8 iPad Apps to Help Your Child Become a Better Reader

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The iPad has been a great tool for education since it debuted in 2010, thanks in large part to an abundance of apps and games that blend information with entertainment. It’s portable enough to use around the house or on the road, and it’s simple enough that kids can use it without getting lost. It’s also been a great tool for teaching children to become better readers. There are many apps available that parents can use to help their kids improve their reading skills significantly, whether they’re just starting out or brushing up on some basics. Here are some of the best:

Sentence Reading Magic

Developed by Preschool University, Sentence Reading Magic helps your child read and build sentences. With this app, you can use two learning modes to improve your child’s ability to handle sentences, which makes it a great tool for driving home key reading lessons. The first mode allows children to place words into the correct position in a sentence. The second mode allows the child to read the sentence and then check the meaning using a hidden picture. The sentences are short, but the lessons are well-crafted.

Phonics Fun 5

You can teach your child letter sounds with this great app from Innovative Net Learning Limited. Phonics Fun 5 offers four learning levels covering 61 words and 12 two-letter sounds (th, ch, wh, et, ad, am, an, ap, ag, ob, og, op). When the child taps on the image of a letter, he’ll hear the corresponding sound. When he taps on a picture, he’ll hear the corresponding word. Phonics can be tricky for many younger readers — for instance, “th” will sound hard or soft depending on the word — so this app is a good place to learn valuable lessons.

ABC PocketPhonics

With this app, your child can learn more than 170 common words. The app plays the sound of a letter, and the child has to find the letter out of a group of eight. If she selects the right letter, the app gives a thumbs up and then moves onto the next letter. Progressively, the child will build a word with the letters. ABC PocketPhonics also teaches children to write characters by tracing letters with their fingers. The app is for pre-school and kindergarten-age beginning readers.

ABC Phonics Animals

This is a fun app that teaches children to read using images of animals. The flashcards display cartoon animals together with the name of that animal, while playing a voice recording of each letter in the name. The child selects the letter as he hears it. In another part of the app, the child can choose from among three words to correctly identify an animal cartoon. The balloon pop section allows the child to touch the letter from an animal name that appears in a balloon. If the response is correct, the app makes a balloon-popping noise.

Word Magic

With this iPad app, kids see a picture of an object and some of the letters for the associated word. The child must then choose the missing letters from the screen. The app allows you to set different difficulty levels for children of different ages. It’s a simple but reliable way to learn word construction.

The Monster at the End of this Book

This classic children’s book is now available via the App Store. Grover from Sesame Street narrates the book, and the words appear highlighted on the page for the child to follow. As Grover reads, barriers appear that your child must tap on to remove. Alternatively, she can tickle Grover to remove the barrier. This is a great app for improving reading and listening skills.

Rock ‘n Learn Phonics Easy Reader

This app features three phonics stories that allow your child to read and sound out words. By clicking on any word, he’ll receive extra help with the pronunciation. As the voice recording of the story plays out, each word is highlighted, so your child can easily read along. The app also lets the child read the story aloud on his own. Rock ‘n Learn Phonics Easy Reader concentrates on difficult sound combinations, short vowel sounds and words ending with ff, ll, ss, s, and the plural s. Your child can select story playback to see how accurate he was in reading the sentences.


True, this isn’t so much a single app as a way to house thousands of individual books, but it’s so valuable that it still merits a spot on this list. Based on their age or skill level, you can use this app to download books from the iBookstore to read to your children or let them try on their own. Some downloads are free, too, though others charge a fee. One of the best uses of the iPad is as a portable, vast library for your children. There’s almost no better way to boost reading skills than by immersing them in all sorts of titles. The more you encourage your kids to read and the easier you make it for them to get their hands on books (even digital ones), the more likely they are to become better at reading and more interested in it.

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