Providing children with a phone or tablet to use only for reading is the ideal approach to encourage them to read. Yet, many excellent reading applications can be used on any typical tablet or phone and offer certain benefits over their specialized counterparts.
Download the free apps listed below and let your kids read away if they already own one of the various intelligent device models available.
Nevertheless, there are a few additional factors you should think about if you want to buy a device solely to encourage your children to read more before choosing what to get. According to research, depending on the experience you desire for your child, reading on paper may only sometimes be preferable to reading on paper.
If you grew up as a child, you might have fond memories of being read to or even being read yourself. Reading makes us smarter! And it’s also one of the best ways to practice reading fluency and comprehension.
DeBaryshe (1993) has shown that children who read frequently develop language skills at an earlier age, including literacy. Reading builds vocabulary and creativity in children, but it can be challenging for some kids to sit down and just “read.” Some kids don’t like sitting still for an extended period; others aren’t big fans of reading if they don’t feel like they’re “getting something” out of it. I was one such kid!
If your kids are still learning how to read, or if they’re very young and want an interactive story, many great apps can help! Below are some of our favorites:
How We test and Select apps?
|Purpose/Goals||The intended purpose and goals of the app, such as improving reading skills or promoting literacy.|
|Content Quality||The quality of the content, including the selection of books and their relevance to the target audience.|
|User Interface||The ease of use and navigation of the app for both children and parents.|
|Features||Additional features that enhance the reading experience, such as interactive elements or gamification.|
|Performance||The app’s performance in terms of speed, stability, and overall user experience.|
|Reviews/Feedback||Reviews and feedback from parents, educators, and children who have used the app.|
|Price||The cost of the app, including any in-app purchases or subscriptions.|
|Updates||The frequency and quality of app updates, including bug fixes and new features.|
|Security||The security and privacy measures in place to protect children’s personal information.|
|Compatibility||The app’s compatibility with different devices and operating systems.|
|Educational Value||The educational value of the app, including its alignment with curriculum standards.|
|Testing Process||The process of downloading and testing the app for several weeks to ensure its quality and usability.|
When deciding what apps to use for our children, we always look for educational, safe, fun, and funny apps. We also look for apps with various activities that can appeal to different ages.
First, we need to know if the app is secure, so we check the reviews and ratings of the app. Then we ensure that it is free of any adware or spyware that could threaten our devices.
Next, we look at what kind of functions it has and how easy they are to use. After that comes the most crucial part of Testing!
We test out every app before letting our children play with them.
Our youngest tester is three years old, so she doesn’t get much say in what she likes, but we ask her and her older brother’s opinions.
We also asked about her older cousin’s views, who had just turned ten this year. He gives us some great feedback on whether he liked an app because he knows what he’s talking about when it comes to apps. If everything checks out okay, then it’s time for playtime!
We selected the educational apps that our children can spend time using. Each app’s volume of advertisements and if membership was required to use it completely were other factors we considered. We also considered the app’s support, such as whether it has a message board or email address where parents may get assistance and ask questions.
Since new technology is constantly being developed in this field, we’ll review these apps once every two years to see if anything that merits a recommendation has emerged. Here are six apps that our family enjoys for the time being.
Below are the 5 best reading apps for Kids : Free and Paid
|Reading App||Price||Ages/Grades||Why We Recommend||Features||Pros||Cons|
|HOMER Learn & Grow||Free||2-8 years||Personalized learning path, variety of books & activities||Interactive games, 1000s of books & activities||Easy to use, adaptive to child’s level||Monthly subscription fee|
|Epic Kids||Free||2-12 years||Huge library, tracking progress, reading quizzes||40,000+ books & videos, personalized bookshelf||No ads, safe & age-appropriate content||Monthly subscription fee|
|Skybrary||Free||2-9 years||Curriculum-based, parent dashboard, variety of books & videos||500+ books & videos, offline access||High-quality content, easy to navigate||Monthly subscription fee|
|FarFaria Read Along||Free||2-9 years||Read-along feature, themed collections, offline access||1000+ books, read-to-me feature||Affordable, great for beginner readers||Limited collection compared to other apps|
|Kids Stories||Free||3-7 years||Fun & interactive stories, phonics-based learning, no ads||200+ stories, games & activities||Free to use, no in-app purchases or ads||Limited reading levels and features compared to paid apps|
1. HOMER Learn & Grow – Best for Personalized learning
Why We Recommend It: If you’re looking for an engaging application to help your child build a strong foundation in literacy, look no further than HOMER Learn & Grow. Your child will learn phonics, spelling, and sight words while exploring all the available activities.
- Read together at night as a family and have fun while also learning.
- HOMER offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity to bond with your child through play, learning, laughing, and growing together.
- HOMER Learn & Grow is a smart way to keep your kids happy and engaged.
- Kids can enjoy endless reading adventures, plus skills lessons in math and reading.
They can record their voice and compare it to that of a character in the story, sing along with their favorite nursery rhymes, draw pictures to go along with the story they’re reading, and learn how to recognize letters and words through picture-matching games.
The application is easy to navigate and uses a simple menu interface. It is broken down into three sections: Stories, Phonics/Spelling/Sight Words, and Play Ground.
In the Stories section (which is currently free), your child will find 16 different stories that improve on skills from a variety of categories: Phonics & Spelling (when your child hears a word pronounced correctly, they will lift the right flap), Sight Words (your child can trace each word with their finger), Reading (your child will hear the story read out loud by one of four different characters), and Articulation (your child can practice saying short phrases that include word families).
2. Epic! – Kids’ Books and Videos
Why We Recommend It: The Epic library has everything from picture books to chapter books, Read-To-Me books, and more. Readers can sort by reading level, subject, title, and author. Before diving in, each book is summarized to get a feel for the plot.
- Diverse, huge, searchable library of kids’ books, videos.
- Customized for individual kid’s reading level and interests.
- Original stories weekly.
- Free reading log to track progress.
There are also links where you can read about the author or look at photos of the book covers. The videos are short (about 5 minutes) and are intended to supplement what the kids learn in school.
They cover history, science, and math, with many videos focusing on state standards. My kids love to watch these videos after they’ve had a long day at school and are a bit tired of doing homework.
They had great discussions over dinner about what they learned from the videos that day.
3. Skybrary – Kids Books & Videos
Why We Recommend It: With Skybrary, your kids can enjoy nearly 1,000 quality children’s books with award-winning narrators, including LeVar Burton, and engaging animations that bring stories to life.
- Kids can have fun while they learn.
- Books range from picture books to chapter books to non-fiction topics.
- Video Field Trips include the Aquarium, Safari and other science topics.
- Kids will love the animations, sounds and voice options
They can also choose between “Read to Me” or “Read by Myself” modes for each book. Engage your child by encouraging them to read to earn stickers and build their own story.
Create customized profiles for up to 3 children, so everyone gets the best reading experience possible. Skybrary is the destination for parents and educators who want to encourage their kids to love reading.
Skybrary offers several ways to encourage kids to read. Each book gives children the opportunity to earn stickers when they read. Your child can also create customized profiles for up to three children by adding their names and photos.
Then make reading fun by customizing the app with several settings, including turning on a nightlight or adjusting screen brightness.
With easy-to-use child-friendly navigation and advanced features for parents like automatic bookmarking and pausing, Skybrary is an excellent way for kids to discover the joy of reading independently!
4. FarFaria Read Along Kids Books
Why We Recommend It: A curated library of 1,000 high-quality children’s eBooks—a mix of classics and modern favorites—that lets kids read at their own pace and make their own choices using the FarFaria Read Along Kids app. No matter where your family goes this holiday break, your kids can take their favorite FarFaria books with them on any device with a screen: iPhone, iPad, Android devices, and Kindle Fire tablets.
- Kids’ books are sorted by reading level and topic interest, from ages 2 to 8, so you can find the right level for your child.
- From Adventure to Animals, there are hundreds of topics, genres and new books added every week.
- Read-to-Me professional audio narration means kids can listen along as they read or have the books read to them.
- Books range in reading level from beginning readers all the way up to early independent readers.
With more than 1,000 high-quality children’s eBooks, FarFaria Read Along Kids Books is a fun and educational app that helps kids learn to love reading.
The interface is simple and intuitive. The home screen shows a handful of recommended books, with the newest one on top. Scroll down to see more. Tap a book’s cover to read the description. Find out which book level your child is ready for and what that means regarding Lexile score (a standard measurement of reading comprehension) and word count.
Tap the bookmark button on the bottom left corner to save a book as a favorite or start an unlimited reading session. Reader Mode allows you to listen to any story while you browse other books. While the audio narration plays, words are highlighted as they are read aloud, so it’s easy for children to practice “reading along” with their favorite stories.
For older readers, tap the Writing Tools icon on the bottom right corner of any story page. This gives you access to additional features, including word highlighting, vocabulary word definitions, and definitions for context clues. Other tools let you create flashcards from words as you read along and quiz yourself with multiple-choice tests after each section.
5. Kids Stories – Learn To Read
Why We Recommend It: The Learn To Read app, a collection of over two hundred and forty children’s stories, is the perfect tool to teach kids how to read. The interactivity of all its elements makes Learn To Read stand out from the crowd. Every word in a story has a corresponding icon highlighting it on the screen, so children can follow along as they’re being read.
- More than 240 engaging stories
- Bedtime stories for kids
- Early reading learning stories
- Animated characters which act out the stories and make it more interesting for young children!
The app also includes interactive animations that add another level to reading comprehension by letting kids see what a character looks like or how something moves when each word is clicked.
Children can even interact with other characters in the stories themselves through fun little games and puzzles. These features make learning to read more fun for young students and encourage them to participate actively in their storytime experience.
Parvinder Singh is a seasoned IT developer and network engineer with over 5 years of experience. He is also a skilled tech columnist, offering insights on the latest trends and developments in the tech industry.