Top 7 Apps for Learning English at Home

 

Like we mentioned in “How to: Help Your Kids Build Good Study Habits”, every so often we get questions from parents about how they can help their kids outside of the classroom. Aside from building good study habits, most questions sound something like this:

How can I help my child improve their English outside of the classroom?

Most of the time, these parents are already in the process of helping their children build study habits but they want to know if there is more they can do. We suggest you put your technology to work.

So if you own a computer, tablet, or smartphone, here are 7 great apps for helping your child with their English outside of the classroom:


 
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Teach Your Monster to Read

Suitable for: Ages 4-10

Teaches: Phonics and Reading

Needs parent supervision? ✘ (Once set-up)

An award-winning app, Teach Your Monster to Read teaches children the building blocks of phonics and reading in a fun and engaging way as “the game takes children on a magical journey, meeting colorful characters along the way and collecting fantastic rewards.” Funded by the non-profit Usbourne Foundation, the app is broken down into three different levels: First Steps, Fun with Words, and Champion Reader. These three levels are designed to cover the first two years or reading, with activities such as “matching letters to sounds, blending, segmenting,… and reading full sentences.”

Download: iOS (NT$150) | Android (NT$200)

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Drops

Suitable for: Ages 6+

Teaches: Vocabulary

Needs parent supervision? ✘ (Once set-up)

No long-winded reading. No typing or speaking. Drops asks for just five minutes a day. Drops, Google Play’s Best App of 2018, is a vocabulary app that gamifies English language learning with beautifully simple illustrations and clean animations. Lessons are broken down into 13 different categories, from Foundation, with lessons on numbers, colors, and shapes, to Fun & Recreation, with lessons on musical instruments, festivals, and hobbies. With activities from matching vocabulary words to their pictures, rearranging scrambled words, or swiping across a grid to spell a word, your children are sure to learn a bag of new words to use in their English classes.

Download: iOS (Free) | Android (Free)

Mem

Memrise

Suitable for: Ages 6+

Teaches: Vocabulary

Needs parent supervision?

Selected by Google as the overall Best App winner in the 2017 Google Play Awards, Memrise is a vocabulary-based game that uses some unique and easy ways to help its users memorize English words. This app offers its own courses but also a ton of custom-made courses by other users. Memrise also offers offline learning just in case you are without an internet connection.

Memrise’s storyline is based on the premise of unlocking the outer cosmos, with 4 different modes available on its freemium option, Learn, Classic Review, Speed Review, and Difficult Words. Each mode provides simple memorization activities in line with Memrise’s spaced repetition learning technique. The premium mode also offers 3 extra modes: Learn with Locals, with videos from local speakers of the language, Pronunciation, with thousands of Memrise audio clips, and Listening Skills, where users can fine tune their listening skills with a customized game.

Download: iOS (Free) | Android (Free)

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BBC Learning English

Suitable for: Ages 8+

Teaches: Grammar, Vocabulary, Reading, Listening

Needs parent supervision?

With custom lessons focused on grammar, vocabulary, reading, pronunciation, and listening, the official BBC Learning English app offers an unparalleled experience. With programs grouped into 6 different categories, from Everyday English to Learn with the News, BBC Learning English provides users with a buffet of different levels and topics to choose from. So if you prefer structured lessons to help your children at home, BBC Learning English is the app for you. Also, bear in mind, BBC Learning English is regularly updated, meaning you don’t have to worry about breezing through all of their content and finding yourself wanting more.

Download: iOS (Free) | Android (Free)

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Sentence Master

Suitable for: Ages 8+

Teaches: Grammar

Needs parent supervision?

Aimed at helping youngsters improve their English language skills, Sentence Master focuses on the grammar side of things, with a gamified interface to encourage students to practice their sentence-building. The game works like this; the user is given a range of words and a time-limit, and they are asked to unscramble the words to form them into a full, grammatically-sound sentence. The freemium option offers 5 different categories; beginner, competent, professional, expert, and proverbs, with 50 different sentences available for each level.

Download: iOS (Free) | Android (Free)

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Read with Phonics

Suitable for: Ages 4+

Teaches: Phonics, Reading

Needs parent supervision? ✘ (Once set-up)

A phonics-based app, Read with Phonics focuses on helping young users learn synthetic phonics in an engaging, child-friendly manner. Originally developed by a talented 1st grade teacher, Read with Phonics says that their app dramatically improves letter sound recognition. Not only that, the app’s stages progress just as they would in school, meaning students aren’t confused and feel a sense of familiarity with the material.

Read with Phonics provides a range of different activity-types to help its users practice “segmenting and blending, grapheme recognition, pseudo words, word comprehension and more.”

Download: iOS (Free) | Android (Free)

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ELSA Speak

Suitable for: Ages 6+

Teaches: Speaking, Pronunciation

Needs parent supervision?

This last one is really special. Designed to help you “pronounce like an American through real-world conversations”, ELSA Speak uses language-learning-based AI to help its users improve their pronunciation and lose their foreign accent in their second language. Although it has a range of activities, ELSA Speak’s activities mainly focus on the user saying a word, phrase, or sentence before being rated on the pronunciation of each word and given an overall rating. The words, phrases, and sentences are topic-based, with themes such as introductions, family, food and drink, etc. so users will benefit from more than just improved pronunciation.

Download: iOS (Free) | Android (Free)

Try out these apps and let us know below how you got on? Any suggestions or comments?