Appysmarts.com Best Apps for Young Brains


Best phonics apps for kids.


Best apps for kids for teaching phonics reviewed by Appysmarts editors.
Phonics awareness is one of the elementary things every preschooler should learn.
On this list we included the best educational apps focusing on letter phonics.
These apps for children are perfect for reading and writing practice.

You may also like our list of Best apps for kids for teaching sight words

Best Apps for Young Brains - get our weekly app recommendations by e-mail!

Bob Books #1 - Reading Magic HD

Bob Books #1 - Reading Magic HD
by Learning Touch

Price: 3.99$
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iPhone

Overall Score: 100/100

version reviewed: 2.0

reviewed:


Best for: Interactive books, Attention & concentration, Early literacy, Eye-hand coordination, Interaction, Language, Personal & social, Thinking & problem solving, Understanding of the world

What it is: an interactive version of the first of the Bob Books series.

What you do with it: please see our video presentation.

What we liked: choice and implementation of early reading supporting activities, simple operation and navigation, options (including phonics).

What we didn't like: limited amount of content, it's too expensive for what it offers, links to other products easily available to a child.

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Smarty Pants School

Smarty Pants School
by Smarty Pants School LLC

Price: free
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iPad

Overall Score: 96/100

version reviewed: 1.1

reviewed:


Best for: Education, Attention & concentration, Early literacy, Eye-hand coordination, Interaction, Language, Personal & social, Thinking & problem solving, Understanding of the world

What it is: pack of activities and games for strengthening early reading skills.

What you do with it: this app is very extensive: please see our video presentation (below)

What we liked: almost everything, from the concept to execution.

What we didn't like: couldn't find the option to turn off the sound, navigation could be a bit more consistent.

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Reading Raven HD

Reading Raven HD
by Early Ascent

Price: 3.99$
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iPad

Overall Score: 93/100

version reviewed: 1.2.1

reviewed:


Best for: Education, Attention & concentration, Early literacy, Interaction, Language, Memory, Personal & social, Thinking & problem solving, Understanding of the world

What it is: a pack of activities for strengthening early reading and writing skills.

What you do with it: the activities include: letter and word matching, letter tracing, letter recognition, word spelling, word grouping, reading aloud (using voice recording). Range, type and level of difficulty will depend on the chosen age settings (basic activities for ages 3+, medium difficulty for 4+, advanced for 5+ age group).

What we liked: the concept (combining learning with fun/game experience), the number of activities, the age level/difficulty settings, the range of learning material, excellent educational value, simple, non-distracting illustrations, audio instructions and clues, very good rewards system with stickers (related to the main educational activitie), information and help section for parents.

What we didn't like: you cannot choose a particular activity to practice it (only linear navigation). We wish there was more variety in the activities.

Bottom line: an excellent all-round package for developing and strengthening early literacy skills. Easy and fun to use. Well worth the price.

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Kids Crosswords

Kids Crosswords
by Learning Touch

Price: free
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May contain `more apps` links
iPhone + iPad

Overall Score: 89/100

version reviewed: 1.0

reviewed:


Best for: Teacher & parent tools, Attention & concentration, Early literacy, Eye-hand coordination, Interaction, Language, Thinking & problem solving, Understanding of the world

What it is: a puzzle game for strengthening child's reading and spelling skills (100 words, 10 levels of difficulty).

What you do with it: solve the word puzzles by dragging letters to the correct place. Letters (or phonics) are pronounced when they are touched. Depending on the difficulty level the puzzles range from basic (short words, visual clues) to more challenging (longer words, no clues, 'extra' letters, strict order).

What we liked: the concept, easy operation, inclusion of both phonics and letter names, visual and audio clues, good range of difficulty levels, good educational value.

What we didn't like: there is no option to choose the words to play with (only linear navigation). We found some of the illustrations confusing (e.g. for the word 'yam') and we didn't like the spinning animations too much. For the price ($2.99) we would expect more than 100 words.

Disclaimer: we received a promocode for this review.

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Jolly Phonics Letter Sounds

Jolly Phonics Letter Sounds
by Jolly Learning

Price: 4.99$ (was 6.99$)
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iPhone + iPad

Overall Score: 89/100

version reviewed: 1.0.3

reviewed:


Best for: Education, Attention & concentration, Early literacy, Eye-hand coordination, Language

What it is and what you do with it: a set of activities for letter sounds/phonics practice: learning letter sounds, recognizing letter sounds, letter formation/writing, blending sounds in words for reading, identification of sounds in words for spelling.

What we liked: the concept. Great educational content. Simple illustrations and animations. Narration and spoken instructions. No distracting elements. Many configuration options. Multiple user profiles.

What we didn't like: navigation could be easier.

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Montessori Words For Kids - Android version

Montessori Words For Kids - Android version
by L'Escapadou

Price: free
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Android

Overall Score: 89/100

version reviewed: 1.4

reviewed:


Best for: Education, Attention & concentration, Early literacy, Eye-hand coordination, Interaction, Language, Thinking & problem solving

What it is: phonics and spelling practice (320 words, 3 levels of difficulty + focus on one sound mode + 'movable alphabet' activity). The crosswords range from single words to 3 word crosswords.

What you do with it: using image clues spell the words by dragging the required letters into place.

The 'movable alphabet' activity lets you create and play with letters/words.

What we liked: the concept, good educational value (number and choice of words), easy operation, visual clues, many adjustable options, tips for parents.

What we didn't like: no proper 'progress monitor' (just a simple completed word counter. No rewards system (the 'interactive animation' with bubbles may not be sufficient to keep kids occupied).

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Monkey Word School Adventure

Monkey Word School Adventure
by THUP games

Price: free
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iPhone

Overall Score: 89/100

version reviewed: 1.03

reviewed:


Best for: Education, Attention & concentration, Early literacy, Eye-hand coordination, Interaction, Thinking & problem solving

What it is: a pack of 6 activities for early reading and writing practice (mostly 3-5 letter words and basic sight words).

What you do with it: set up and (optionally) configure the account for a child (range of activities and difficulty level). The activities include: tracing letters (trace letters with your finger), rhyming maze (connect the words that rhyme), phonics bridge (find the missing sound in a word), spelling stone (drag letters to the correct place to spell a word), sight birds (collect the sight words on the screen), word wall (find hidden words). The difficulty level will be adjusted automatically as you progress. There is also a simple rewards system with stickers.

What we liked:the concept, good educational value, simple but engaging tasks, wide range of early-reading/writing topics (spelling, phonics,letters,tracing etc), lively graphics and animations, spoken instructions, visual hints, multiple user accounts with customization options, locked out 'parent menu'.

What we didn't like: the activities can get repetitive after some time. We wish there were more activities focusing on phonics.

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ABCs alphabet phonics games for kids based on Montessori learining approach

ABCs alphabet phonics games for kids based on Montessori learining approach
by Kids Academy Company

Price: 1.99$ (was 3.99$)
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May contain `more apps` links
iPhone

Overall Score: 88/100

version reviewed: 1.1.1

reviewed:


Best for: Education, Attention & concentration, Early literacy, Eye-hand coordination, Interaction, Language, Understanding of the world

What it is:animated alphabet flashcards with letter sounds and phonics.

What you do with it: choose a picture with a scene containing several objects with names starting with a particular letter. Touch the letter to listen to it's name/sound. Touch the objects for words, animations, interactions, and sounds e.g. for the letter 'z' the zebra will kick the 'z', letter 'e' will pop out of an egg etc.

What we liked: the concept, very simple operation, no distracting elements, both letter sounds and phonics included, sounds and sound backgrounds, fun factor, kid-safe 'parents' menu, multiple user accounts with progress tracking.

What we didn't like: the male narrator could be more neutral. In some scenes the actions/animations get a bit chaotic.

Bottom line: a good app for introducing younger kids to the alphabet (but you may wish to check our video walkthrough or the lite version of the app first)

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abc PocketPhonics: letter sounds & writing + first words

abc PocketPhonics: letter sounds & writing + first words
by Apps in My Pocket Ltd

Price: 6.99$
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iPhone

Overall Score: 88/100

version reviewed: 2.0

reviewed:


Best for: Education, Attention & concentration, Early literacy, Eye-hand coordination, Interaction, Language, Thinking & problem solving, Understanding of the world

What it is: an app for teaching the basics of reading (phonics) and writing.

What you do with it: trace the letters with your finger and then put simple words together.

What we liked: the concept, visual clues for tracing, overall quality of this app. The solution for accessing Parentzone menu.

What we didn't like: some of the 'reward' pictures can be too abstract or too difficult for children. This app does not offer too much variety and the child can become quickly bored (we suggest parental assistance). We didn't like the navigation and sound quality could be a little better.

There is a free version of this app for evaluation purposes.

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Simplex Spelling Phonics 1 - English

Simplex Spelling Phonics 1 - English
by Pyxwise Software Inc.

Price: 4.99$
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iPhone

Overall Score: 88/100

version reviewed: 1.3.0

reviewed:


Best for: Teacher & parent tools, Attention & concentration, Early literacy, Language, Thinking & problem solving

What it is: an app for improving spelling and reading skills, contains over 450 high frequency words divided into 42 lists organized by spelling patterns and difficulty levels.

What you do with it: choose the word set, then listen to the instructions and examples and try to spell words correctly using the on-screen keyboard.

What we liked:the concept, wide range of learning material, the way the learning material is presented (extensive use of text and audio instructions and hints), simple to use interface, support for multiple user accounts (with separate word stats for every user), support for American, British and Canadian English spelling, very high educational value.

What we didn't like: could be a bit more appealing visually, in addition to the help menu we would like to see some sort of instructions/guidance for parents.

Bottom line: an excellent choice for teachers and parents (you may want to check out the other apps from the 'Simplex Spelling' series, too).

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