The 7 Best Phonics Apps

In this post, I share the 7 best phonics apps (many FREE) for beginning readers to practice phonics skills. You’ll also get details about my No PREP Printable and Digital Yearlong Phonics Activities Bundle. Finally, be sure to download the FREE sample that includes a variety of phonics skills practice activities for kindergarten, first and second grade students!

As K-2 teachers, we spend much of our day teaching and practicing phonics skills – and for good reason! Studies show that building strong phonics skills in the primary years is key to helping ensure students become successful independent readers. 

The Science of Reading tells us that for students to master the phonics skills you teach they first need direct instruction from you. Then they need plenty of opportunities to practice specific phonics skills with you.  Finally, they need time to practice and apply these skills on their own. 

Students need to spend a lot of time practicing phonics skills.  According to Wiley Blevins, a new skill should be systematically and purposefully reviewed for four to six weeks after being introduced.  To keep things fresh and engaging for our students we must offer a range of activities that give them different ways to practice these skills.  

Today I’m happy to share with you a variety of activities that give students the practice they need to master the phonics skills you teach. I’ll share 7 of the best phonics apps, as well as resources of my own that provide a digital and hands-on approach to phonics practice.

The 7 Best Phonics Apps

1. Lalilo

Lalilo is a FREE and paid literacy app based on a K-2 scope and sequence. It provides extensive coverage of every letter sound and word family, and gives students practice reading stories.  As students progress, Lalilo leans on artificial intelligence to offer students targeted exercises and repeat things as necessary. Another cool feature is that at various intervals, students answer questions about how hard the questions they’ve been working on are. They can say if they’d like to be more challenged, less challenged, or if it’s just right.  

2. Starfall Learn to Read

Starfall Learn to Read is a FREE app that offers phonics basics and caters to a variety of learning styles. Students get practice through instructional songs and videos, complete-the-word activities, concentration matching games, and more. Standards content includes blending, isolating, short and long vowels, vowel pairs, and consonant digraphs. 

3. Blending Board

Blending Board is a great FREE phonics app to help students who are learning the foundations of blending sounds and the multisyllabic rules of English. Students create a deck of phonemes that they can substitute and manipulate for various kinds of blending activities. The decks enable students to practice decoding simple and multisyllabic words. 

4. Poio

Poio is an early reading and phonics app that teaches kids letters, letter sounds, and words playfully and organically.   The focus is on fun, but learning is definitely layered-in.  There’s a lot of repetition and reinforcement.  This is a particularly good app to use with students who have struggled with learning letters and letter sounds.  

The app offers daily emailed reports about students’ progress. These reports explain what percentage of the book is completed, which vowels and consonants have been mastered, and the six last words that were learned. You can also choose to purchase a hard copy of the storybook that kids work to complete. 

5. Articulation Station

Articulation Station is a unique FREE app that helps students improve their pronunciation and articulation. Using very specific exercises, games, and stories that focus on just one letter sound for 22 English language sounds, this app can improve pronunciation and understanding of how letter sounds form words.  This could be a great addition to the work you do with your sound wall

6. Planet Lettra

Planet Lettra is an entertaining and educational app for experimenting with word building. Students arrange a set of letter blocks any way they want and then hear what they’ve built. Blocks are designed to guide children in building the most important sight words for reading fluency and exposure to important letter blends. 

7. Teach Your Monster to Read

Teach Your Monster to Read is an engaging, rigorous, award-winning phonics and reading game. It covers the first two years of learning to read, from matching letters and sounds to enjoying little books. While it is a paid app ($5.99 to purchase), several times a year they offer it for FREE to download, so stay on the lookout! The computer version is totally FREE!

Digital and Printable Phonics Practice Activities

If you are looking for additional ideas to give your students more phonics practice activities (with or without a device!) I’m happy to share my very own Digital and Printable Yearlong Phonics Bundle.  

These Science of Reading-aligned, printable and digital, NO PREP phonics and spelling activities give Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd-grade students the practice they need to master phonics skills and spelling patterns you teach. 

This Phonics Bundle is broken up into word study units that each focus on different phonetic word patterns. Within each unit, you’ll find: 

  • A variety of systematically designed activities 
  • Printable and Digital interactive and self-checking activities
  • Tasks of varying levels to help you differentiate 
  • Consistent activities so don’t waste time teaching procedures and expectations for every unit 
  • Enough activities to last all year long. 

Are you reading to give these phonics activities a try? I’m thrilled to share this incredible FREE sample of the phonics activities included in this bundle.

This FREE download includes both printable and digital phonics skills activities from each of the units in the bundle. Grab it here

We know that building strong phonics skills in the primary years is key to helping ensure students become strong independent readers.  I hope the information and resources I have shared today will help bring a variety of meaningful phonics practice activities to your classroom and students. 

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