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I am sure that you are more than aware that reading to your child on a daily basis from an early age is extremely beneficial: it creates a fantastic bonding experience, it awakes and fosters your child’s imagination, contributes to forming a rich vocabulary, it is key for developing pre-reading skills…
And you are most likely doing this every night… At least for a few minutes!
But, I also wanted to get real here because we, as parents, are really busy: we are working, we have several children, pick-ups, drop-offs… You get the idea: We can’t devote as much time as we’d like to reading aloud to our kids on a daily basis!
Don’t worry! You are not alone. It happens to everyone!
That is why we have prepared this article with a curated list of our favourite read aloud apps and websites that can help you out!
App / Website #1: Epic!
Epic! is a children’s books digital library. It is something like ‘Netflix of books for kids’. They have 40K+ book titles for kids between 2 and 12 years old.
I discovered Epic! during lockdown when we had to stop our trips to the library, and it was such an amazing finding!
They have books for all sorts of tastes. The titles are really easy to find, and you get very relevant suggestions based on your preferences.
If you don’t have as much time as you’d like to read to your beginner reader, they got you covered with lots of read-aloud and read-to-me books!
Some amazing extra features that we love:
- The system highlights each word as it reads it to you. This mimics the action of pointing out to each word you read to your child with your finger. This helps your child to engage with the story and to focus on the words.
- Focus on reading comprehension too: At the end of each read-to-me book, your child is asked a few questions about the story to make sure s/he comprehended it.
- They also have a large collection of videos and audiobooks.
- They have titles in other languages, especially in Spanish. In our case, being a bilingual family with Spanish, is a big plus.
- They offer a basic plan for FREE! This free plan (as the name clearly says) is basic, but it is free for life… And it is great to get you started and check if you like it, and how useful it is for your child.
get started right away!
- Website : Read For Free on Epic!
- App Store : Install now and read for free!
- Play Store: Install now and read for free!
App #2: Amazon Kids+
Age: 3 – 12 years old.
Cost: Free (first month). $2.99/ month after.
Availability: Check on Amazon!
When I first heard of Amazon kids+, I actually thought that it was maybe going to be something like Amazon Prime for kids (you know, a selection of films and series for children). It turns out that it is a different thing altogether.
Amazon Kids+ is a library of kids-appropriate content, including: books, videos, apps, audiobooks, and educational materials, sorted-out by three age groups: 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12.
You also have parental control that allows you set time limits, set objectives and age filters and much more.
Unfortunately, this is not available where I live (Australia), so I haven’t had a chance to test it. But if you live in the US, the UK, Canada, Germany and Japan, then this could be an option for you.
It seems pretty affordable ($2.99) after your first free-month trial.
GET STARTED RIGHT AWAY!
App #3: Dr Seuss Deluxe Book App
Age: 2 – 6 years old.
Cost: Free (one story). Then, $2 -$4 per book. Or $42 for all 17.
Availability: Check on the App Store!
Do your children love Dr Seuss’s books? Mine do! And… I do!
These books, with their crazy stories and illustrations, and the silly made-up- words, really make them (and me!) laugh.
Besides, these silly rhymes improve your child’s phonological awareness skills and stimulate his/her creativity.
So, I couldn’t resist the Dr. Seuss Deluxe Book app!
The Dr Seuss Deluxe Book app contains the 17 most popular Dr Seuss books. The stories are animated, adding a lot of fun and play to the experience of reading the books.
When it comes to the actual reading, you have 2 options: Read-to-me or read by myself.
The read-to-me books also highlight each word that is being read, which (as we explained before) is fantastic. Besides, when you tap on any of the words (or pictures) in the stories, the system will say them back to you.
The app includes little extra activities, like matching letters activities or tap on the right letter activities. And, to make the experience even more exciting, along the way your child gets stars and rewards, and discovers hidden surprises.
The app is free on the app store. However, bear in mind you only get one story. Additional stories can be purchased for $2 – $4, at the time I am writing this. Or you can buy the entire collection of 17 books for around $42 (again, at the time I am writing this article)
You can download Check on the App Store!
Site #4: Storyplace
Age: Pre-school kids
Availability: On their website.
Storyplace is a pre-school library with lots of books and activities for your pre-school child. The activities are categorized by theme: colors, shapes, firefighters, teddy bears…
Once you select your theme, the first thing that your child will listen to is a cute and educational read-aloud story.
After that, you have: an educational activity, some videos on the topic that you selected, some print-at-home activities, and a selection of children books to work on that specific topic.
By the way, these books are not available as read-aloud’s, but you can see the availability of these books on the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library catalogue.
If you are in the US and happen to be near Charlotte, North Carolina, they have branches in the area.
This website is, in fact, as you may have guessed an initiative run by them, the Charlotte Mecklenburg library, and it is free.
Website: Check it here!
App/ Website #5: Storyline online
Age: 2 – 9 years old.
Availability: Check their website!
How about getting your child be read books by some of the biggest celebrities in Hollywood? Yes, that’s possible!
This website has quite an impressive selection of books and equally impressive cast of celebrities!
Kevin Costner, Oprah, Mindy Sterling (who is by the way reading one of my favourite kids’ books ‘Library Lion’)…
Besides, there is a storyline online app that you can also download.