Top Apps for Preschool Literacy

Do you have an iPhone or iPad AND a preschooler? If you do, chances are that your child has already discovered some fun things they can do with it. While it is important to limit your child’s interactions with this media, it seems to be almost intuitive for them to figure out how to make it work. Touch screen technology is how they are learning and I think it will be the way they will continue learning as they get into school. Trying to find the best apps, however, can be quite a struggle as there are so many – good and not so good – available.

Here are some places to find reviews: Common Sense Media has some solid suggestions. Children’s Technology Review at has some free reviews, but to get to all of them, there is a paid subscription. A good blog by Cynthia Chiong at gives some great reviews. There are many more sources; these will give you a start.

There are game apps and book apps. Here are a few that I’ve found successful with a couple of my grandchildren. The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton has fun interactive things to do and the reader’s voice is soothing. Nosy Crow’s Cinderella: A 3-D Fairy Tale has the traditional tale with some added fun elements. Always popular is The Monster At the End of This Book by Jon Stone. A new combination of book app and regular app using an actual book is Imagnotron. It uses The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore by William Joyce to combine the app experience with the physical book for some really interesting results.

Games that have proven popular are I Hear Ewe where kids touch the animal or vehicle and hear its sound. Everyday Grooves has songs for routines in a kid’s life like wake up, brush your teeth, read a story and more. You can set it to automatically play at a time you specify. Pet Factory has been the most popular as kids design their personal pet and can even save a picture of their creation. Kids Karaoke has some great sing-along titles such as If You’re Happy and You Know It, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and more.

Letter School is a fun game that guides children in how to draw the letters of the alphabet. Build and Play takes apart vehicles like cars, train engines and robots and lets kids rebuild them, one part at a time. Cutie Monsters includes monsters from 1-10 and simple jigsaw puzzles. The Wheels on the Bus takes the familiar song and extends it to include some other additions like fish and dogs. And finally, Angry Birds is a fascinating app for all ages. Younger kids will need to figure out how a catapult works by pulling back on the birds, but once they do, they rapidly make those little birds fly.

Some of these are free while others have a low cost. Check them out. If you have an app that your preschooler just loves, I’d love to hear about it. Tell me in the comments below or email me at

By Vicky Hays – Early Literacy Librarian