10 Best Apps to Help Kids Learn to Read

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by: Lindsay Hutton
From learning the alphabet to stringing letter sounds together, reading requires a foundation of many skills. These interactive apps can help provide the building blocks of reading, focusing on literacy skills including phonetic awareness, site words, letter recognition, and letter sounds.

Looking for more educational apps? Check out our Appy Friday series!

Interactive Alphabet ABCs App
Interactive Alphabet ABCs
Your little one will sing, trace, and type his way to becoming a reader with this interactive app. Explore mode allows your child to discover letters and sounds at his own pace. Sing mode will have him singing the alphabet with 26 dancing robots, and trace mode includes letters, words, custom words, alternate tracing strokes, and left-handed support. This app is aligned to the Kindergarten Reading Foundational Skills in the Common Core Standards.

Ages: 1-5

Price: $2.99

Get it on iTunes

ABC Gurus App
ABC Gurus
Your child can interact with his ABCs as he personalizes each letter into a crazy character. This app allows your child to scroll through the alphabet and choose a letter to color and add silly accessories to, like cartoon eyes and a grinning mouth. As he colors and adds features, he'll hear the phonetic sounds the letter makes, and when he's done he can tap the play button to watch a word starting with the featured letter come to life in a hilarious animation.

Ages: 2-5

Price: $1.99

Get it on iTunes

Starfall Learn to Read App
Starfall ABCs
The ABCs section from the well-loved website starfall.com is now available in an app! Your child can see, hear, and interact with letters and sounds in words, sentences, and games, and positive reinforcement will help her develop skills to become a confident reader.

Ages: 2-4

Price: $2.99

Get it on iTunes

Get it on Google Play

Endless Alphabet App
Endless Alphabet
This interactive educational app focuses on letter recognition, sounds, and vocabulary building. Each word your child is given features a puzzle with talking letters, and a short animation illustrating the definition. The cute monsters that are featured are an added bonus.

Ages: 2-5

Price: $6.99

Get it on iTunes

Get it on Google Play

Elmo Loves ABCs App
Elmo Loves ABCs
Elmo loves this app, and your child will, too! Winner of an ON for Learning Award and a Parents' Choice Silver Award, it features songs, videos, coloring pages, and games all about letters. Elmo even made up a new song about the alphabet! Parents can personalize this app by adding their own photos and videos, and the ABCs tracker allows you to see how your child is progressing with his reading skills.

Ages: 3-5

$4.99

Get it on iTunes

Monkey Word School Adventure App
Monkey Word School Adventure
Join Monkey and his jungle friends as they explore a world of letters, phonics and spelling. With a special focus on sight words, and lessons ranging from letter recognition and sounds to word components such as consonant blends and irregular vowels, your child will be introduced to the fundamentals of reading in a fun and interactive way.

Ages: 3-5

Price: $1.99

Get it on iTunes

Get it on Google Play

Learn with Homer App
Learn with Homer
Based on Harvard and Stanford research and winner of a Mom's Choice Gold Award, Learn with Homer offers personalized reading instruction to help ready children for preschool, kindergarten, and first grade. It helps kids learn to read by progressively covering over 50 reading skills, including phonics, pronunciation, upper- and lowercase letter recognition, blending, and more.

Ages: 3-6

Price: Free

Get it on iTunes

Hooked on Phonics App
Hooked on Phonics — Learn to Read
Based on the award-winning Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read program, this app includes step one of the program. It comes complete with three lessons, loaded with interactive games that show how sounds become words and words become stories. It's perfect for kids who know the sounds of the alphabet and are ready to take the next step into reading. At the end of each lesson is a story for your child to read herself or aloud to others.

Ages: 4+

Price: Free

Get it on iTunes

Get it on Google Play

Wally Kazam App
Wallykazam! Letter and Word Magic
Based on the Nick Jr. hit TV show Wallykazam, this app follows along with Wally Trollman; his pet dragon, Norville; and their friends as they embark on a magical reading adventure. Silly games and activities, such as letter searches and letter tracing, aim to teach phonemic awareness, letter knowledge, and letter-sound associations.

Ages: 4-6

Price: $3.99

Get it on iTunes

Get it on Google Play

Noodle Words App
Noodle Words
Has your child ever made the word "spin" actually spin, or the word "jump" actually jump? The Noodle Bugs demonstrate the word meanings of each of the words in the app through animated antics, and your child can interact with the words by using the iPad's touch screen. With only 18 words offered, this app is better for children in the beginning stages of building their vocabulary. Winner of a Parents' Choice Gold Award and a Children's Technology Review Editor's Choice Award.

Ages: 4-7

Price: $2.99

Get it on iTunes