iPad Apps We Love for Family Reading

Family with a tablet computerWe hear from lots of parents, caregivers and educators who would like to share digital content with young children and want to know the best way to do it.

A key component?  Sharing apps together.  Research shows that parent-child interaction plays a huge role in a child’s experience with an app. Make sure you take the time to experience an app with your child, just as you would sit down with a picture book.

It’s also important to incorporate a variety of media in your child’s experiences, just as you do in your child’s diet. Picture books, oral stories, rhymes, songs and play are all an important part of your child’s healthy development.

It’s true, the experience of flipping through a physical book can never be fully replicated in the digital world. But in many ways, reading apps are complementary to physical books, and they offer interactive benefits that simply cannot be conveyed via black ink on white pages. Whether you are looking for games that reinforce retention and comprehension, content that encourages letter recognition, or next generation “choose your own adventure” stories, there are tons of apps out there that can foster the development of literacy skills!

Of course, in this swiftly changing tech obsessed era, it’s tough to sort through which iPad apps are must-have.  Not to worry.  We’ve got you covered. Check out this list of nifty and distinctive reading apps to share with your kids.


snappAnimal SnApp Farm
Push the slider to snApp the correct halves of each animal together in order to launch these short, rhyming stories featuring Cuddly Cow, Diggity Dog, Gobbly Goat, Higgly Hen, Lucky Lamb or Portly Pig. Users may choose to read the stories alone, or have them read aloud; in the read aloud option text is highlighted as it is spoken. Includes music, animations, and silly sound effects that will intrigue even the youngest, who will easily intuit how to operate this app. Winner of the Editor’s Choice Award from Children’s Technology Review.

monsterThe Monster at the End of This Book….Starring Grover!
Grover narrates the book while kids are given the power, and the choice, to move the story forward by sabotaging his efforts to not turn the page.  Grover’s hilarious book-binding attempts bring an element of humour and playfulness to the more serious topic of facing fears, and provide an easy segue to more serious conversations between parents and children.

freighttrainFreight Train
Read Donald Crew’s popular picture book to learn more about colours, words, and numbers with great railway sounds. Each page features a different type of car; each car is specially designed to carry a certain type of cargo. Touch the cars to see what’s inside! Sing along to the catchy tune of I’ve Been Working on the Railroad as you read through the picture book and engage with the interactive features.

Ages 6-8

Don’t Let the Pigeon Run This Apppigeon
With this hilarious app from award-winning children’s author/illustrator Mo Willems, children create their own stories. Kids start by answering the bus driver’s questions, and their answers blend into the storyline to create a unique narrative! Also includes a drawing feature that allows children to follow along with Mo and learn step-by-step how to draw the pigeon!

wild2Wild About Books
When a passionate librarian mistakenly sets up her bookmobile at the zoo, the animals discover a love of reading and pretty soon start penning their own stories! Filled with hilarious references to seminal works of children’s literature, Wild About Books captures the pure joy of reading and sharing stories as Molly the librarian finds the perfect book for each animal.

Cozmo’s Day Off  cozmo2
Follow Cozmo, a friendly little green alien, in this interactive e-book.  Read along with the narrator as Cozmo struggles to make it to work on time.  Kids will delight in the adjustable speed of the narrator’s voice, progressing from super fast to super slow with the swipe of a finger.  Hearing the story at different speeds encourages kids to record their own voices reading the story, an excellent activity for improving oral fluency and expression.

Ages 9-12

Based on the comic strip by Jason Shiga, Meanwhile is a choose-your-own-adventure app that puts kids in control of the storyline.  They must decide the fate of Jimmy, a young boy who stumbles upon a scientist’s lab where he must choose one of three objects:  a mind-reading device, a time-travel machine, or the Killitron 3000 (we don’t know what it is either!).  Each path includes puzzles and clues, and while most lead to certain DOOM, one path will lead to SUCCESS.  Kids will be hooked trying to find the right one!

Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmorefantastic
A unique blend of animation and storytelling, readers follow the heartfelt journey of Mr. Morris Lessmore as a hurricane causes him to start a new life among a household of books. The animation is spectacular and engaging, but the heart of the app is in the story that unfolds. There are some interactive features and games interspersed among the sea of animation.  Help the wind blow, make the books fly, play Pop Goes the Weasel on the piano, or create alphabet cereal messages.

Weird But True weird
Did you know that a bottle-nose dolphin has a brain bigger than a human?  After using this app, your kid will be able to cite weird facts like this all day long.  Brought to you by National Geographic, this app features obscure, yet interesting little nuggets of information about animals, the weather, outer space, geography, and science.

~ Lindsay

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