About the Apps
Choosing the best books to share with your children is inherently a subjective process. Identifying the best apps to promote comprehension and a love of reading for elementary school students is not.
The best reading apps for this age group do a lot more than copy and paste the content of printed books into an iPad. Elements you should look for are tools to promote reading comprehension, inspiring design and interactive features, and a high volume of content for the money you are spending.
A great starter app - which is also the best bang for your buck, is Children’s Books - FarFaria Stories. The app has a library of hundreds of quality and beautifully illustrated books, and adds a few more each week. It contains badges that indicate the appropriate reading level, and a “Read-to-Me” tool that works in offline settings. The $3.99 monthly subscription price is a good deal. Even better, the app lets users poke around for 15 days before spending a dime.
Another “try before you buy” reading app worth checking out is MeeGenius! Kids' Books - The Read-Along Educational App for Children, Parents and Teachers. Rather than being subscription-based, the app serves as a library for hundreds of age-level appropriate interactive books that can be previewed for free and purchased, generally for $2 or $3 apiece. All of the titles available offer “Read-to-Me” options where the associated text is highlighted as the narrator reads each word.
Fans of the PBS series Reading Rainbow may want to invest as much as $10 per month on its official iPad app, which is chock-full of wonderful stories categorized in fine detail by both topic and age group. Families making a six month commitment can get the app - which also features videos, light animation and other activities - for $4.99 per month.
Virtually the entire line of Dr. Seuss children’s books is finding new life and new audiences on the iPad and other touchscreen devices. They include all the classic illustrations, and multiple modes for narration, Read-to-Me, and the ability for kids to record their own voice while reading. There are also interactive picture and word association games. All of them are worth a look (or listen!), but our favorite is Green Eggs and Ham.
The most ambitious app for young readers, and a preview of what to expect as more authors and storytellers embrace the touchscreen medium, is The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. Based on the Academy Award-winning 2010 short film, this visually stunning app is a whimsical hybrid between a picture book and interactive movie, and unlike anything kids and their parents have ever experienced before.
Comments & Suggestions Have a suggestion for an educational app for this category you think we should feature? Let us know.
How are apps scored?
Apps are scored using a proprietary evaluation rubric to judge Educational Content, Kid Appeal, Assessment, Features and Design, Value, and Safety and Privacy.