by Meredith Bartolo Pappas
As a reading teacher, I don’t use a lot of reading apps for teaching purposes, but I think they can be really useful in addition to other forms of instruction, especially for dual-language learners.
Reading apps that feature multiple languages can help build bilingual pre-literacy skills like language comprehension, vocabulary, and engagement in multilingual stories.
There are also some reading apps out there that can boost reading skills by teaching letter sounds, sound blending, and word structure in different languages.
Though it can be beneficial to have a variety of teaching and learning tools when it comes to reading, reading apps can be engaging educational supplementals. Here are some fantastic Spanish/English reading apps for children.
Epic is filled with both audio and visual stories that are in English, Spanish or are bilingual. This isn’t an app that will teach your child how to read necessarily, but it will help get them interested in reading and can boost their English and Spanish comprehension.
For visual stories, it does show the words and children can follow along just as if they were reading a book. Though you do need to pay for a subscription with this one, some schools use it as a dual-language reading tool.
If your child’s school has an account, a teacher can give you a login code so you can access the stories for free. I find this one to be just right for children ages four and up, though you may want to check some of the stories out first for younger children.
Endless Spanish by Originator
My kids love this app! It’s fun and filled with cute monsters that actually help with reading comprehension. You match letters and sounds to build Spanish words that are then added to a sentence that is read in both English and Spanish.
This is a fantastic teaching supplement because it focuses on learning letter sounds, which is the most important skill to have when learning how to read. It’s also really helpful for dual-language learners since it reads the sentence in both languages, which boosts vocabulary.
Since it is so bright and funny, it may keep your children engaged for longer, which is always a bonus when learning! It is also a paid app, but there is an extensive free-trial section so you can check it out and see if you like it before buying.
Aprender A Leer
This is another app that focuses on learning letter sounds in Spanish so is great for comprehension and building beginning reading skills. It has a slow pace and is very thorough with each letter, giving many examples and chances to hear the sound. I
t increases in difficulty gradually so it boosts children’s confidence and knowledge at a steady pace. I think this one is really helpful as a supplement even if it isn’t the most exciting app out there. There is a free version that might be all you need to get started.
Not to be confused with Duolingo, Lingo Kids is a whole system of language and reading lessons. It enhances writing and spelling skills, but also includes games to strengthen memory, focus, and even creativity, and mindfulness!
There are hundreds of educational videos on this app as well, which makes it a more educational use of screen time. It is also an app that you need to pay for, but you can get the free trial and see if it is right for you before subscribing.
There is an adult version of this app just called Duolingo, but Duolingo ABC can help with reading comprehension and basic letter and word skills. There are different levels of games that can help with word recognition, letter sounds, and even handwriting practice.
There is also a section that focuses on reading comprehension which is not found on many other reading-based apps. You will hear a simple story and be asked questions throughout to see if you understand basic plot points or what is happening in the story.
You do not need to know how to read to complete this section, but children with reading skills can see if they can read along as the story is being told. I have only seen this app in English, but have heard there is a Spanish version too, so on the lookout.
It makes sense that there would be multiple languages for this since the Duolingo app for adults is a premier language-learning app with hundreds of languages featured, including Spanish.
Similar to Epic, this one won’t teach reading skills but is filled with audio stories in both English and Spanish. It is great for helping to build excitement around stories and reading, while also boosting vocabulary and language comprehension skills.
It’s considered “kid-safe” and does not contain ads, with hundreds of stories you can access for free!
Whatever Spanish/English reading apps for children that you decide to try, it’s always a good idea to have bilingual story apps on hand for when you are traveling, getting ready for bed, or whenever you need something fun and educational to engage their minds.
When using bilingual reading apps, it’s important to remember that they are great supplements, but might not teach all the reading skills your child needs to become a fluent reader. As long as the reading apps you choose are focused on letter sounds, it is bound to be a big step in the reading direction!