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The best reading apps for the classroom

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Reading on a tablet has taken off in the UK in a very big way. Whether it is reading the latest novel, practising phonics or learning a new language, there is an app that fits most aspects of school life. Many are free and those that require purchasing are generally priced below a pound.

This article considers the main reading apps, ways to encourage children to read, flash card phonics and using tablets for reading with children who have autism.

Reading with tablet


Amazon’s Kindle

Amazon’s Kindle, in all its different guises, is one of the most popular reading devices around. You just have to step on to any train and you’ll see one. It’s also a device that refuses to be pushed into the shade by tablets. There’s a good reason for that: the Kindle is affordable, it’s easy to use and the content that Amazon offers is often competitively priced against other online retailers, and almost always beats the print pricing.

However, you don’t have to buy the hardware to benefit from Amazon’s pricing on Kindle books as you can access them through any smartphone or tablet including any of Apple’s products.

Kindle for Android or Apple operating systems is different for tablets, so rather than just getting an enlarged version of the app on a bigger screen, it makes better use of space on a larger display. You get a four-column grid rather than two, and in reading there’s a more substantial top navigation bar and it doesn’t use overlays like the smartphone app.

There is a range of reading view options on offer too, so you can change the margins, spacing, font size and the screen colour, selecting from white, black and sepia. This enables you to get Kindle for Android to whatever your situation: white text on a black background is better for reading in the dark, for example. This can support readers with sight or colour issues. The downside is that you have to have an Amazon account and then ask your IT technician to kindly lock down any in-app purchases.

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