Next up in our Back to School Tech Guide 2015, we’re happy to share 10 of the best reading apps for little kids. Because as plenty of us parents know, getting kids hyped about reading isn’t always an easy road. So when they’re first starting out, we always welcome any tools or technology that will help get our kids excited about reading and eventually developing a healthy love for it. Good thing there’s an app — or really, a full list of apps — for that.

Related: 13 of the best educational Android apps for kids

 

For kids leaning to write letters

Writing Wizard app | best reading apps for little kids

Writing Wizard app

This bright, easy-to-follow app uses animated stickers, interactive games, and audio and video prompts to help preschoolers trace the alphabet while learning each letter’s phonetic sound. Kids can also add their own words to trace, such as Mom, Dad, Grammy or their own names. The app is very customizable, and parents can adjust the letter size or the show-hide modes. (Available on iTunes and Google Play for $4.99 and on Amazon Appstore for $2.99.)

 

Elmo Loves ABCs app | best reading apps for little kids

Elmo Loves ABCs app

Whether you love him or merely tolerate this cuddly, red fur ball, Elmo is trying to help your young ones learn. And with this iPad app, much like the Elmo Love 123s app, he’s teaching pre-schoolers how to identify letters, how to write them, and how they sound. Through games, tracing activities and songs, including Elmo’s own alphabet song which your kids will probably immediately love and sing on loop. Yeah, you’ll just have to deal. (Available on iTunes for $4.99.)

 

For kids starting to read on their own

Endless Reader app | best reading apps for little kids

Endless Reader app

Our no-so-secret love affair with the Endless apps for kids started with Endless Alphabet, and quickly spread to include the follow-up learning app, Endless Reader. Aimed at the 5-and-under set, Endless Reader uses its trademark cute monsters to introduce those sight words that young kids need to start mastering by first grade, helping them learn how to identify the right letters to spell these words and, by extension, how to read them in a sentence. It’s fun with fundamentals, and we’re huge fans.  (Available on iTunes  and Google Play for free, but with only six words; all letters can be unlocked for $4.99)

Related: 5 great websites for children’s books recommendations

 

Learn With Homer app | best reading apps for little kids

Learn With Homer app

We’ve recommended it before, but this learn-to-read app for the 3- to 6-year-olds continues to be an absolute charmer. Created by literacy experts, the engaging, well-thought out app also incorporates Common Core literacy standards.  Sure, there are traditional phonics lessons here, but they are completely surrounded by interactive fun, cute characters, funny stories and silly songs. We also like that you can have up to three separate accounts on the same app, making it easy for parents to track individual progress. (Plus, no sibling squabbles. (Free download on iTunes.)

 

Alpha Tots app | best reading apps for little kids

Alpha Tots app
This award-winning app uses 26 action verbs (building robots, zapping aliens, etc.) to teach kids aged 5 and under the alphabet and phonics. Through puzzles, interactive mini-games, and a sing-a-long song built around the ABCs. It’s an easy to navigate app with a colorful, clean design. Plus, Alpha Tots app doesn’t have any of those  often annoying third-party ads popping up and no in-app purchases to worry about. Just words and fun, with a lot of learning on the side.. (Available on iTunesGoogle Play and Amazon Appstore for $2.99.)

 

For kids who are starting to love reading on their own

Bob Books Reading Magic app | best reading apps for little kids

Bob Books Reading Magic apps

Bob Books is popular, acclaimed, gentle reading and phonics program that was successfully turned into an app and has been on lots of our best app lists for a few years now. The first app in the series, Reading Magic #1 app , presents young readers with 12 cute scenes featuring 50 words, as well as phonic sounds and activities to reinforce their developing reading skills. Once the child makes it though the first app, they’ll likely be looking for more. Good things there’s Reading Magic #2.  (Available on iTunesGoogle PlayAmazon AppstoreNOOK and Nabi Store for $3.99)

 

Reading Rainbow Skybrary app | best reading apps for little kids

Skybrary by Reading Rainbow app

When the Reading Rainbow app launched three years ago, it became the most downloaded educational app on iTunes in just 36 hours. That’s saying something. Now there’s the Skybrary by Reading Rainbow app which rolled out earlier this year and seems destined for the same success. The new app is essentially a digital library on the web, providing kids (about ages 5 to 9) with a grand library packed with more than 500 books. Kids can choose to read by themselves or read along with the narrator, or spend some time with one of 150 videos. It’s a subscription service, however there’s a free 14-day trial, and parents can see up to five profiles on the account. (Subscriptions start at $9.99 per month.)

For kids who need a game to make learning more fun

Metamorphabet app | best reading apps for little kids

Metamorphabet app

Super cute and playful, this app (also shown at very top) lets kids play with letters and sounds as they move through a short series of fun interactive vignettes. With a tap of the screen, each letter of the alphabet morphs into something else that begins with the specific letter.  So, the letter B grows hair and becomes a beard. Another tap and a yellow beak juts out from the top loop. More taps gets your a bird and then some buzzing bees. Although Metamorphabet claims it’s for 6- to 8-year-olds, we highly recommend for early readers in the pre-K and Kindergarten crowd. Parents will get a kick out of it too. (Available on iTunes for $3.99.)

 

Teach Your Monster to Read app | best reading apps for little kids

Teach Your Monster to Read app

What better way to get more comfortable reading than with a lovable monster buddy by your side? This fun app, for kids aged 3 to 6, lets you create your own goofy monster and take it on an adventure. Really what’s happening during the adventures and game of it all is that kids are learning the first steps of reading: phonics, letter recognition, blending words, and more. Kind of sneaky, but not really. Our guess is these kids already know the game has learning baked in it; they just don’t let on. (Available on iTunes for $4.99.)

 

Sid the Science Kid Play and Read app | best reading apps for little kids

 Sid the Science Kid Read & Play app

We know kids often respond to educational apps when it’s presented by characters they already love from TV and movies. Even better when it’s around a topic kids already love, like science. You get both of those here, thanks to that smarty from PBS fame, Sid the Science Kid, who’s helping young kids to learn through play, using jokes, games, sing-along music videos, coloring pages, and two story books. That includes What’s That Smell? shown above.  (Ha.) Children can opt to have stories read to them on autoplay, read along with the narrator or read all by themselves. Whatever reading method they choose, we’re sure that you’ll hear all about the good, the bad and the ewww smells that Sid is discovering. (Available on iTunes for $2.99.)

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