Back to School Reading Apps

Back-to-school time is here, and these apps are great to supplement your beginning reader!


Back-to-school time is here, and these apps are great to supplement your beginning reader!

Reading Train Learn to Read Books, Songs & Games

reading train

Reading Train Learn to Read Books, Songs & Games is a uniquely designed app for emergent readers. No other app is as specifically tailored to the needs of beginning readers. Reading Train includes 200 books for children who are beginning to read. Children are typically at this stage of reading during their kindergarten or first-grade year, depending on their development. Many children progress quickly through these stages, while others need more time. This app would be an asset to those children needing more time at this level. The app has a kid-friendly train where children choose books based on their level and desired topic. Parents, you will need to assist your child during their first interactions with the app in order to create a user and guide your child to the appropriate level. The books offer three different options: Listen, Read, and Record. Children like the books, but the app does not offer enough entertainment value that your child is likely to choose this app freely. Children are rewarded with a songbook after reading books and completing review activities. Some children won’t have enough patience to sit through the longer song and may tap the screen in anticipation of interactivity in this area. Also, this app should not be used in isolation because children need to learn the valuable skills associated with handling real books, such as reading left to right and orienting the book correctly. There’s no real substitute for creating a love of real books! The app would be a great supplement to a literature-rich environment. Reading Train Learn to Read Books, Songs & Games costs $3.99.


Duck Duck Moose Reading

Duck Duck Moose Reading

Duck Duck Moose Reading is a solid phonics practice app for your beginning reader. Children quickly progress through five varied phonics activities, each focused on a specific set of letters. Games are entertaining to play and are designed to focus kids on individual sounds, letters, or both letters and sounds in the context of words. Kids earn animals to add to their zoo after each series of activities. Parents are given a progress report for multiple kids who log into the app. We’d like it if parents were able to customize which letters and sounds are given to each child to practice. Overall, this is a good phonics practice app with the high quality visual and touch screen design that Duck Duck Moose is known for. Duck Duck Moose Reading is perfect for children at the Kindergarten or first grade level and costs $2.99.


Related Blog Post
Pre-Reading Skills: Beyond Letters and Sounds


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Dr. Seuss E-books

Celebrate Reading Across America all week long with the playfulness of Dr. Seuss' books.

Read Across America Day is this week, and libraries and schools across the country will celebrate by reading Dr. Seuss books to children. Try some of these apps together with your child that celebrate reading! For more fun with words and sounds, check out our Power Pack Sound Play for children ages 3-4.


Dr. Seuss E-book Apps


Dr. Seuss ABC (iOS only)


This e-book reinforces your child’s growing knowledge of letters, sounds, words, and vocabulary. Your child will enjoy tapping the pages of this delightful ABC book in order to find hidden surprises. The e-book reads aloud to your child and highlights the words as they are read. You can also change the settings to allow the app to “Read to me” or “Auto Play.” The “Auto Play” feature reads the pages and turns the pages to allow the book to play like a movie continuously.  In each story, letters are referred to by their size such as “Big A” and “Little a.” Be sure your child knows that this means uppercase and lowercase. The book engages your child by repeatedly asking questions such as, “What begins with C? or D? E?” etc. Try asking your child this type of question as you enjoy the story together.


Dr. Seuss Treasury (iOS only)


Oceanhouse Media has created a Treasury of Dr. Seuss books. Here you will find the e-book versions of many of the classic Dr. Seuss books your child may already know and love. For example, Hop on Pop, Horton Hears a Who!, Green Eggs and Ham, and Cat in the Hat. Check out the rest of the books and read a new title with your child. The e-books include interactive and engaging features such as reading aloud to your child, highlighting the words, and looking for fun hidden treasures by tapping the scenes. The app is subscription based which gives your family access to 55 digital Dr. Seuss books.


Related Blog Post:
Celebrate Read Across America Day with Dr. Seuss E-Books (2014)


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Top 3 Apps for 3 Year Olds

Check out these top 3 apps to encourage your child’s natural curiosity.

If you have a 3-year-old in your home you are probably looking for new and creative solutions to add to your repertoire of daily activities to satisfy your child’s eagerness to explore, discover, and problem solve.


Top 3 Apps for 3 Year Olds


Check out these top 3 apps to encourage your child’s natural curiosity, as well as our free Power Pack focused on ways to interact with books with your 3-year-old. Then download KinderTown and search by age for more app suggestions for your young learner.


Grandma’s Preschool (iOS only)

grandma's preschool

The app begins with the bus dropping the kids off at Grandma’s school which resembles Grandma’s house. The house is organized like a typical preschool where children can move around and choose a learning activity by tapping on letters, numbers, science experiments, or an art center. Additional activity areas that can be explored include nap time, outdoor recess, centers with books and toys, and a white board for teaching and learning. Children are positively rewarded for their effort with grandma’s dancing, clapping, and high fives. The app has a nice balance of digital play and learning exploration. You may need to monitor and encourage your child to visit the more academically-focused learning areas as the app does not regulate how much time is spent in the play arena. Grandma’s character engages players with her positive spirit and dancing energy, however, some present-day grandmas may not like the way grandma is represented with gray hair and glasses. The app does not require any in-app purchases and is available for iPhone and iPad for $2.99.


Beck and Bo (iOS, Android)

beck and bo

Beck and Bo delights young children with a dynamic free play environment that always has a new surprise popping up. There is no pressure to complete each thematic area in a specific way, which is something we appreciate about the app. Upon entering the app children will find twelve thematic scenes. Objects or questions are presented one at time in each scene for kids to experience thematic vocabulary. Once a scene is finished they can continue to play in the area or view each object in their own scrapbook. Beck and Bo is a fantastic app for playful discovery that understands how young children learn.


Monkey Preschool Explorer (iOS, Android, Kindle Fire)

monkey preschool explorers

The Monkeys provide an all new entertaining app that is simple for children to navigate, includes interesting graphics, and incorporates exploration as the center theme. The Monkey Preschool Explorers app provides a mixed review of early childhood concepts such as colors, numbers, shapes, letters, and association skills. One game includes Milo the Monkey driving a jeep through the jungle and children have to tap on the lower case and upper case letter indicated. At the end, children can play a fun racing game and choose a hat for Milo as a reward. The developers of Monkey Preschool have a “Thups Knack” system which changes the difficulty of the game as children play. The app costs  $2.99 and is appropriate for children ages 3-5.


Learn about how to incorporate select apps into your child’s play time, and learn new offline activities to expand their knowledge of books.

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Famous Children’s Authors Apps

Check out these literature apps, to get your children back into reading before school starts.

KinderTown can’t think of a better way to prepare for school than to dive back into reading books. Books are always a favorite experience at my house. My children love to sit on my lap and enjoy a story – I’m sure your children to do too! Take a beach towel outside and find a shade tree; you and your children are sure to enjoy the last moments of summer together. Check out these literature apps, to get your children back into reading before school starts.


Don’t Let the Pigeon Run this App

Don't Let the Pigeon Run this App!

Don’t Let the Pigeon Run This App, is a personal favorite of mine. The app is based on the famous book “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!” By Mo Willems. The app is cleverly titled “Don’t let the Pigeon Run this App”, which plays on Mo Willems famous books Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay up Late and many more. Check them out at your local library. In this app,appropriate for children ages 3-6, your child brings a new Pigeon story to life when the bus driver asks for ideas. The app is narrated by the author Mo Willems, as himself and the Pigeon. When opened, the app awakens with the happy cheering voices of children. Choose Create Your Own Story to begin. This app offers three different options for creating your own pigeon story depending on your child’s level; egg, chick or big pigeon. The egg level creates a new pigeon story for your child to listen to and invites them to read along. We recommend leaving the reading tab open so your child can see the words as the story is told. The chick level gives your child picture choices in order to customize the story. In the Big Pigeon level, your child then uses their own voice to add their ideas…a definite parent favorite. Once you make choices for the story you must shake the pigeon in order for the story to be created. Finally, listen to your story and laugh with your child and enjoy literature, storytelling and the experience of loving a book character. The app saves all your child’s creations under Favorite Stories and includes an area where your child can learn to draw the pigeon himself. This is an app to be enjoyed alongside your child and is sure to be loved by children of all ages. Pair this app with Mo Williams’ books from your local library for a rich learning experience. The app is $5.99 and is appropriate for children ages 3-6.


The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Friends Play and Explore

The Very

This app is based on Eric Carle’s famous book The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The app opens with Eric Carle’s famous artwork and a book to open. Inside the book, the narrator explains non-fiction concepts about caterpillars, butterflies and other informational topics that coordinate with The Very Hungry Caterpillar book. After listening to brief age appropriate explanations about nature, children are given a goal. For example, one goal is to win a Healthy Eater Badge and try to avoid all the sweet treats. After each activity, another brief informational text is read with a new goal given. From the main home page, children can also choose to complete puzzles, spot the differences or create a sticker scene with Eric Carle’s artwork. Parents please be aware that the app does include additional in-app purchases to unlock all the content in the Spot the Difference, Jigsaw and 3D Sticker book areas. The app is $3.99 and is appropriate for children ages 3-5. This app would best be paired with an author study on Eric Carle. An author study is simply a detailed look at an author and noticing their style and craft of writing. Your local library would be a great place to discover all of Eric Carle’s books.


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3 Top Book Creation Apps

Use these apps to easily have your child create something special.

Fall is in full swing, and for my family that means trips to the pumpkin patch, walks to the park, and collecting leaves. Parents, I am sure you are also snapping photos as you create memories with your children. Why not create a memory book with your child of your experiences? You could create a photo book, art book, a book to use as a gift, a journal, or a creative story based on your fall fun. Use these apps to easily have your child create something special. They probably won’t be aware of it, but they’ll be developing reading and writing skills in the process.


Book Creator for iPad

book creator

A simply designed app, Book Creator for iPad, can take your ideas and make them into a well-designed book. When Book Creator opens, a simple visual tutorial walks you through how to create a book. In Book Creator, you can add photos, create drawings, or record your own voice. Also, adding text is simple. Book Creator offers 3 different book layout options (landscape, square, or portrait) and includes 50 different fonts. Book Creator is free and is appropriate for children ages 5-8. Ideally this is an app you would use alongside your child to encourage creativity, writing, and sharing their work with others. When you are finished, you can email the book, print the book, export it as a PDF, or upload it to iBooks. These options are great for sharing with friends and family. The app is $4.99.


My Story Book Creator School Edition

my story

My Story Book Creator is a creative book maker where your child can use stickers, markers, photos, and voice recordings to create their own book. This app also allows for multiple users, so more than one child in a household or classroom can have their own account within the app. This feature is great for classrooms or learning centers. My Story Book Creator also allows for sharing if enabled by email, on social networks, or in iBooks. Parents, be sure to help your child with this part if you are interested in sharing. My Story Book Creator costs $4.99 and appropriate for children ages 4-8.


Savor the childhood moments of the fall with your children and create a book together.


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