Reading Help For Kids: My Favorite Apps and Top Tips

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Since childhood, I’ve been an avid reader. My lifelong love of reading even inspired me to get my undergraduate and graduate degrees in reading. I still enjoy reading, so when I became a mom I couldn’t wait to instill the love of reading in my kids. But before they could immerse themselves in the imaginary worlds of books, they had to learn to read. 

Reading is a crucial skill that ensures success in school as well as in various areas of their lives now and in the future. Teaching a child to read, however, can feel overwhelming and challenging. Fortunately, there are a bunch of tools and strategies that can make reading easy and fun for kids. 

I’m sharing some of the best reading aids that parents, caregivers, teachers, and more can try with their kids.

Reading Help For Kids: My Favorite Apps and Top Tips

Teaching kids to read can take a lot of time, effort, and patience. But there are plenty of apps that are super helpful for teaching kids to read. Using the right strategies not only makes the learning process less stressful for you but also more fun for your new reader. Below are some of the best reading apps for kids.

apps for Reading Help For Kids

10 Best Reading Apps For Kids


Although the app is advertised as being for kids as young as 2, parents and educators recommend it for kids age 7 and older. 

With Epic, kids can choose from thousands of ebooks and take advantage of useful tools like reading logs and rewards. There are some audio or “read-to-me” titles that highlight each word as it’s read so kids can follow along, as well as Spanish/English, French/English, and Chinese/English bilingual books. 

Epic! is available on iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, and Chromebook. It’s free to try for 30 days, then $9.99 per month or $79.99 per year. You can create individual profiles for up to four children per account. 


Starfall is another popular app designed for kids aged 4 to 9. The reading program begins with the alphabet in Learn to Read, then progresses to vowel sounds and comprehension in the It’s Fun to Read and I’m Reading Starfall apps.

The Starfall Learn to Read app teaches phonemic awareness and phonic and sight words. The content is separated into areas for pre-k and kindergarten and grades 1-3. It uses positive reinforcement to help kids improve their reading skills and gain confidence in reading. It’s also great for children with special needs and learning difficulties who struggle with reading. 

Starfall Learn to Read is a free app available on Apple, Android, and Amazon devices. It’s one of several Starfall apps that can be used independently and doesn’t require internet access after you download it. You can also access almost all of the Starfall activities through the Starfall app. A bunch of them are free, but for access to all of their learning activities, you’ll need a Starfall membership. Home memberships are $35 for a full year.

Duolingo ABC – Learn To Read

Duolong ABC – Learn to Read is a multi-award-winning app that begins with the basics to help young children learn to read. The curriculum is based on recommendations by the National Reading Panel. Through the app, children are introduced to letters, letter sounds, phonics, and other important early reading concepts. They can also practice handwriting, sight words, and vocabulary. 

According to research by the Education Development Center, children who used Duolingo ABC for 9 weeks improved their literacy scores by 28%. 

Duolingo ABC – Learn to Read is free and available to use on iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. 

Reading Eggs

Reading Eggs is used in schools across the country and it’s easy to see why. It has over 3,500 digital books available and a ton of tools designed to help children ages two to 13 learn to read and improve their reading skills. 

With the Reading Eggs app, your child can work on phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, fluency, and reading comprehension. The structured reading programs are categorized by age. Your child will be motivated by the unique reward system. They also offer a placement test to determine your child’s current reading level and detailed reports to track their progress. 

Since 2008, the Reading Eggs online reading program has been used by over 20 million children in 169 countries. You can sign up for a free 30-day trial, then the subscription is $9.99 per month or $69.99 per year. You can use the desktop version or the app which is compatible with most iOS and Android devices.

Hooked On Phonics

Hooked On Phonics might sound familiar to you since it’s been around for so long. Known as one of the first apps to teach reading, Hooked on Phonics is a fantastic program for kids aged 3 through 8. It’s designed to help kids learn to read with a focus on phonics and phonemic awareness. 

Hooked on Phonics makes learning fun with music, games, stories, and lessons. The program can be adapted to suit your child’s learning pace. It also includes tools for parents that make it easy to track your child’s progress, participate in their learning process, and reinforce the skills they learn.

The Hooked on Phonics app is available on desktop as well as Apple, Android, and Amazon devices. It’s free to try for 7 days, then you can either pay $6.99 per month, $29.99 for 6 months, or $49.99 for a 1-year subscription.


ABCMouse is a mega-popular kids learning app and it’s easy to see why. Your child can customize their learning experience with a unique avatar, pet park, and their own room decorations. It covers reading and math and provides a step-by-step curriculum that helps your child learn at their own pace. 

ABCMouse is certified by the kidSAFE Seal Program and has earned the kidSAFE+ COPPA-CERTIFIED Seal (FTC-Approved “Safe Harbor”). You can learn more about what this seal means here

ABCMouse is great for struggling readers and is ideal for children ages 2 through 8. Kids 8 through 13 can Adventure Academy, a similar online learning academy by the same company. 

The first month of ABCMouse is free, then it’s $12.99 per month. You can use the computer version or download the app to any Apple, Android, or Amazon device. 

Reading Raven

Reading Raven is a wonderful adventure-themed app designed for children aged 3-7. This super engaging app uses interactive learning activities tailored to your child’s learning pace. It covers various reading topics including letter recognition, phonics, sentence construction, and vocabulary. 

With Reading Raven, your child will travel through different worlds, each with unique challenges. This app is great not only for helping children learn to read but for getting them excited about reading. 

Reading Raven is available on Apple and Android devices for $1.99.


Homer is a top-rated child’s reading app that helps kids improve their literacy skills. Like ABCMouse, Homer has earned the kidSAFE+ COPPA-CERTIFIED Seal (FTC-Approved “Safe Harbor”). You can learn more about what this seal means here

Homer reading lessons have been shown to increase early reading scores by 74%! The Homer app has over 1,000 lessons available and creates customized lessons based on your child’s interests and current reading level. There are numerous topics to choose from, including dinosaurs, princesses, sports, and space. 

Homer is ideal for kids 8 years old or younger, with separate areas for ages 2+, 3+, 4+, 5+, and 6+. You can sign up for a free trial, then it’s $7.99 per month. 

Khan Academy Kids

Khan Academy Kids is a gem for many reasons. It was developed with the help of learning experts at Stanford Academy to meet the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework and Common Core Standards. Right away you’ll notice that it’s completely free, with no ads or subscriptions! It’s perfect for teaching reading and math to kids from preschool through second grade. 

With Khan Academy Kids, your child will play games and participate in hands-on learning activities that help them learn to read. They’ll practice parts of speech, learn new vocabulary words, and read original books. 

Khan Academy Kids is available on Apple, Android, and Amazon devices. 

Teach Your Monster To Read

Teach Your Monster to Read is an app especially popular among teachers, but you can use it at home to help your child build their literacy skills. With their own monster creation, they can play games and complete missions and quests. Through the app, your child will develop reading skills starting with beginning letter sounds and working their way up to reading actual books. 

The computer version is completely free. You can also download the app on Apple, Android, and Amazon devices for $8.99.

how to teach kids to read

How to Teach Kids to Read

Focus On Letter Sounds First

To teach your kids to read, it helps to teach them letter sounds first, rather than letter names. For example, rather than pointing to the letter b and saying “b stands for balloon,” say “b sounds like /b/” and so on. 

Once they learn the connection between several letters and sounds, they can begin working on sounding out short words. The more letter sounds they know, the more words they can sound out.

Utilize Phonics And Sight Words 

A reading approach that encourages children to go letter by letter, or sound by sound, blending the sounds to form words is known as a phonetic approach. With enough practice, they will soon be able to sound out words right away.

This approach works great, with one exception: sight words. Sight words are common words that can’t be taught with decoding skills (sounding out) because they’re usually spelled differently than how they sound. This is why sight words need to be memorized. 

Sight words can be hard for some kids to learn, so it’s usually recommended that you focus more on phonics and then work in sight words where you can.

Keep It Fun

Reading is supposed to be fun! For kids, it’s a way for them to explore and learn new things. To ensure they see reading in a positive light, keep your reading lessons fun and stress-free. Try to incorporate topics your child is interested in. Consistency is helpful, but try to focus on quality over quantity with your reading lessons.

Read Together

Reading together is one of the best ways to help your child learn to read. There are all kinds of ways to read together, so find what works for you. You can try reading aloud to them and then point out any words that they might know and have them read them aloud. Or you can help them read a book with only a few, short words on each page by sounding out each word. 

For some great books to read together, check out my post on the best books for toddlers.

mother and son reading
What Are Your Favorite Learn To Read Tools?

I hope this post was helpful for your journey in teaching your child to read. Although it’s not an easy process, it’s one of the most rewarding experiences for a child’s teacher, parent, or caregiver. With these tools and strategies, your child could be reading fluently before you know it!

For more helpful posts like this one, head over to the Mommy Diary blog.

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