There are myriad literacy tools available to early childhood educators, with a growing focus on technology-based learning aids.

As more school districts are providing iPads and other devices for use in the classroom, educators are looking for apps to include in their curriculum.

Here are 10 such education apps designed to develop early child literacy.
 

1. Bob Books #1 – Reading Magic (Ages 4+)

What it offers: This interactive book app teaches beginning reading skills using phonics, spelling, and repetition. Each “book” in the app can be played at different difficulty levels, allowing kids to advance as their skills improve.

Why get it: You can customize the settings to match a child’s reading level and phonics knowledge.

Availability:  Android, iPhone and iPad

 

2. Endless Alphabet (Ages 3+)

What it offers: Monster-themed activities help children learn their ABCs and build vocabulary. Short puzzle games with monster animations and talking letters challenge them to learn fun words like “gargantuan” and “cooperate.”

Why get it: Designed by the creators of Sesame Street’s classic The Monster at the End of This Book.

Availability:  Android, iPhone and iPad

 

3. Endless Reader (Ages 3+)

What it offers: After children master Endless Alphabet, they can move on to Endless Reader. This app helps develop literacy by introducing kids to “sight words”—the most commonly used words in children’s books. Recognizing sight words will set children up for success as they learn to read.

Why get it: Both Endless Reader and Endless Alphabet were designed to limit stress in kids. There are no high scores or failures.

Availability:  Android, iPhone and iPad

 

4. Homer: Kids Learn to Read (Ages 4+)

What it offers: Interactive games and stories teach children phonics, spelling, fluency, and vocabulary. Children develop their reading comprehension through a library of stories and activities catered to their personal interests and current reading level.

Why get it: This research-based reading program gets 5 stars from Common Sense Media.

Availability:  iPhone and iPad

 

5. Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read (Ages 3+)

What it offers: With more than 250 songs, videos, games, and ebooks, kids of all skill levels can move through 36 progressive lessons that teach them the building blocks of reading.

Why get it: This award-winning app was based on research, designed with input from educators, and approved by the Children’s Reading Foundation.

Availability:  Android, iPhone and iPad

 

6. iWriteWords (Ages 4+)

What it offers: This cute game helps children learn how to write the letters of the alphabet, numbers up to 20, and simple words. A friendly crab guides them as they trace the shape of a connect-the-dot letter or number on the screen. Kids are rewarded with a fun animation after a successful trace, but Mr. Crab will make them start over if they veer off course.

Why get it: A great way to teach writing to kids with special needs.

Availability: iPhone and iPad

 

7. Metamorphabet (Ages 3+)

What it offers: Amazing animations magically transform letters into things that start with that letter. After each transformation, kids see and hear the word it represents. The app covers basic material in a mesmerizing way that young kids and adults alike will enjoy.

Why get it: There are no surprise in-app purchases after download.

Availability:  Android, iPhone and iPad

 

8. Monkey Word School Adventure (Ages 3+)

What it offers: Kids play six games to help a monkey and his friends explore the jungle, not knowing the games are carefully crafted to introduce the fundamental concepts of reading and writing. Children help “Monkey” with spelling, letter writing, solving a word wall puzzle, recognizing sight words, and rhyming.

Why get it: Adjusts the difficulty of the games automatically so children are challenged, but not discouraged.

Availability:  Android, iPhone and iPad

 

9. Montessori Crosswords (Words & Phonics) (Ages 3+)

What it offers: Children practice reading, writing, and spelling skills by learning how to link sounds together to build words. Kids drag and drop letters into a crossword to form words that go with the pictures shown. Uses 320 word-image-audio-phonics combinations to help them sound out words and memorize the phonics associated with each letter.

Why get it: Based on the proven Montessori learning method.

Availability:  Android, iPhone and iPad

 

10. Reading Raven (Ages 3+)

What it offers: Guided by the Reading Raven companion, these games take children from pre-reading to reading full sentences. Starting with letter matching and tracing, children progress to spelling, reading aloud, and forming word groups – all while meeting circus acrobats, underwater sea creatures, and snow monsters.

Why get it: Parents’ Choice Award Winner and an Apple Staff Favorite for education.

Availability:  iPhone and iPad

 

If you want to learn more tools to engage students and improve your skills as an early childhood educator, you may be interested in Capella University’s Master’s in Education, Early Childhood Education program.