- Teachers’ Choice Award 2017
- Parents’ Choice Gold Award 2016
- 2014 Top App of the Year from Creative Child Magazine
#15 Reading Comprehension Prep
Recommended Ages: 9 to 13
This collection of reading comprehension apps is a wonderful way for your kids to practice their reading skills outside of school. The series of apps offers students in third through seventh grades the opportunity to read a selection of short stories, then answer thought-provoking questions about each tale. Students can choose between fiction, non-fiction, or a mix of both when testing their reading comprehension. The simple tests offered after each reading selection are designed to be taken at the student’s own pace and shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes for a reader to complete. Each app is designed with students in that grade level in mind and is aligned with common core standards.
There are a variety of apps in this series, which are available on iOS, Android, and Kindle. The apps I have linked below are a trial version for grades three through five. More detailed apps for each grade level are also available on each platform (iOS, Android, or Kindle).
#16 Gappy learns reading
Recommended Ages: 3-5
This is another great app that appeared on my list of Top Apps for Spelling. Since this app is geared toward younger readers, learning spelling and reading at the same time is even more essential. And with this fun spelling app, your preschooler can master reading and spelling more than 200 three-letter words. Players travel across found different worlds, spelling words to collect parts to build Gappy’s house. Your little one will have a blast collecting house parts to create everything from a cozy gingergread house to an elaborate castle.
Gappy Learns Reading is filled with a variety of great educational features, including:
- Spelling 211 three-letter words, including 174 consonant-vowel-consonant words and 37 common sight words
- Four game levels that progress from letter recognition to spelling words
- The ability to switch between upper and lower case letters when spelling
- A teaching keypad that pronounces the name and sound of each letter
In App Purchases: No
Supports Family Sharing: Yes
What are some of your family’s favorite apps for reading?