There are language learning apps that you can use to help kids learn basic alphabets and words. Today, we will be taking the lessons a step further and talk about apps that help learn how to do reading. Some reading apps encourage kids to read by presenting the story in an illustrative UI. Other reading apps share lessons along with reading material, so kids can both learn and practice at the same time. These are some of the best reading apps for kids we found for Android and iOS you should try.
Best Reading Apps for Children (4 to 8 Years)
1. PalFish Reading – Kid’s Books
PalFish is a good app that delivers a personalized reading experience kids. The app has a very interactive interface with a large library of kids books. You can segregate these books by the age group of your child or simply pick one recommended by the PalFish. The home screen features 50 must-read classics that so your kid can quickly begin to read as soon as they open the app. Moreover, if you scroll down on the home page, there is a dedicated section of books from famous publishers like Scholastic, Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, etc.
The app has high-quality graphics so your kid is likely to stick with the book until the last page, and on top of that, you can also listen to the books, take quizzes and even record your kid reading the book. PalFish is free however subscribing to the VIP plan at $14.99/month unlocks more content, challenges, etc.
- Books from major publications such as Oxford, Scholastic, etc.
- Interactive interface with book thumbnails
- Additional content such as funny videos, courses, quizzes, etc.
- Contains full-screen ads
- Books’ graphics lag and don’t sync with the audio
2. Epic: Kids’ Books
Epic reading app is similar to the PalFish in terms of content, so you might want to skip it if you are not in the mood to sign in. It features a parent dashboard where you can track kid’s activities. If you have more than one kid or are a teacher handling a large group of children, you can add multiple profiles. Coming to the app itself, the home page recommends one book at a time once a week along with new releases. If your kid likes a book, simply add it to the favorites section or to a collection (can be shared between multiple profiles).
There are plenty of handy features such as the save for offline reading option, reading time indicator, multimedia playback control, etc. The popular reading app for kids also has an unlimited plan that gives you access to a 40K+ library along with audiobooks and unlimited reading time. You can subscribe to the Unlimited version at $9.99/month.
- Multiple kids profiles (shared book collection)
- Parent dashboard
- Well illustrated graphics and professional audio
- Requires sign-in
- UI alignment issues on certain pages
3. Read Along (Bolo): Learn to Read with Google
Did you know Google has also developed a reading app designed to teach your kids to read? Read Along is a minimal app that will get you started in no time. All you have to do is select a language you wish your kids to learn to read and begin with the lessons. The highlight is the audio reading assistant that not only reads the text on screen but also reviews your kid’s pronunciation in a very friendly tone.
The large library of the illustrated books are available for offline viewing anytime. No internet required. To make reading fun for kids, it features word-related games such as speed reading, jumble words, etc. Lastly, Bolo is completely free and doesn’t bother the user with annoying ads.
- Pronunciation and review with AI
- Free, without ads
- Features multiple profiles
- Minimal UI
- Very simple story illustration
- Supported languages focus on Indian languages besides English
4. Khan Academy Kids
Unlike the other apps on the list, Khan Academy focuses not only on a kid’s reading skills but also other aspects such as problem-solving, social development, creative skills, etc. In terms of reading, it has a lot to offer. The reading lessons are well-segregated intro groups and you will find diverse lesson plans across subjects. Your kid can follow lessons on fundamental reading skills, word reader, stories, among other topics that directly or indirectly help in reading better. Depending on the kid’s age, you can also filter lessons in preschool to 2nd grade.
If your kid is bored with lessons in the reading section, you might want to move them to the books tab. Similar to other reading apps for kids, you can either let the kiddo read the book or have it narrated. The narration can be toggled on and off anytime and comes in handy to teach proper pronunciation. The best part about the app is that it is completely free and comes without any ads or in-app purchases.
- Holistic app (lessons on other subjects)
- Free, without ads
- Contains both reading and book section
- Requires sign-in
- Not suitable for someone looking for a dedicated reading app
5. Let’s Read – Digital Library of Children’s Books
Let’s Read is an initiative of The Asia Foundation’s Books and focuses particularly on young readers. The app is extremely easy to browse – head to homepage or the featured page to find top book recommendations. I would suggest this to someone who seeks a large catalog of children’s books that is available for offline viewing. Apart from that, it also shows relevant tags and reading levels to identify better reading books for kids.
The catalog features a long list of books that are available in different languages. The preferred language is shown clearly in the book thumbnail and can also be switched anytime while reading. If you are wondering about ads, rest assured, the app is free and doesn’t show any ads.
- Large catalog of kids’ books
- Simple illustrations and easy language
- Free, without ads
- Limited language support
- More book filters would’ve made it easier to browse
Get Let’s Read for Android
6. Hooked on Phonics Learn and Read
It’s extremely easy for a kid to mimic what he or she hears, and if they are listening to the wrong pronunciation of a word, chances are they are reading it wrong. This app tackles this problem with a phonetic-based approach. It means that it teaches the kids the relation between sound and written language. For example, teaching words that end with sounds like it, ad, at, etc. Hence chances of comprehending similar sounding words become easy.
It uses a gamified approach with all the phonetics lessons keeping the younger ones entertained. There are over 20+ stages along with a large library of add-ons such as music tracks, book library, and games. Although the app is free, these additional elements are locked and can be purchased at a cost of $7.99/month with a 7-day free trial.
- Phonetic approach different from others
- More than 20+ lessons
- Each stage takes a lot of time to load
- Long intros
- Add ons locked behind the paywall
Vooks is a story app that helps kids improve their reading skills with story narrations that kids can follow along with. Each story comes with narration and text on the screen. As the narration progresses, the spoken word is also highlighted which makes it easier for a kid to follow and read.
The app refreshes its books list and keeps adding new books to the catalog every week. The only downside I found is that Vooks is only free for 30 days. After the trial expires, you can subscribe at a cost of $4.99/month.
- Stream on multiple devices
- Highlights words spoken in narration
- A vast library of books with new additions each week
- Not for those looking to skip sign-in
- No option to take a trial as a guest
Closing Remarks: Which Reading Apps Your Kids Prefer
So these were my top picks for the best reading apps available for kids. If you want your kiddo to stick to one app that does it all, Khan Academy is a great option. It features multiple well-designed lessons in not only reading but covers other subjects too. I suggest you try a couple of reading apps above or hand your kids the phone and let them decide for themselves.