The right app can help a child with dyslexia or other reading-based learning disabilities practice literacy and learning skills, while having fun. This collection of apps supports kids who struggle with phonics, pronunciation, spelling, vocabulary, comprehension, handwriting, word processing, and composition. We've also included text-to-speech apps, audiobook apps, and apps that help children with organization and goal-setting. For more quality apps, browse our full library of literacy apps.
Many of the reviews we link to are from Common Sense Education, a trusted resource for learning about apps and other edtech tools.
Articulation Station provides speech professionals, teachers, and parents with ways to help kids improve pronunciation and articulation. Using very specific exercises, games, and stories that focus on just one letter sound for 22 English language sounds, this app can improve pronunciation and understanding of how letter sounds form words. With more than 1,000 target words, kids will likely not get bored with this app. Adults have easy ways to track kids' progress and can track up to six kids at once. Note: To get full use of this app, you have to purchase the Pro version or buy individual letters with an in-app purchase option.
A powerful educational tool for teachers and parents working with dyslexic learners or anyone else still learning the foundations of blending sounds (phonics) and the multisyllabic rules of English. Create a deck of phonemes that can be substituted and manipulated to create various kinds of blending activities. The decks enable users to practice decoding simple words, and multisyllabic words, too.
Bob Books Reading Magic #1
Bob Books #1-Reading Magic is an educational experience that will teach your young children early phonics. This app teaches the sounds that letters make and how to combine them to make short words. Drag the letters for the given word to the proper place below the picture, while the app sounds out the letters and reads the word aloud. Children's efforts will be rewarded when the black and white screen transforms to color and the drawings become animated.
Bob Books Reading Magic #2
Bob Books is an interactive book app that uses spelling, repetition, and phonics to build beginning reading skills. Each 12-page book can be played at 4 different difficulty levels — beginning readers drag and drop letters to match words while the app sounds out the letters and reads the word aloud, more advanced readers select letters on their own. Children's efforts are rewarded when the black and white illustration fill with color and become animated.
Choiceworks provides a platform for kids who need help with executive functioning to explore topics such as schedules, waiting, and feelings using pictures, checklists, storyboards, and more. It comes loaded with one board for each topic but is infinitely customizable.
Choiceworks Calendar provides a visual learning tool that helps kids better understand and organize their time. With an easy-to-use interface that provides 275 preloaded images and audio descriptions of activities that can be repeated from day to day, Choiceworks Calendar can count down days toward a special event or keep track of activities that should occur every day, like eating breakfast, brushing teeth, or going to school. It was created to help kids with a higher level of anxiety toward transition and may be especially useful for kids with executive function issues such as attention deficits or inflexible/rigid thinking.
Clicker Docs is a word processor that also reads text aloud at each punctuation mark and offers word choices for misspelled words or from word banks that can be loaded into the app. This app is particularly beneficial for kids who struggle with written expression. The app has word prediction and helps kids expand their vocabulary choices. Kids who also have difficulty editing their work can hear their document after they input punctuation. This feature can help kids learn to edit and revise their work independently.
Dexteria: Fine Motor Skill Development
Dexteria is a hand and finger exercise app for very young kids or kids with special needs. The developer stresses that the three modes — Write It, Tap It, and Pinch It — are exercises, not games. While there are elements built into each activity to make them more interesting to kids, this app is mostly for therapy and practice. Kids who need extra help tracing letters, using their fingers in specific ways like pinching, and keeping certain fingers steady while moving others can benefit from using this app. The automatic tracking and reporting features will likely be valuable to parents, teachers, and therapists.
Dyslexia Quest is designed to help assess a child's memory and listening skills. It is divided into six areas that each take about 10 minutes to play. If you have a child who struggles with distractibility, it may be best to play this app in increments to get the best results.
Easy Spelling Aid + Translator and Dyslexia Support
This is an app that spells words for users. Simply tap the microphone and state the word you wish spelled, and the app puts the word on screen in both capital letters and lowercase letters. The app also offers a variety of special fronts for dyslexia/dysgraphia and accurate speech recognition in multiple languages.
EpicWin is an app that puts the adventure back into your life. It’s a streamlined to-do list, to quickly note down all your everyday tasks, but with a role-playing spin. So rather than just ticking off your chores and reminders, completing each one earns you points to improve and develop your character in an ongoing quest to improve stats, gain riches, and level-up.
First Then Visual Schedule
An excellent tool for creating visual and auditory apps for any child. Its simple, multisensory interface has great potential for use with kids with developmental or learning disabilities; anxiety or attention issues; language, hearing, or processing difficulties; or who may be learning English as a second language. Parents will develop schedules appropriate for their kids using text, pictures, audio clips, and videos. The schedules can be presented in five formats, each with a different way for a kid to check items completed and move on to the next. "Choice boards" let kids indicate a preference from the choices, such as a reward for tasks completed.
Learning Ally Audiobook Reader
Learning Ally Audiobook Reader pairs with a subscription-based program for kids with visual impairments or dyslexia, and users must qualify before subscribing. Text and background colors can be adjusted by preference, rate of reading can be altered, and highlighted text can be set to match a rate that best fits a kid's reading ability.
Montessori Crosswords helps kids develop literacy skills by dragging and dropping letters into a crossword grid to form words that correspond to the given pictures. Young children can drag letters around in the moveable alphabet and practice linking phonetic sounds to letters, while older kids can expand their vocabularies in the higher of three difficulty levels. Crossword levels include simple words with one-sound, words with consonant blend, and words of any complexity.
News-2-You is the app version of a symbols-based newspaper for kids with special needs. It includes the symbols system and voices used in the augmentative and alternative communication app Proloquo2Go. The app benefits kids who have difficulty reading the written word. Picture symbols and voice help kids hear and see text and visuals. There's a new edition for every week of the typical U.S. school year, and it covers current events topics like popular movies, sporting events, holidays, environmental issues, and more.
PocketPhonics uses a phoneme-centered approach to teaching kids to read. When kids see a phoneme, they say it, write it, and then use it in a word. When they've completed a packet of phonemes and word constructions, they get a number of stars (from one to three) based on how well they traced the letters and how many mistakes they made choosing phonemes to form the words. Teachers can set up multiple accounts for individual students and sign up to receive progress reports for each.
Question It is a quality educational app designed to help people with autism and language issues develop and strengthen concepts of language. It provides experience in sorting and answering "wh…" questions by systematically teaching which types of words answer which types of questions.
Read2Go is a mobile reading app that pairs with Bookshare, an online library of more than 200,000 ebooks for readers who struggle with printed text. A Bookshare membership is free for those who qualify, and downloading Read2Go lets kids take their reading with them anywhere they bring their mobile device. Even prereaders can benefit, since they can follow along with picture books. Read2Go also can connect via Bluetooth to Braille readers.
Scene Speak is like a create-and-store digital library for photo books, flash cards, diagrams, and more. Parents or teachers can make photo books of kids' favorite stories, family photos, vocabulary words, and almost anything else they need to practice vocabulary skills.
Sound Literacy is an instructional tool for tutors and teachers that can be used in conjunction with any curriculum that emphasizes phonemic awareness, phonological processing, or morphemic word building. The app uses the Orton-Gillingham method to help students recognize the spellings of English phonemes.
StoryPals is a reading-comprehension app that lets kids create their own stories. There are 24 short stories that target kids on reading levels from grade 2 to 6. Kids can hear the stories read to them or read them themselves. Each story has a quiz attached; you can assign and track responses for up to six kids. Questions center on who, what, where, when, and why.
Typ-O HD is an easy to use app that helps kids write without spelling errors. Typ-O HD uses a powerful word prediction engine and a sophisticated spelling error model to help you write, even if your spelling isn't perfect. The integrated synthetic voice let you hear the word prediction suggestions before selecting and check your text before emailing or pasting it into other applications. The app is designed for children or adults with dyslexia.
Voice Dream Reader: Text to Speech
Voice Dream Reader is a text-to-speech app that can read content in a variety of voices from a variety of sources. It's highly customizable, from reading speed to voice to font and text size. Some voices require in-app purchases ranging from $1.99 to $2.99 each, but a few are included free with the app. Kids can connect their Google Drive, Dropbox, and Evernote accounts to the app to access documents saved there.
Word Wizards for Kids
Word Wizards utilizes natural sounding text-to-speech voices to help kids learn word building and spelling. Movable Alphabet help kids hear the text they wrote, as well as verify spelling using the built-in spell checker. This app has the ability to turn whatever words kids create — even words that do not exist — into spoken words. This app also consists of the most frequently used words, body parts, family members, and more.
Write My Name
Write My Name helps kids practice lower- and uppercase letter formation by following an arrow and audio cues. Once finished, a simple animation reinforces the letter or word traced. Writers can capture their work on the photo roll and can see how many words or letters they've completed. There are 112 preloaded sight words that a kid can trace in all uppercase or all lowercase letters. A voice says each letter and word as a kid completes them. Parents and kids can add their own words along with picture or audio clues.