Top Ten Reading Apps for Children

My little six-year-old grandson was playing on my iPhone the other day and asked me to download some new game applications – for the uninitiated – apps are smart phone, eReader and iPad applications.

That’s when I realized that I’ve been missing the boat. Although we love Doodle Jump and Angry Birds, new apps mean new opportunities to find something educational… something that could provide my grandson with some reading help. Genius!

As we started to search for children’s reading games in the App Store, I became completely overwhelmed. So I decided to do my own homework – with some help from iPhone Mom, I now know a little more about a few of the best educational and reading apps available.

Here Are My Top Ten Reading Apps for Children:

1. WORDUS2

WordUs2 is a fun word game that is part word ladder and part Mastermind. The quick start game has you guessing a 5 letter word, but go into Select Game Mode and you can set the options for words as small as 3 letter words. Also in game mode, you can play Calm and Collected where you guess the word in you own time, Think Fast which is a timed round, and a couple of other options too.

2. THE THREE LITTLE PIGS

An instant favorite – this is a fabulously illustrated, delightfully narrated modern take on a classic tale. Each scene is animated, touch the pigs and other hotspots on the app to hear them talk and do other fun things. You can even help the wolf try to blow the piggies house down!

3. SUPER WHY! – PBS KIDS
The SuperWHY app follows along the same lines as the PBS kids show, entertaining and educating young kids about words and reading. With 4 different games within the app, there’s everything from tracing letters to picking the best word to finish a sentence.

Psst

4. MISS SPELL’S CLASS
Miss Spell’s Class is an original word game that lets players test their spelling skills against the most commonly misspelled words on Dictionary.com. Players must quickly decide whether each of 20 words is spelled correctly or incorrectly, as speed and accuracy count to get to the top of the class!

5. abc POCKET PHONICS
abc Pocket Phonics is packed with activities to help your child develop early literacy and penmanship skills. The app focuses on letter phonics, both the sounds of individual letters and the sounds that are made when certain letters are combined, making it perfect for early readers. In addition, the letter-writing section visually demonstrates how to write a letter. There is also a game where your child can learn to read and spell common first words.

6. LETTER WRITER OCEANS
LetterWriter Oceans is a gorgeous app that will teach your preschooler how to write letters. The letters float below the ocean’s surface, and when your child taps on a letter, the guides for the letter strokes appear. A small fish will swim to the beginning of a stroke, this is where your child should place their finger. Now they need to follow the stroke directions and write the letter on the screen. The little fish will follow their finger as long as they are writing correctly.

7. JACK AND THE BEANSTALK INTERACTIVE STORYBOOK
Jack and the Beanstalk Children’s Interactive Storybook turns the well-known story into an app with astonishing graphics. Each page of the story has different things to tap on and interact with. Tapping on the characters will give you additional dialogue and several pages have hidden games. This is the kind of app where you want to tap everywhere on the screen to make sure you’re not missing a thing.

8. GEOWALK – 3D WORLD FACTBOOK
GeoWalk provides a trip around the globe where your child can learn about different landmarks, historical figures and animals. As they spin the globe on the screen, dots will appear, scattered about in different locations. Depending on the category that your child has selected, the dots will represent places, people, flora or fauna. Your child can then tap on the dot to pull up a larger picture and facts about their selection.

9. THE MORON TEST
Sounds bad, but it isn’t. The Moron Test asks a series of questions that really get kids thinking. Some of them have obvious answers and others appear to have obvious answers that end up being wrong. It’s fun for the entire family and will give everyone’s brain and powers of observation a workout.

10. THE OREGON TRAIL
The game’s premise is still the same: you must take a journey on the Oregon Trail and survive the experience. You’ll need to make decisions and solve problems that will help you travel safely. The app involves mini games about repairing your wagon, picking berries, hunting, fishing and more. At times you may even find yourself in trouble from illness, lack of supplies and bandits. Beware the dysentery!

If you have a favorite iPhone or smart phone app to boost a child’s educational acumen, list it here.

This entry was posted in Phonics, Product Reviews, Reading Activities and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses

  1. Denise says:

    Hi,

    You may also want to check out this new app – eReadingToGo! (www.ereadingtogo.com).

    The app uses a unique building-block approach that takes a child by the hand to walk through each sentence. Words are shown as large, simple and clear flashcards while the child hears the word clearly enunciated. Simple word games follow the flashcard presentation, which assists a child in understanding how each word is put together. Single words are joined as couplets, followed by phrases and finally into sentences. A beautiful illustration represents each sentence.

    When a child begins a sentence, they are presented with the entire sentence, a thumbnail size of the illustration that represents the sentence, and a number of red lights. As they progress through the sentence in order, the lights will turn yellow and then green. This ensures they learn in a systematic and progressive way until they learn the full sentence. Once the light is green and is unlocked, the user can go back and relearn any word they choose.

    eReadingToGo! assists children with way more than just building vocabulary – it helps to improve reading fluency along with reading comprehension. The system is like no other!

    Hope you like it!

  2. Leslie says:

    Thanks for the great information! I may even get the Oregon Trail app for myself. I loved that game in elementary school!

  3. Another app to check out is Peter and the Whimper-Whineys on iTunes. This app has a choice of a voiceover to read the story to your child, as well as an opportunity for either the parent or child (or both) to record the story in their own voices. The story itself is a way to show children how annoying whining can be, disguised as a fun story!

  4. joey says:

    Some great information here!Phones are so popular now and dont think they will be going anywhere any time soon! So the fact that they offer educational apps for children is great!

  5. Mary says:

    Thank you very much! We recently found out our daughter has dyslexia and I think some of these apps will be great for her!

  6. William says:

    Another good app that would be great for teaching a child to read while simultaneously introducing the child to music is A Jazzy Day app. It has a story book that can either be read aloud by the app or read by the user. It also features an instrument recognition game. Here’s the website:
    http://www.themelodybook.com/a-jazzy-day

  7. Natasha Yim says:

    A great list, Margo. I just got the abcPhonics one for my son. Thanks for posting it!

  8. I’m looking forward to trying these apps with my daughter. Thanks for the advice. You may also want to look at a new ebook coming out soon that has been developed specifically to support phonological awareness, or our ability to manipulate sounds within a word. It’s called The Day the Letters Flew and will become available the summer of 2012. It’s specially designed for children at risk of speech and language difficulties but it’s great for the general public as well.

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