For families living internationally, access to books can be a real challenge. Filling a suitcase with books isn’t so practical, and libraries in your new location may not exist (or don’t offer books in your native language). With these challenges, it may be difficult to encourage young children to keep up their reading skills while you’re on the move.
A great reading app on a mobile device may be the solution your family needs. On the list below, we include a few prereading apps for younger kids along with great ebook apps that appeal to older children who have begun reading. Pricing varies.
Pre-reading & Early Reading Activities
Teach Your Monster to Read features English phonics instruction within a fun game that children love. It’s used by many schools in the UK and correlates with the free Teach Your Monster to Read website (the app is NOT free) created by the Usborne Foundation.
Starfall offers several children’s apps to teach basic English reading and writing skills to preschoolers and kindergarteners. They guide children to read using games and phonics. The apps, which are free, correlate with the well-known Starfall website.
Gus on the Go & Gus on the Go Stories offer pre-reading activities in nearly 30 different languages. Great for native speakers or those wanting to learn another language.
Khan Academy for Kids features books, stories, and educational activities in English for children ages 2–6. It’s also free.
Teach Me apps reinforce English-language concepts and skills, including reading and spelling, for children in preschool through grade three.
Vooks is a streaming library of read-along, animated storybooks for young readers. Each story is read aloud and animated, allowing kids to read along as they watch. You will need internet access to listen to stories, but you may download books for offline use. This app is a subscription-based service.
eBooks & Audiobooks for Kids
Epic! offers a virtual library with thousands of books for children up to age 12, and the book selection is fantastic. Children easily navigate this app independently, and they can read books, listen to audiobooks, or watch educational videos. (Parents can disable the video feature.) Epic! also offers books in a few different languages. You will need internet access to listen to and read books, but you may download books for offline use. This app is a subscription-based service.
Rivet is a fantastic English-language mobile app created by a Google developer that offers a free digital library for kids. This is a good resource for families living internationally and those learning English as a new language. To use the app, parents will need to log in with their Google account.
Amazon Rapids offers a large selection of humorous and creative audiobooks in English that allow your child to follow along while the book is read. If your family has an account with Amazon.com in the United States, this app is free.
With the Kindle Reader app, your device functions like a Kindle (and you don’t have to buy one). Ebooks, especially for the Kindle, are the easiest way to find reading material in your native language while living away from your passport country. This app is free, but you’ll need to pay for individual books.
Boukili features illustrated French books for young children. Great for native French speakers or those wanting to learn French. This is a free app.
Have you found a great reading app that your children love? Share with us at the World Family Education community forum.