Saturday, October 18, 2014

BEST Literacy Apps for Kids

Last weekend, we had the great privilege of attending the “2014 Literacy for All Conference: The Community Reads” presented by the Harris-Stowe State University College of Education and the St. Louis Suburban Council of the International Reading Association. Brennan Innovators has participated and exhibited at this annual conference for the past five years, and each year, the speakers have been excellent.

We want to especially thank Dr. Betty Porter-Walls, faculty member at the university, for organizing and presenting this event all of those five years. Her enthusiasm has always been infectious, and as a result, attendees have always left the conferences re-inspired, re-energized and ready to promote literacy in their classrooms in new and exciting ways. With Dr. Betty's brand of organization, preparation and enthusiasm on tap once again, this year was no exception.

The session topics at the conference were timely yet practical. From “Tips to Make a Guided Reading Program More Effective” [K-6] by Dr. Sam Bommarito to "Using Favorite Read-Alouds to Develop Curriculum [PK-3] by Ms. Julia Auch, the conference offered much to the educators who attended last Saturday's event.

We spoke with many teachers that day who took time to visit us at our Reading Focus Cards' exhibit table. A number of them commented on the increasing number of challenged readers coming to their classrooms. A few educators mentioned that students are so easily distracted when attempting to read a selection. Others cited that their students need some type of sustained visual stimulation (i.e. pictures, color, graphics or technology) to stay on-task or to effectively learn concepts. These were only two of the reasons why conference attendees visited us at the event. We demonstrated and allowed the teachers to interact with the Reading Focus Cards (Patent 7,565,759), our low-tech tools for challenged readers. We appreciated their high level of interest in wanting to help students who struggle to read.

More than a few times, the attendees requested apps and tech tools to assist with building reading skills such as phonemic awareness, phonics and fluency---in addition to help with focusing and tracking. We provided them with handouts that included strategies and website links to aid them.

Because of the teachers' requests and a similar demand experienced recently with our other clients and customers, we decided to provide our blog readers this week with a list of literacy apps for educators and parents to help children build some of those all-important reading skills. We included both iPad and Android apps in the list and grouped them into different reading skill categories. We have found these to be some of the most frequently recommended reading skills apps currently available. We believe the apps in this list will definitely do much to entice reluctant readers to begin reading, keep unfocused readers engaged, and provide the colorful visuals to get students excited about reading everyday---all while improving reading skill levels. We hope you and a struggling reader you know will benefit from the use of at least one of them!

FREE Literacy Apps for Kids

Apps for Phonemic Awareness

ABC Magic Reading 1 - Short Vowel Words (FREE)
by Preschool University
This sampler app can help your child’s future reading success by giving your child key reading skills practice.

100+ Top Apps for Phonemic Awareness (for iPhone/iPad---FREE & various prices)
A long list of iPhone and iPad apps to help increase phonemic awareness for various grade levels.

50+ Top Apps for Phonemic Awareness (for Android---FREE & various prices)
A collection of Android apps to help increase phonemic awareness for various grade levels.

Other Literacy Apps
(FREE & at Various Prices)

Apps for Phonics

ABC Magic Phonics (FREE)
by Preschool University
This app will help your child learn the sounds of the letters of the alphabet, which are necessary for reading. Learning the sounds of the letters gives your child the tools for reading and helps them become better readers. A matching phonetic photo image is matched with each letter to help your child learn the sound of each letter.

ABC Pocket Phonics: Letter Sounds & Writing + First Words (Price: FREE & $6.99)
by Apps in My Pocket Ltd.(For iPhone and iPad)
This "universal" app teaches the basics of reading and writing to young children.
Lite version (FREE):
Full version ($6.99):

Sight Word Flip It (Price: $3.99)
Sight Word Flip It was carefully designed by two reading specialists who have taught 100s of children to read. Not many literacy apps can make this claim! Sight Word Flip It offers an effective and engaging way for kids to learn high frequency sight words.

Starfall ABCs (Price: $2.99)
by Starfall Education
The "ABCs" section of's well-loved website is now available as a universal application for your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Our activities motivate through positive reinforcement and play. (Note: App contains the ABC letter section only, NOT the whole website)

Apps for Fluency

Read With Me Fluency (Price: $4.99)
by sleek-geek inc.
Many educators have been looking for a system that would actually decrease the workload required for student reading assessment. This app appears to meet this need.

Fluency (Price: $2.99)
by Michael Tillyer
Teachers can help students become better and more confident readers with this app. Children use the power of self correction to improve their own reading skills.

K-12 Timed Reading Practice Lite (FREE)
by k-12 Inc.
This app allows readers in grades K-4 to practice fluency, the ability to read smoothly and quickly (timed).

Reading Focus Cards Desktop App (Patent 8,360,779)
(for Macs & Windows PCs---Price: $5.99)
from Brennan Innovators, LLC
This DESKTOP app is the digital version of the physical Reading Focus Cards (Patent 7,565,759), solutions for struggling readers. This app for Windows PCs and Macs provides practical READING SUPPORT for children and adults with ADHD, dyslexia, autism and other conditions that can affect reading success. It promotes more FOCUS, FLUENCY and VISUAL COMFORT for online reading of almost ALL digital media (webpages, PDF files, Word docs, Excel spreadsheets & more.) In addition, the Reading Focus Card app is compatible with and supports touch-screen technology. The application can be moved on the screen over text by the fingers, mouse or arrow keys as needed. The following are direct links to purchase and download your version of this app:
a. For Macs (desktops & notebooks):
Visit the Mac App Store and search for Reading Focus Cards or go directly to
b. For Windows PCs (desktops & laptops):
Visit Gumroad at OR visit the Microsoft Windows Store and search for the app called Reading Focus Cards. (No URLs are ever provided for apps in the Windows Store.)

For more information on customizable reading tools to improve focus and attention, please visit: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

Image courtesy of:
Clip Art Lord at
Brennan Innovators, LLC at

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