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4 Best Learn-to-Read Apps

Learning to read is a pretty big project. Luckily, these apps can provide a good starting point for your pre-reader to get an idea of the alphabet, how letters sound, and how they become words.

Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read

The app: Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read.
Platforms: iOS & Android.
Cost: $9.99/month.
Ages: 3 – 7

No doubt you’ve heard of Hooked on Phonics, as this program’s been around since the 1980s. Now it’s updated for the age of apps, and their Learn to Read app features over 250 songs, videos, games, reading lessons, and ebooks. Your child can earn awards and achievements in the app to help track their progress, and the app also features over a hundred ebooks with stories written to compliment each lesson. You can use the app across multiple devices. That way, if they forget their iPad at home, they can pick right up where they left off on your phone. You can also add multiple readers and track everyone’s progress.

Montessori Letter Sounds 

The app: Montessori Letter Sounds.
Platforms: iOS.
Cost: $5.49.
Ages: 3 – 5

Montessori Letter Sounds is a very simple, straightforward program for teaching kids all about letters, sounds, and eventually putting letters together. First, the program focuses on “I Spy” to teach sounds. Next, it teaches “letter sounds”, so kids can match letters to sounds. Then, kids learn to mix and match, bringing the first two steps together. Finally, they learn to “sound it out” and make simple words with a movable alphabet. If you’re in a multilingual household, note that the app offers English, Spanish, French, German, and Italian.


The app: Homer.
Platforms: iOS.
Cost: $7.99 /month.
Ages: 2 – 8

Homer is a super comprehensive reading app with some science to back up their methodology. One study by researchers at Harvard found that just 15 minutes of use per day could raise early reading scores by 74%. Homer has over 1,000 phonics lessons, over 200 stories, 60 First Reader books for beginner readers, over 200 science and history lessons, and over 150 printable worksheets for when screen time is over for the day. You can track your child’s progress and add up to four kids per account.

Elmo Loves ABCs!

The app: Elmo Loves ABCs.
Platforms: iOS & Android.
Cost: $6.99 with in-app purchases.
Ages: 2 – 5.

Everything you remember about Sesame Street is included in this app, plus a little more. It includes 80 classic Sesame Street clips, 75 colouring pages, and four different ways to play hide and seek. Your child will learn upper and lower case letters, letter tracing, and letter sounds. You can add your own photos and videos to the game too.

The Bottom Line

There are lots of resources for parents who want their children to learn to read in a way that’s fun and comprehensive. Best of all, these apps offer a way for parents to track their children’s progress and offer support as needed.

Note: The prices in this article were accurate at the time of publication.