Best Reading Apps for Kids

Priya Sridhar

Staff Writer

A 2016 MBA graduate and published author, Priya Sridhar has been writing fantasy and science fiction for fifteen years, and counting, as well as contributing columns to Chalkpack Magazine and drawing a webcomic for five years. She also enjoys reading, biking, movie-watching, and classical music. One of her stories made the Top Ten Amazon Kindle Download list, and Alban Lake published her novella Carousel. Priya lives in Miami, Florida with her family and posts monthly at her blog A Faceless Author. Website Twitter: @PriyaJSridhar

I recall my joy when I realized that I liked reading and I wanted more of it. It only took about nine years to get to that point. Technology can help other children reach that wonder, at a much faster rate. I remember playing a lot of computer games about reading and watching shows that adapted classic and modern literature. In the modern world, to accommodate for changing values and minds, we can utilize both paid and free reading apps. Here’s some of the best reading apps for kids.

Free Reading Apps For Kids

hoopla digital app image1. HOOPLA

Book Riot has recommended this for downloading audiobooks straight from local libraries. It also has an extensive children’s audiobook section, which will make for good bedtime reading or car listening. Having the volume of selection makes a difference when you’re scrambling for new material after the latest book runs out on the highway.

2. epic!

Epic provides a plethora of children’s books for all ages. The app asks for parents or teachers to create an account, and allows for them to create four profiles for children readers. You do need to register an email and a password. The visuals and music contribute to a fun learning experience.

3. Sight Words

App Store reviews from parents have expressed satisfaction with this app game that encourages reading and makes it fun for kids. It’s for ages 4 and up, with detailed animation, background music, and great visuals. There are six games at the moment, tailored by grade. Kids can create their own profile, as either people or monsters.

skybrary logo

4. SkyBrary

Everyone’s favorite childhood show Reading Rainbow has been revived into a fantastic reading app for kids called SkyBrary. Hosted by LeVar Burton and backed by Reading Is Fundamental, the app offers over 1000 stories for kids to read and interact with. The first month of the app is free, but it costs $4.99 thereafter–give it a short for free before committing to a paid version.

abc letter tracing app logo

5. ABC Alphabet Letter Tracing

As the name implies, this free app for kids is focused on teaching them to identify and write their letters. The program encourages them to see, say, and trace the alphabet.

farfaria app logo

6. FarFaria

Enjoy one free story every day with the FarFaria app, which is tailored to children by grade level. If you download and purchase a subscription, you’ll have access to the entire catalog of stories. Bonus for parents: this is Common Core aligned, making finding age-appropriate books a breeze.

7. Endless Reader

This is meant for younger readers, ages 4 and up, to teach them words by sight. It’s designed to grab attention, with fluid animation and epic music. Digital flash cards occupy the screen, with fitting animation. Kids have to assemble the words, or match them, while the game provides appropriate sound effects. It’s suitable entertainment for young children and parents who may need a pick-me-up.

spark reading icon

8. Spark Reading for Kids

This app is for older readers, grades 3–5, and contains 12 stories, fiction and nonfiction. The stories cover a bit of history, adventure, and even creepy background. Reviewers have mentioned they enjoy sharing the tales with their children. There are different paid app from the same company.

9. Reading Comprehension

In the paid version of the Peakaboo apps, there are versions for various reading levels, grades 2–8. The various bundles range from $7.99–9.99 and individual apps cost $1.99. These promise to educate children, while provoking thought with their questions about the material.

Taales2Go app logo

10. Tales2Go

Not only does listening to audiobooks encourage young readers to enjoy books aurally, but it helps develop crucial speech and listening skills. Tales2Go offers institutions like schools and libraries, as well as individuals, to tap into a collection of over 10,000 titles for kids. This is a paid app, and you can request price quotes here, but chances are your library or school may provide you free access already.

Wanderful logo11. Wanderful Interactive Storybooks

In the 1990s, this company was called Living Books and made CD-Rom games based on children’s books. It has since adapted with the times and provides these interactive adaptations on the iPad, iPhone, and Android. For parents who grew up during the ’90s, the app is a good way to get nostalgia.

12. Kindle

Kindle is a reliable standby. It can be downloaded on any computer, iPad, or iPhone. While the app is free; however, there may be additional costs in buying a Kindle, or the content that you wish. It depends on whether the material—like Peter Pan—is in the public domain or not.

13. Audible

In line with Kindle, Audible has a large amount of audiobooks. The cloud server has ample children’s audiobooks, which is perfect for commutes. The main trade off with using Audible is that while the app is free, the books cost money and their price is linked to how much the text costs on Amazon. With that said, the sound quality is amazing, and an Audible subscription will provide two books a month. This is more suitable for older readers who have a long commute or waiting time.

14. TeachMe

This is the only non-free one on our list, but it’s still very affordable. This kid’s reading app comes for multiple grade levels, including Preschool, Kindergarten, First Grade, Second Grade, and Third Grade. All five apps cost $7.99 as a bundle, and the individual ones are $1.99 if a caregiver wishes to buy them separately.

khan academy kids logo

15. Khan Academy Kids

For preschoolers through second graders, this app is an excellent way to introduce independent reading. Over 60 books are available to read and engage with, and one of the bonuses of this app are the complementary educational activities (such as learning the parts of a book).

Not only is the app free, but it also has no advertisements.

a to z free app logo

16. A to Z Mrs. Owl’s Learning Tree

The free version of this reading app for kids teaches young budding word lovers how to identify and pronounce the letters of the alphabet. There are engaging quizzes to help reinforce the learning, and part of the fun comes in seeing and hearing how words with the letter being explored.

There is a paid version of the app, with more enrichment activities, but both allow for specifying pronunciation of letters (zee or zed, for example) and for turning off background music.