Best Reading Apps for Kids: A Parent’s Guide

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Brad Bartlett


Reading apps

As a parent, you know the key role reading plays in your children’s development. It’s not just about decoding symbols on a page—it’s the first step in opening doors to new worlds, sparking imagination, and laying the foundation for lifelong learning and success.

But let’s face it: in a world where screens often compete for our children’s attention, encouraging them to read can sometimes feel like an uphill battle.

This is where technology – specifically reading apps – becomes a powerful ally. With the right app, reading becomes an interactive adventure, one that children are eager to embark on.

Best of all, these apps are not just about swiping and tapping; they’re about engaging young minds, enhancing comprehension, and making learning to read an enjoyable and rewarding experience.

Our goal with this blog is simple: to help you navigate the vast ocean of reading apps available. We want to ensure that you find the perfect fit for your child, one that entertains and educates.

Whether your little one is just starting to recognize letters or is already devouring chapters, there’s an app out there ready to support their journey.

Join us as we explore the best reading apps for kids, offering insights, tips, and recommendations to help your child unlock the magic of reading. We’ll look at both paid and free reading apps for kids to help you find the right option for your young learner.

Our Top List of Best Reading Apps for Kids

1. Duolingo ABC

2. Epic!

3. Khan Academy Kids

4. Bob Books Reading Magic

5. Hooked On Phonics

Duolingo ABC

If you are looking for the best reading apps for iPhone, Duolingo ABC should be on your list. Designed with the young learner in mind, Duolingo ABC is not just another game; it’s a gateway to mastering reading through engaging, scientifically-backed activities.

Duolingo ABC’s approach to teaching kids how to read is deeply rooted in the science of reading. The goal is simple: make learning to read as enjoyable as possible because kids are more likely to engage deeply and learn effectively when they have fun. It’s one of the best reading comprehension apps for kids that combines gamification with learning.

Features That Foster Learning
  • Interactive Activities: Duolingo ABC maximizes learning through hands-on, interactive activities. These activities are designed to keep lessons engaging and ensure children actively participate in their learning process.
  • Bite-Sized Lessons: The app understands the short attention span of young learners, so it offers lessons that are 5 minutes or less, making it easier to keep kids motivated and focused.
  • Differentiated Learning: With nine different levels, Duolingo ABC allows kids to progress at their own pace, ensuring that each child’s unique learning needs are met.
  • Engagement Through Play: The app’s gamified approach fosters a love of reading and makes the learning process more enjoyable and effective.

Why We Love Duolingo ABC

The app’s use of scientifically proven techniques ensures that kids enjoy learning how to read books. With a colorful and engaging interface, bite-sized lessons, and personalized learning options, Duolingo ABC is an excellent choice for parents looking to introduce their child to the world of reading.

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Another gem in the world of children’s reading apps is Epic!, often referred to as a digital library for kids aged 12 and under. Epic! stands out for its expansive collection of over 40,000 books, encompassing a wide range of genres, including fiction, non-fiction, STEM, biographies, and more.

Features That Enhance Literary Adventure
  • Vast Library: Epic! offers an unparalleled range of books and videos that cater to various interests and reading levels, making it a versatile tool for encouraging a love of reading and learning.
  • Tailored Recommendations: The app employs an intelligent recommendation system that suggests books based on the child’s interests and reading level, ensuring engaging and appropriate content.
  • Reading Tracking and Badges: To motivate young readers, Epic! provides reading tracking features and awards badges for achievements, making reading a rewarding experience.
  • Educational Videos and Quizzes: Besides reading, children can watch educational videos and take quizzes, enhancing comprehension and encouraging interaction with content.

Why We Love Epic!

Epic!’s comprehensive collection supports academic learning and stimulates curiosity and imagination among young readers. Its user-friendly interface and personalized experience make it an indispensable resource for parents and educators. While Epic! offers a subscription-based model, it ensures that children have access to quality literature and learning resources, making it a worthwhile investment.

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Khan Academy Kids

Khan Academy Kids leads with a promise of a free, fun educational program for children ages 2 through 8. Known for its engaging and colorful interface, this app offers a creative approach to learning core subjects such as math, reading, writing, and social-emotional development.

Elevating Early Education
  • Comprehensive Curriculum: With thousands of activities, books, songs, and games, Khan Academy Kids provides a holistic educational experience encompassing critical developmental areas for young learners.
  • Personalized Learning Paths: The app adapts to each child’s learning level, offering personalized challenges that promote growth and understanding at a comfortable pace.
  • Parent and Teacher Tools: It comes equipped with powerful tools for adults to track progress, organize learning schedules, and find activities that complement the child’s learning in and out of the classroom.
  • Ad-Free and Cost-Free: Dedicated to making education accessible to all, Khan Academy Kids remains free, with no ads, subscriptions, or in-app purchases.

Why We Love Khan Academy Kids

Khan Academy Kids is on a lot of our top lists – and it’s commitment to providing educational content across different subjects is unparalleled today. Plus, it’s a free reading apps for kids – so there’s no reason not to download Khan Academy Kids and give it a shot!

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Bob Books Reading Magic

Bob Books Reading Magic continues the mission of fostering early literacy by turning the fundamentals of reading into a magical and interactive experience. Specifically designed for young readers, aged 2 through 5, this app focuses on phonics, matching letters to sounds, and constructing simple words. It’s an excellent bridge between recognizing letters and fluent reading.

Cultivating a Love for Reading
  • Interactive Phonics-Based Learning: Through engaging activities and games, children interact with letters and words in a way that reinforces the basics of phonics, key to developing reading skills.
  • Step-by-Step Progression: The app introduces concepts gradually, ensuring that each child can follow along at their own pace while building confidence in their reading abilities.
  • Engaging Storytelling: It utilizes the beloved Bob Books characters and stories, which are specifically designed to hold a young reader’s attention and encourage them to explore more.
  • Feedback and Reinforcement: Immediate feedback and positive reinforcement ensure that learners feel encouraged and supported as they progress through levels.

Why We Love Bob Books Reading Magic

Bob Books Reading Magic not only supports the foundational stages of reading but does so in an inclusive, engaging manner that sparks curiosity and a lasting love for reading in young children. It offers a personalized learning experience for each child, making it an essential tool for parents and educators. Plus, when looking for the best storybook apps, free is best!

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Hooked on Phonics

Perhaps one of the first apps to teach reading, Hooked On Phonics is a known name in the learning world. Hooked on Phonics is meticulously crafted for children aged 3 through 8, aiming to streamline learning to read by focusing on phonics and phonemic awareness. This program is recognized for its:

  • Dynamic Learning Path: Employing a unique blend of music, games, lessons, and stories, Hooked on Phonics captivates children’s interest, making learning to read a fun and interactive experience.
  • Customizable Learning Experience: Understanding that each child’s learning pace is different, the program offers adaptability, allowing children to progress through levels as they master each reading skill.
  • Comprehensive Phonics Instruction: With a strong emphasis on phonics, Hooked on Phonics systematically builds from simple to complex concepts, ensuring a solid foundation in reading skills.
  • Parental Involvement and Support: It includes resources and tools for parents to track progress and engage in their child’s learning process, reinforcing the reading skills learned.

Why We Love Hooked On Phonics

Hooked on Phonics has been a household name for years and continues its mission to help kids learn how to read with the same great results – but in app form. If you want to introduce your kids to a learning method that likely helped you learn how to read, Hooked on Phonics is the way to go.

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Quick Tips for Picking the Right Reading App

Selecting the right reading app for your child can make a big difference in their learning journey. but how do you know if it’s worth downloading? Here are some of our top tips for picking the right reading app:

  • Evaluate Your Child’s Needs: Consider your child’s current reading level and learning style. Look for apps that offer a personalized learning experience to meet these needs.
  • Look for Engaging Content: Children are more likely to stick with an app that captivates their interest. Choose apps that incorporate games, stories, and fun and educational activities.
  • Check for Progress Tracking: It’s important to monitor your child’s reading progress. Opt for apps that provide detailed reports and feedback on your child’s performance.
  • Seek Recommendations: Sometimes, the best advice comes from other parents or educators. Look for reviews or ask in forums for personal experiences and recommendations.
  • Prioritize Safety and Privacy: Ensure the app has strict privacy policies and safe content for children. It’s crucial that your child’s data is protected and the app environment is secure.
  • Test Before You Commit: If possible, try out the free version of the app or utilize a trial period. This will give you a better idea of whether it suits your child’s learning style before purchasing.

Helping your child learn how to read is one of the best gifts you can give them – and these apps listed above go a long way in helping them grow.

At Kidslox, we are dedicated to helping your family access the best the digital world offers. Follow us online for more great tips and insights into today’s top tech – as well as guidance for keeping your family safe online.