Reading and fostering a love of books has been an integral part of parenting for years. However, starting young ones on reading can be challenging, especially with so many other distractions around them. Luckily, books are now available on screens and in audio. Our kids can read or listen to them any time of day or night. Check out these free book apps and their comprehensive lists of titles, which will enthrall and engage your young readers.
Completely Free Books Apps
The National Library Board Mobile app is a great starting place for young book lovers. First, it’s easy to use. It also has a wide variety of stories for children of all ages — including classics like Caillou, and familiar authors like Enid Blyton. For younger kids, the in-app option of ‘read-alongs’ will be useful. This directs you to the Tumblebooks app extension where books are animated and narrated — a fun way to introduce young ones to reading.
You can get full access to all of the NLB’s resources in this app. Find almost any book you want for the kids, and borrow it right from your phone.
The OverDrive app lets you borrow e-books, audiobooks and other resources from the library. Borrowers can read samples from the stories and view the story in various available formats. Suggestions help parents find better titles for their kids, or encourage kids using the app to explore on their own.
Classic titles such as Dr Seuss’ The Lorax and newer titles such as DC Superhero Girls are available. Titles are automatically returned once due, so you never have to worry about late fees again!
Libby, by OverDrive
Another app that lets you log on directly to your local library. Libby is colourful, exciting, and has a more kid-friendly user interface. You can set your preferences to options such as “Kids”, with titles categorised into options such as “All About Animals”, “Read alongs”, and “Around the World.”
Get books, audiobooks, and animated story books for all ages, including familiar titles such as The Lightning Thief and Paddington. It is also easy to find books in another language, so you can get your kids reading bilingually early!
Sora, by OverDrive
OverDrive has also linked up with schools to create Sora. This partners school libraries and lets kids access books or stream video resources directly into their devices. A cute background and an easy-to-understand interface means kids will definitely enjoy their reading and eBook experience.
The app keeps track of time spent reading and the number of books read. It also allows kids to unlock achievements for reading and completing tasks that the app gives. It’s a stimulating, interactive way to keep young ones hooked on reading, and can make screen time less stressful for parents too!
Free Download + Purchase Book Apps
Google Play Books
If either Mum or Dad is already a Google Play user, this is a great app. But no worries, Apple users aren’t left out either. No subscription is required, so you only pay for the audiobooks and e-books chosen. Before purchasing on Google Play Books, you’ll be able to preview a sample to decide.
There are free options available featuring characters such as Strawberry Shortcake, My Little Pony, and kid-friendly series such as Minecraft. Comic books are also available, so young readers can explore a different genre. Thanks to a feature called Bubble Zoom, comics and speech bubbles come to life too!
Free Download + Free Trial before Paid Subscription Book Apps
Audible has been at the forefront of narration and resources — with an incredibly comprehensive list of titles from Harry Potter to empowering books like Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different. The benefit of Audible is that an international library of narration is at your fingertips, and kids can be exposed to stories all over the world. A 30-day free trial gets you one audiobook and two Audible Originals. After that you have to pay $14.95 per month.
Celebrity narrators such as Stephen Fry and Eddie Redmayne bring stories to life. Many titles and narrations are only available via Audible, or curated specifically for Audible users. Powered by Amazon, young ones have a host of downloadable materials available to listen to throughout the day. Audiobooks are especially helpful to introduce books to little ones who simply won’t sit still!
(See also: Singaporean Authors who write Books for Kids)
This app extension of the website Audiobooks.com specialises in, of course, audiobooks! While there are free books available, in order to access most of the titles, a membership must be purchased. For this app, you get a 30-day free trial and two free books to download. Not a bad start to introducing the enthralling world of stories to young ones.
Carrying titles such as Amelia Bedelia, Jack and the Beanstalk and authors such as The Brother’s Grimm is great as parents can introduce the books they grew up with to their kids as well. However, fun, new characters such as Peppa Pig get their day in the audiobook universe too!
The Storytel app has unlimited stories to choose from once you’ve subscribed. There is a kids mode, which makes it easy for kids to browse, find, and download e-books and audiobooks. Famous classic author Enid Blyton features alongside educational series like Timmy & Tammy: Guide to Primary One and Guide to Good Manners.
Take these great reads on the go with a wide variety to keep kids entertained for hours. Singtel subscribers can take advantage of special packages, while LiveUp members enjoy two months’ free subscription.
Kids Can Read with Free Book Apps, Anywhere They Go, Anytime at All
Reading is fundamental, fun and forever! Get the family into the spirit of reading by sharing the love of stories. Best of all, with these free book apps, you can do so wherever, whenever. Happy reading!
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