Our reviewers evaluate products and services based on unbiased research. Top Consumer Reviews may earn money when you click on a link. Learn more about our process.

The Best Learn to Read Programs

What's the Best Program to Help a Child Learn to Read?

The most common tools used to teach literacy to children are phonics and sight words. Phonics tends to be an easier skill for children as they are able to sound out the letters to create a word. Sight words can be trickier because they are words that just need memorized as they do not follow the rules when it comes to reading the English language.

Learn to read programs can be helpful for children as they tend to be game-based. Children love to play games and they do not necessarily realize they are learning. When looking at a learn to read program, you can expect it to offer some type of fun activity for children to do. Some programs go above and beyond this with other school subjects being covered or worksheets to print out.

Thursday, July 18th

2024 Learn to Read Program Reviews

Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award Hooked On Phonics Review 5 Star Rating

Hooked On Phonics

5 Star Rating
  • $12.99 per month plus $2.99 shipping
  • 100% guarantee
  • Uses an app, books and workbooks
  • Bonus subjects to expand on reading
  • Four step approach to teaching
Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award

Hooked on Phonics is a program designed to teach children to read. This is the same program you probably remember from your childhood. They have the famous catchphrase "Hooked on Phonics worked for me!" The concept is the same as you may remember, however they have gone digital. You now get an app and it can be synced across all of your devices. They also will send you workbooks and books via mail to supplement the app. The program is designed for children in grades pre-k through 2nd grade, although if your child is behind, they could use it longer to help catch up.

Four steps used to teach your child

Hooked on Phonics has a 100% guarantee that your child will read in 30 days. They offer a 4-step approach to teaching. Step one is Learn, where new concepts are introduced through games and play. Step two is Practice, where the skills are applied through games and activities. Step three is Read, where children will read a physical book or ebook at their current level. Step four is Celebrate, where the child will get a star sticker, a certificate of completion, and digital prizes.

Bonus programs included with your membership

One big bonus to Hooked on Phonics is that on top of getting the phonics and reading aspect, you get two other programs for free. Hooked on Math will assist your child in becoming proficient at mathematical concepts. Hooked on Spelling will help your child master spelling. Spelling goes hand in hand with reading: if you know how to spell a word, you can read it too. This is a phenomenal deal for $16 a month.

Best Learn to Read Programs

Up to 3 children can use the app

Hooked on Phonics allows for up to 3 children to use the app at a time. If you want the additional books and workbooks, there is a fee of $9.99 per month per extra child. The app can be accessed by any phone, computer or tablet and again, your child's progress will sync across all devices.

Proven progress

Almost all of the reviews we could find were positive for Hooked on Phonics teaching children to read. One mom, who is also a teacher, stated that her daughter was having so much fun learning to read that it was boosting her daughter's confidence. Another mom said that her child was deemed years behind on reading and this program helped quickly accelerate their reading and they were able to catch up to their peers. One negative review we found said that they were using the program for a grandchild and it was better when it was 100% offline years ago.

Solid first place program

Overall, Hooked on Phonics appears to be a solid program covering many aspects in helping a child learn to read. They do cost a tad more than other programs but they also provide more. Since it is an app plus workbooks and reading books, you get more for your money. With a 100% guarantee, there really isn't anything to lose. We suggest you go ahead and give it a try. We are proud to award Hooked on Phonics with our first place ranking.

Reading Eggs Review 4.5 Star Rating

Reading Eggs

4.5 Star Rating
  • $9.99/month
  • For ages 2-13
  • 5 essential keys to literacy
  • Well researched creation of program

Reading Eggs is an affordable learn to read program with a very comprehensive approach. They can reach children as young as 2 years old, which helps them stand out among their peers.

Material available for kids ages 2-10

Reading Eggs prides itself on being created from solid scientific research and resulting in its proven success. Their learn to read program follows 5 essential keys to literacy success:

  • The first key is phonemic awareness. They build on skills to teach sound awareness.
  • The second key is phonics. During this phase, children learn the sound each letter makes to create a word.
  • The third key is vocabulary. This is when your child learns new words and how to use them as a regular part of their conversations.
  • The fourth key is reading comprehension. This is when your child is able to understand what they read and give the words meaning.
  • The fifth and final key is fluency. This allows your child to read with speed while still comprehending what they have read.

Material available for kids ages 2-10

Reading Eggs allows 4 children to use the program per membership. Your membership gives you access to 5 separate apps. Reading Eggs Jr is for ages 2-4, Reading Eggs is for ages 3-7, Reading Eggspress is for ages 7-13, Fast Phonics is for ages 5-10 and Mathseeds is for ages 3-9. Beyond your membership, they offer an optional book bundle supplement for an additional fee. These bundles range in price from $19.99 to $69.99.

Best Learn to Read Programs

Start with a placement test

One noticeable difference worth mentioning is that Reading Eggs has a placement test to start with so your child automatically begins learning at the correct point. As with other similar programs, they provide detailed progress reports for parents to see how their child is doing. This program comes with over 3,000 online digital books for children to read and each one ends with some type of assessment to see how much they understood. Parents are given access to hundreds of colorful worksheets to download that go hand-in-hand with what your child is learning. As an Australian-owned business, Reading Eggs offers another noticeable feature: three variations of English you can pick from (American English, British English and Australian English).

Lots of positive feedback from parents

Reading Eggs has earned positive reviews from many happy parents. One mom stated her child was struggling to read but became a successful reader through using this program. Another parent said Reading Eggs does an excellent job making their child think they are just playing games and not learning. There were a few negative reviews about the app freezing up and glitching, but at the time of this review we were unable to find anything negative about the curriculum itself.

Great choice for teaching children to read

Overall, this is a very comprehensive program for teaching children to read. The monthly price is affordable for what you get and the Reading Eggs team have done their homework in preparing a solid program for kids. From the placement test to offering various forms of English to pick from, Reading Eggs has obviously put a lot of thought and research into their product. This is also one of the few platforms that cater to children as young as 2, which will get them off to an egg-ceptional start. We would encourage you to give Reading Eggs a chance when looking for a program to help your children learn to read.

Time 4 Learning Review 4.5 Star Rating

Time 4 Learning

4.5 Star Rating
  • $24.95 - $34.95 per month
  • Well thought out website
  • Great for homeschool or as a stand alone
  • Certified Autism Resource
  • Financial assistance to military families

Time 4 Learning is a homeschool curriculum which includes teaching children to read. They cover a wide range of ages so you won't have to go elsewhere. The program is $24.95/month for students in grades Pre-K through 8th grade and $34.95/month for students in 9th-12th grade. It is also worth noting that if you are a military homeschool family, there is a link to apply for financial assistance should you need it. Time 4 Learning also offers foreign language classes for an additional monthly fee.

4-step approach to teaching

Time 4 Learning follows a 4-step approach to teaching children to read.

  • Step 1 is vocabulary development. During this phase of learning to read a child will be able to identify both upper and lower case letters, comprehend that letters together form words, understand that words together form sentences, and discover that sentences create stories. Children will also be able to define new words with context in the stories, and apply the meaning of words to what is around them.
  • Step 2 is Language Arts and Reading Comprehension. In this step, children will identify stories have a beginning, middle and end, learn that pages are read left to right and words are read top to bottom, and be able to focus on the sequence of events in a story. They will also be able to retell simple stories and pay attention to all the details of the story and answer questions to show they comprehend what was read.
  • Step 3 is called Literary Response. In this step, children will read books that have a simple storyline and bold pictures. They will be able to read non-fiction literature such as books on animals, space or weather.
  • Step 4 is called Writing Applications and Reading Strategy. During this step, children will learn how to hold writing materials correctly, utilize artistic expression to gain confidence, build their fine motor skills, and learn to follow instructions.

Awards and activities

Time 4 Learning ranks high in our rating due to their thorough attention to detail when it comes to creating a program to teach children to read. We strongly suggest you watch the informational introduction video on their website. They break down each lesson into activities, quizzes and tests. The program scores and keeps track of your child's work as they advance through the program. Also, Time 4 Learning is an IBCCES Certified Autism Resource.

Best Learn to Read Programs

Good reviews - mostly from homeschoolers

The reviews of Time 4 Learning put this learn to read platform well above many other programs. As it has a focus in homeschooling, a fair amount of T4L's reviews are about utilizing it in a homeschool environment. Parents seem pleased with the ease of use and how organized it keeps them and their students. The negative reviews for the site appear to be due to technical glitches and not the learning aspect. It should also be noted that Time 4 Learning is not accredited because it is not a school - but you'll often see reviews referring to it as a school due to it being able to be utilized by homeschool families.

Excellent, comprehensive program

Overall, we like Time 4 Learning, especially for anyone searching for an all-around educational platform that includes learning to read. One big perk? This would be a site your child could do alone if you are unable to sit there and do the entire thing with them. We recommend you take a look at Time 4 Learning if you like the idea of a learn to read system that lets you be hands-on or hands-off as needed

Scholar Within Review 4 Star Rating

Scholar Within

4 Star Rating
  • Price varies between $25 and $77 per month
  • Excellent for high energy children
  • Uses multiple senses
  • Created by a board certified Educational Therapist
  • Improved reading scores within 12-24 months

Designed by a board certified educational therapist, Scholar Within features a science-based and results-driven curriculum to teach children how to read. The program has structure, uses multiple senses and follows a sequence. They offer a self-paced curriculum offered both on- and offline. Scholar Within offers reading programs for students in grades Kindergarten through 8th grade, which makes it one of the longer coverage programs.

Costs depend on number of students and membership length

There are a variety of membership options to choose from when looking at Scholar Within's Reading and Spelling Program. You have 4 options based on the number of children who will be learning.

  • For 1 child, it is $25 per month for a year, $37 per month for 6 months and $47 per month if you pay monthly.
  • For 2 children for a year it is $29 per month, $44 per month for 6 months and $57 each month if committing monthly.
  • For 3 children with a yearlong commitment it is $34 per month, for 6 months it is $49 per month and for month to month it is $67.
  • If you have 4 children the price of a yearlong commitment is $38 per month, a 6 month commitment is $57 per month and a monthly commitment is $77 per month.

As you can see, the savings add up if you can commit to a full year. Scholar Within also offers a 7-day free trial before you decide which membership plan is right for you.

Quick daily activities hold learners' attention

For reading short paragraphs they offer a tap to read technology and use video lessons to instruct for spelling and phonics. Scholar Within also offers worksheets, printables and card games to go along with the lessons. Daily, children will complete 3-6 activities that vary in time between 5 and 20 minutes. Due to the shorter lessons and multiple senses being used, they are a program to keep in mind if you have a child with ADHD or simply a high energy child. It keeps their focus and uses different parts of the brain with different senses.

Improved reading scores

Scholar Within advertises that they will improve your child's reading scores. On average, reading fluency will increase 200% in 12-24 months. Children's reading comprehension will increase on average 3 grade levels over 12-24 months. One thing to note here is that these results are from studies conducted between 1995 and 2010; we'd love to see more current studies and outcomes.

Best Learn to Read Programs

Typical day with Scholar Within

You may be wondering what a typical day looks like when using Scholar Within. They have 4 easy steps to plan out your block for teaching reading. First is to print out the worksheets and have them ready to go for your child. Second is watch the video, which is approximately 5 minutes long, to understand what you will be doing that day. Third is to do the fluency training with your child which is expected to take 5 minutes to complete. Fourth is to complete the activities to assist with comprehension which will take 20-40 minutes.

Positive reviews on reading improvement

Most reviews for Scholar within are positive. Families like the videos and the amount of time needed (or comparative lack thereof) to use the program. Parents comment on how their children's ability to read improved as well as their comprehension skills. One parent stated that in the first week their child's reading words per minute increased 17% and the number of mistakes he made decreased. The only negative we could find was that parents did not enjoy having to print all the worksheets involved for this learn to read program - and that could be a drawback if you don't already have a printer.

Excellent program for those with and without learning disabilities

Scholar Within is a fantastic program to teach your child to read. The only downsides compared to other products are that it is more expensive than other programs out there and requires a lot of printing of worksheets. However, if you are looking for a quick and successful program we suggest you give it a try. We also recommend this program if you have a child that struggles with a learning disability such as ADHD due to the short lessons and sensory utilization.

K5 Learning Review 3.5 Star Rating

K5 Learning

3.5 Star Rating
  • $23.95 per year for individuals.
  • $265 per year for all staff at a single school.
  • Access to free worksheets without a membership
  • Affordable yearly subscription
  • Free e-book for parents
  • Membership allows free sharing to Google Classroom

K5 Learning has been around for 11 years. While they are not a website that will help children learn to read, they do offer supplemental work to use with other instruction. They offer worksheets for 7 subjects as well as the option to purchase additional workbooks for some subjects. The subjects include math, reading, science, grammar, vocabulary, spelling and cursive.

Pay a la carte or get a membership

At K5 Learning, workbooks vary in price from $1.70 to $68. They offer access to some of their worksheets for free if you want to try some without paying. Alternately, you can choose to subscribe: it is one of the more affordable ones at only $23.95 per year and gives you access to more worksheets, no ads, sharing to Google Classroom, the ability to separate questions and answers, download complete sets of worksheets, and exclusive content. Parents and teachers will also gain access to a free ebook How To Help Your Kids Succeed In School. If you're interested in giving K5 Learning a try, you can sign up and cancel for a full refund within 7 days.

Updated website is a plus

The K5 Learning website was remastered in 2021, and we were able to navigate it with ease. Prior to the update, K5 Learning had received some negative reviews based on their higher price for a membership, parents having to select lessons each day instead of the program selecting the lessons, and material not appropriate for the designated grade level. Since the website update, we haven't spotted any current negative reviews.

Best Learn to Read Programs

Parents and teachers are pleased with this program

The testimonials on the K5 Learning website are positive. The National Parenting Center describes it as a great website to keep your child on their academic toes. A teacher left a review stating that her students loved the program. They worked on it after school and from home - and they wanted to use it during the school day too. A mom said that each program was created for every individual child and their needs, letting them work at their particular skill level. A former educator looked at K5 Learning and found the website extremely useful for both parents and teachers especially with the option to share to Google Classroom.

"A+" BBB grade

Another positive fact worth noting is that the BBB has given K5 Learning an "A+" rating, so they have an exceptional reputation. The only complaint filed with the BBB was from someone who purchased a digital download and wasn't able to get a refund. K5 Learning responded to the review that it is in their terms to not refund digital downloads.

Worth giving it a try

Overall, K5 Learning appears to have come a long way and is a great additional resource for families. They offer a wonderful option if you are looking to supplement school learning or keep your children's minds sharp over summer and holiday breaks. We recommend taking advantage of the 7-day refund period to see if K5 Learning works for you, risk-free.

Reading Raven Review 3.5 Star Rating

Reading Raven

3.5 Star Rating
  • $1.99-$2.99 purchase price
  • App based program for iOS and Android
  • Suitable for children ages 3-6

Reading Raven is an app-based learn to read program. It was designed to teach children ages 3 and up (roughly through kindergarten), and it can be personalized for reading levels. The app allows children to learn at their own pace and it engages children by using multi-sensory games and phonics. You are also able to create multiple profiles if you have more than one child.

Using different senses to teach

The Reading Raven app utilizes a multi-sensory approach to work on hand-eye coordination, reading, writing and listening skills. It builds on children's reading confidence and assists them in making a connection between verbal and written language. Reading Raven also gives children an early exposure to reading comprehension: a valuable tool when learning how to read.

6 steps to teach children how to read

There is a multistep process Reading Raven uses to teach children to read.

  • First is recognizing letters.
  • Second is tracing letters which teaches the child how to write the shapes of the letters correctly.
  • Third is combining letters to create words.
  • Fourth is identifying the words that have been built into a sentence by reading them and being able to know what they mean.
  • Fifth is tracing words so that children can see that the letters they write form words.
  • The sixth and final step is reading sentences which leads to being a fluent reader.
Best Learn to Read Programs

Glowing reviews

There are many positive reviews for Reading Raven from parents and educators. Some state that the activities are fun and engaging for young children. Others state that this app is something children can do on their own to learn while the parents are getting work done. One negative to the program is that if you have an Apple product and an Android product, you need to pay for the app on each platform. Another negative review we found was that it doesn't hold the children's attention for long because the activities are repetitive for each letter or word.

An app we can get on board with

Overall, the price of this app makes it one of the cheapest learn to read programs we evaluated. Even if your child doesn't like it, the most you would spend is $3. While we wouldn't suggest this program as a standalone to teach your child how to read, it is a great supplement to go along with school. Children seem to enjoy the games and will learn from the activities involved as long as they are in the preschool to kindergarten range.

Kiz Phonics Review 3.5 Star Rating

Kiz Phonics

3.5 Star Rating
  • Priced from $39 to $159
  • Multiple membership options
  • Broad free trial
  • Fun and engaging for children to learn

As you might guess, Kiz Phonics is a phonics-driven program intended to teach children to read. The company is based out of Hong Kong and was originally created to teach English to non-native speakers. However, it is now used to teach any child how to read.

Pay for six months or a year

The website has a variety of membership plans to pick from for whatever your needs may be. A single child for 6 months is $39 and 1 year is $59. For up to 10 users, 6 months is $69 and 1 year is $99. For up to 20 users, 6 months is $99 and 1 year is $159. These plans do not automatically renew when they expire so make sure to pay for another if you are still interested.

Plenty of free resources

Upon clicking around on the website though, we discovered a fair amount of the content is actually free to use without paying for a membership. Kiz Phonics allows customers to try 3-5 items in each category before paying. If you are interested at all in this program, we strongly encourage you to watch the tour video provided at the top of the website. It gives an extremely thorough overview of what Kiz Phonics has to offer.

Variety of materials used to teach

Kiz phonics uses a wide variety of materials to teach children how to read. They have games, songs, worksheets, apps, cards, charts and assessments. The website is set up with the ability to search for your desired level in two ways. The first is by grade level which ranges from pre-k through 2nd grade. The other way to search is by material and you can pick out just a song or worksheet and jump around as you see fit.

Free materials to explore

Kiz Phonics was set up as a standalone way to teach your child to read or for use as a supplement to other programs. As you explore the free materials, it is worth noting that they tell parents and educators what to do with each item whether it is a song, a worksheet or an activity. It guides you to be able to teach your child and add on to the materials they provide you. Teaching your child to read with this program requires a hands-on approach which makes sense as it is a full curriculum.

Best Learn to Read Programs

Variety of materials and activities

As stated previously, they offer materials out of a variety of categories. There are worksheets designed by level, flashcards and charts to print out for children or to decorate classrooms and 21 phonics stories created specifically for this program. There are also digital media materials included. Phonics games are for practicing phonetic awareness, reading sentences and word games. Phonics video lessons allow the child to see and hear phonetic sounds, sentence structure, and word blending. Finally, there are listening materials with mp3 and word songs to tie everything together.

Help accelerate children's reading

Most of the reviews about Kiz Phonics state the variety and detail given has assisted in advancing their children's reading ability. The program is fun and keeps children entertained and engaged while learning. The biggest downfall to this program is that if you need assistance, you have to contact the help desk in Hong Kong. Thankfully we didn't see many reviews stating the need to contact the company.

Give it a try for free

Overall, we feel Kiz Phonics is a well put together program for teaching children to read. They have covered many different options for teaching and the website is well organized. Since you can try them for free, we suggest checking them out and seeing if it is a good fit for you and your child. The cost overall is higher than others, so you will want to make sure it is for you before committing to the program full time.

ABC Mouse Review 3 Star Rating

ABC Mouse

3 Star Rating
  • $12.99 per month with 30 day free trial
  • Progress tracker
  • Suitable for ages 2-8
  • Won numerous awards

ABC Mouse is an affordable program created to help children learn to read. ABC Mouse advertises that it was designed by teachers to help children learn at home. They have been in business for 15 years now and are based out of Glendale, CA.

What is included in your child's "classroom" ?

To use ABC Mouse, you can go to either their website or their app. These will direct you to your child's "classroom" , where you will find age-appropriate activities. They guide your child from activity to activity and create a curriculum for your child to follow. ABC Mouse keeps track of your child's progress and how they are doing with each skill. It will allow for more challenges if necessary or break down things your child isn't understanding in the lesson.

Progress tracker

The progress tracker is an informative tool included in your membership. It will show the number of activities completed in each category. The tracker also provides parents with graphs to show the child's progress. Another feature ABC Mouse has is a reward system providing children with tickets. Parents have stated that their children strive for these tickets as a reward for doing well on the activities. As your child collects tickets, they may turn them in for virtual rewards.

What does the curriculum look like?

The learning to read aspect of the ABC Mouse program includes a focus on letter recognition, phonics, rhyming words, word families, sentence structure, parts of speech and books to read. The curriculum covers beginning reading and identifying letters all the way to reading full paragraphs. The first-grade curriculum also includes writing skills which include sentence structure, punctuation and parts of speech.

Best Learn to Read Programs

Free trial and pricing deals

On top of offering a 30-day free trial, ABC Mouse almost always has a deal when you purchase for the year. At the time of this review, the current deal was $45 for a one-year subscription, which is 70% cheaper than the monthly option.

Awards - and legal issues

ABC Mouse has won numerous awards for their curriculum. These include the Mom's Choice Gold Award, Teachers Choice Award and Parents Choice Gold Award. Unfortunately, according to the Better Business Bureau, the owners of ABC Mouse (Age of Learning Inc) have been in litigation for not informing customers in their terms that annual memberships would be automatically renewed. Most of the complaints filed with the BBB result from ABC Mouse processing charges without notice or even charging some customers after accounts have been canceled. Complaints also accuse ABC Mouse of "not being able to find customers' accounts" until external complaints are made.

Check your bank statements

Overall, ABC Mouse has a quality program to assist children in learning to read. The convenience of the progress tracker and ticket reward program make ABC Mouse desirable for both parents and children. The learning games and activities will create a fun and enjoyable addition to your child's education. But, if you decide to give them a try, we suggest you keep an eye on your banking statements to make sure you aren't charged incorrectly.

Homer Review 2 Star Rating


2 Star Rating
  • $9.99 per month or $119.88 per year
  • 74% reading score increase
  • Bonus app with Sesame Street characters

Homer is a learn to read program created for children ages 2-8. It covers reading, math, creativity, thinking, and social and emotional learning. Homer follows the common core standard in teaching children to read. The teacher will teach the letter and its sound together in a planned way with a purposeful order. Homer prides itself on being able to increase test scores by 74%.

Steps to being a fluent reader

Starting out, your child will be given a 5-step process to learn the pre-literacy skills needed for reading.

  • The first step includes being Introduced to Letters, deciphering between lower and upper case letters and knowing that the shapes of the letters create meaning.
  • Next they will move on to "Finding Their Way" . Children will be able to sing their ABC's, identify letters, practice forming the letters, use auditory and visual memory for letter shapes and sounds, and create language skills.
  • The third step, "Finding A Path" , teaches your children the beginning of phonics.
  • The fourth step is "Discovering New Terrain" . During this step of the process, your child will connect the letters to their sounds. They will be able to read short words and sentences, spell short words, start learning sight words and begin getting fluent in their reading.
  • The fifth and final step is "Reaching New Heights" . For this step, your child will become more fluent, sound out complex words and read books interesting to them.

The Homer learning process

Homer's learning program as a whole has four steps to it. Step one is to introduce the concept. Step two is practice and reinforce what was taught. Step three is apply and show what you have learned. Step four is to transfer and show in the real world what you can do. Homer advertises that they have used scientific evidence and research to create this approach. This four-step approach gets applied to all of their subjects, from reading to math.

Best Learn to Read Programs

Reasonably priced

At the time of this review the annual membership is on sale for $59.99 for the year or $4.99 for 12 months. If you want to pay monthly with the ability to cancel, it will cost you $9.99 per month. Homer also has another app included with it which is Learn with Sesame Street. Unfortunately, we didn't see the appeal to the app itself. It would be ok to use as an educational game to keep your child entertained for a few minutes and will reinforce literacy skills but it will not teach your child how to read.

Lackluster reputation

According to the Better Business Bureau, Homer has an "A+" rating. However, they have numerous complaints about customers trying to cancel and either not being able to or still being charged. Their communication with their customers appears to be lacking until it is escalated to this level. While there are some positive reviews from parents stating that their kids enjoy the app even those on the older range of the program, many users wish that skills were reiterated more and that there was a little more practice involved while using the app.

Better options are out there

We are not overly impressed with Homer. Its biggest benefit is the connection to Sesame Street in the bonus app. Between the complaints on being able to cancel and being overcharged, to the lack of reiteration on skills, this app appears to be lacking. We would strongly encourage you to check out some of the other options over Homer when looking for a program to teach your child to read.

Duolingo Review 2 Star Rating


2 Star Rating
  • Free to use
  • Geared for beginning readers
  • App based

You may have heard of Duolingo, an app that teaches you new languages. The main app has a membership, ads and in-app purchases. However, they just came out with a new app geared towards teaching children to read and it is 100% free. You read that right, there are no ads, in-app purchases or subscriptions to buy. Available both for Android and iOS devices, Duolingo ABC is a learn to read app that is part of the Duolingo family. It is geared towards children ages 3-6 years of age.

Follow a story path

After you sign into the app, there is a cute story about Duo the mascot and his friend creating a storyline for your child to follow with various tasks to complete. It starts with an activity in which the child spells a familiar word, their name. They then move on to other activities including spelling of words, repeating letter sounds, and the app reading books to your child.

Letter and shape tracing

There is also letter and shape tracing - although it doesn't require you to trace the entire letter, which we feel is a flaw. Another negative we found was that while it starts by asking your child's name and age, Duolingo does not tailor the lesson to their level. You will need to play around with the app to find the correct level of difficulty.

App-based play

Duolingo's learn to read program is fairly new, having been launched in March 2020. They have over 300 fun short learning lessons to assist your child in learning how to read. They advertise that they have an entertaining phonics program that teaches through play. There are also short stories that have funny characters and storylines.

Best Learn to Read Programs

Some positive feedback from parents

There are a fair number of positive reviews on the app store pages for Duolingo's learn to read system. One parent stated that the app does exactly what it promises, which is to teach children how to read. It is cute and engaging for preschoolers to learn. Another parent claimed their preschooler can't wait to get on the app each day to learn and open new doors on the game.

But also some negatives

The negative reviews seem to be linked to not being tailored to each child, issues that were soon fixed by updates, and the layout of the app itself. The updates are important to check for when dealing with an app, as they can fix bugs and glitches in the program.

Where is Duolingo lacking?

In general, the Duolingo app is cute but basic. Compared to other learn to read programs out there, this one seems to be lacking depth. The free price point makes the download worth it and it's fun for young children to play, but Duolingo ABC would most likely not hold the interest of children in kindergarten and up as it is very repetitive and for beginners. The app fulfills its purpose of assisting children in learning to read, yet compared to other similar programs out there, Duolingo ABC comes up short.

Phonics In Motion Review 2 Star Rating

Phonics In Motion

2 Star Rating
  • $14.99 per month with 3 months free if you buy a 1-year subscription
  • Uses multiple senses
  • Full literacy program
  • Best for students in Pre-K through 2nd grade

Phonics In Motion offers a full literacy program for children to learn to read. Whether you're in a school environment, a homeschool family. or a parent just looking to supplement, they have a plan for you. One unique feature we noticed on the website was a live chat opened up to check if you needed any help. They were available to answer any questions and point you in the right direction. The program covers Pre-K through 2nd grade.

Three important steps

As a learn to read program, Phonics In Motion has 3 steps to follow.

  • For preschool to kindergarten, they have Phonemic Awareness Foundations. This is where you initiate a love for reading through poems, motions and activities.
  • Step 2 is called Early Readers and Writers Program and is geared for Pre-K to 1st grade. In this step students are learning letter sounds and names, and how to write them.
  • The third step is called Vowel House Spelling Program and is intended for grades 2 and 3. In this step, you will use multiple senses for learning phonics and spelling.

Focus on multiple areas of teaching

Instead of putting a focus in one area of teaching children to read, Phonics In Motion takes a 360-degree approach to engage the child's mind and body. This is completed by utilizing visual, auditory and physical parts of the brain. The content uses multiple senses while teaching children to read. They also use a pyramid approach and build upon each step. The Phonics in Motion pyramid starts with phonemic awareness, which is the ability to understand sounds, and builds up through phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and the final goal of comprehension.

Best Learn to Read Programs

Lack of current reviews

At the time of this evaluation, most of the user reviews for Phonics In Motion were from 2018 or earlier (among which were a few reviews that were compensated for their opinion, so not the most objective). The older reviews did say that it was a fun way to learn. Someone even went as far as to say it was a life-changing experience to witness reading being taught this way. All the motion helps keep the children engaged and having fun while learning. We didn't find any negative reviews of the program - but there just wasn't enough feedback from users to get a comprehensive picture of how well Phonics In Motion is working for young learners now.

Doesn't measure up against the competition

Phonics In Motion doesn't stack up against some of the other programs we reviewed. There is no way to give it a try for yourself and see how well you like it before committing to a paid plan. Watch the demo videos and you'll see that this learn to read system is very time-consuming, because each sound has a different hand gesture and movement. Fortunately, there are many other programs out there that will probably be a better option. We do feel that if you have the time and dedication to make this program work, that Phonics In Motion could be successful. However, this is just not a program for most parents looking for an easy way to teach children to read.

Reading Kingdom Review 1 Star Rating

Reading Kingdom

1 Star Rating
  • Price not disclosed until you sign up
  • 30-day free trial

Reading Kingdom has very little information about their program on their website, to the point that without going to other websites, we couldn't find the price. At the time of this review, one third-party site we found said the monthly subscription is $19.99 or $199 for the year. Each additional child will cost $9.99 per month or $99 for the year. Our research indicated that there's a scholarship available if the program is too expensive; however we didn't see that directly on the site.

Focus on writing skills vs. reading

Reading Kingdom is focused more on writing than reading. Not to say they aren't teaching your child to read, they are just using writing skills as a way to teach it differently. The program also teaches early computer skills such as using a mouse and typing, plus keyboard controls such as how to copy and paste.

Does not follow phonics approach

Reading Kingdom does not follow a phonics approach. According to their website only 1 in 5 words can be sounded out phonetically. They have an example on the website of a sentence using a bunch of words with "ea" in them. There are 13 different ways to pronounce the "ea" sound in that sentence.

Best Learn to Read Programs

Six aspects of learning

Instead of using phonics to teach children to read, they focus on 100 sight words instead. They advertise that phonics programs only focus on one aspect of reading which is sounds, while they focus on six. The six that they focus on are sequencing, writing, sounds, meaning, grammar and comprehension. It is worth noting most of the other learn to read programs in our review teach the same skills.

Lowest ranking due to lack of information

Overall, due to the lack of concrete information on the company website, we need to give Reading Kingdom a low score. Prospective customers shouldn't have to visit external websites to get pricing information, and there was no way to fact check those with Reading Kingdom. Their website didn't seem to offer anything extra that higher ranking programs lacked. We strongly recommend that you look at the higher-rated programs in our review, and avoid Reading Kingdom as an option for helping a child that's learning to read.

Compare the Best Reviews

Continued from above...

Also, spelling can be an important part of learning to read. This helps children find patterns in words and how to read multiple that follow the same rule. An example is if you can spell light and know that the "gh" is silent, then you can read might, tight, and so on.

As you consider different learn to read programs, there are a few key aspects you'll find to be most important:

  • Price. How much does the learn to read program cost? Does it offer a good value for the money?
  • Age range. Is the program suitable for the age of the child(ren) you want to help with their reading progress?
  • Teaching method. Does it follow a phonics-based or sight word-based approach? Is there another way it teaches?
  • Reviews. What are parents and educators saying about this program? Does it have a positive or negative reputation?
  • Spelling program. Does it include a program to teach spelling to your child(ren)?
  • Full program or supplemental. Does the program offer a full reading curriculum (like a homeschool curriculum)? Is it simply to be used with other programs as a reinforcement?

To help your child learn to read, TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked the top programs available today. We're confident that this information will make it easy and even fun!

The Best Learn to Read Programs Compare Learn to Read Programs Compare Learn to Read Program Reviews What are the best Learn to Read Programs Best Learn to Read Program Reviews

Learn to Read Program FAQ

All ages can use these programs. Programs and courses have material suitable for all ages to use. Whether it is Pre-K, Elementary, middle school, high school levels, or adults there are programs that can help anyone learn and improve their reading skills.
Most learn to read programs are self-paced and allow the customer to learn the material at their own time. On average each course can take about 20 minutes to a couple of hours depending on the length of the material given. For most effective learning, it is recommended to plan out the courses ahead of time, and to review course material, when available.
Depending on the company and type of course, the cost can range anywhere from $49.99 to $199.99. Monthly plans can range from $6.99 to $30 per month. Having additional students on one course plan, with some companies, can reduce the cost per month.
Depending on the company you consider, there are typically multiple levels of learning from beginner to expert. Most companies organize difficulty with the age of the student. Courses are typically divided into the following structured categories: Pre-K, Elementary, middle school, or high school levels. Keep in mind, several companies only go up to 8th grade, rather than offering levels for high-school students. Be sure to read the details before selecting a plan.
Yes, depending on the type of plan you choose. Be sure to read the details of any course you intend to purchase.
Of course, companies offer several different learn to read programs and are committed to customer satisfaction. Some companies even offer a free 2-week trial (no commitment), 30 days from the date of delivery to request a full refund, 14-day money-back guarantee, and more.
Kids learn to read when they can identify individual or combinations of letters. Next, they connect those letters to sounds (talking and listening). Having a good program that has systematic teaching about phonics is key for a child to being able to learn how to read. Phonics is a method of teaching a person to read by correlating sounds with individual or combinations of letters.
On average, most children begin to read around the age of 6 or 7 years old. Some children even learn as early as 4 years of age. As a bit of advice, keep in mind that even if your child has a head start in learning how to read, his or her peers may eventually catch up - and that's ok.

Compare Learn to Read Programs

Select any 2 Learn to Read Programs to compare them head to head

  • Hooked On Phonics
  • Reading Eggs
  • Time 4 Learning
  • Scholar Within
  • K5 Learning
  • Reading Raven
  • Kiz Phonics
  • ABC Mouse
  • Homer
  • Duolingo
  • Phonics In Motion
  • Reading Kingdom
Hooked On Phonics vs Reading Eggs Hooked On Phonics vs Time 4 Learning Hooked On Phonics vs Scholar Within Hooked On Phonics vs K5 Learning Hooked On Phonics vs Reading Raven Hooked On Phonics vs Kiz Phonics Hooked On Phonics vs ABC Mouse Hooked On Phonics vs Homer Hooked On Phonics vs Duolingo Hooked On Phonics vs Phonics In Motion Hooked On Phonics vs Reading Kingdom Reading Eggs vs Time 4 Learning Reading Eggs vs Scholar Within Reading Eggs vs K5 Learning Reading Eggs vs Reading Raven Reading Eggs vs Kiz Phonics Reading Eggs vs ABC Mouse Reading Eggs vs Homer Reading Eggs vs Duolingo Reading Eggs vs Phonics In Motion Reading Eggs vs Reading Kingdom Time 4 Learning vs Scholar Within Time 4 Learning vs K5 Learning Time 4 Learning vs Reading Raven Time 4 Learning vs Kiz Phonics Time 4 Learning vs ABC Mouse Time 4 Learning vs Homer Time 4 Learning vs Duolingo Time 4 Learning vs Phonics In Motion Time 4 Learning vs Reading Kingdom Scholar Within vs K5 Learning Scholar Within vs Reading Raven Scholar Within vs Kiz Phonics Scholar Within vs ABC Mouse Scholar Within vs Homer Scholar Within vs Duolingo Scholar Within vs Phonics In Motion Scholar Within vs Reading Kingdom K5 Learning vs Reading Raven K5 Learning vs Kiz Phonics K5 Learning vs ABC Mouse K5 Learning vs Homer K5 Learning vs Duolingo K5 Learning vs Phonics In Motion K5 Learning vs Reading Kingdom Reading Raven vs Kiz Phonics Reading Raven vs ABC Mouse Reading Raven vs Homer Reading Raven vs Duolingo Reading Raven vs Phonics In Motion Reading Raven vs Reading Kingdom Kiz Phonics vs ABC Mouse Kiz Phonics vs Homer Kiz Phonics vs Duolingo Kiz Phonics vs Phonics In Motion Kiz Phonics vs Reading Kingdom ABC Mouse vs Homer ABC Mouse vs Duolingo ABC Mouse vs Phonics In Motion ABC Mouse vs Reading Kingdom Homer vs Duolingo Homer vs Phonics In Motion Homer vs Reading Kingdom Duolingo vs Phonics In Motion Duolingo vs Reading Kingdom Phonics In Motion vs Reading Kingdom
Compare the Best Learn to Read Programs
- VS -
Review the Best Learn to Read Programs
The Best Reviews of Learn to Read Programs