About LiteracyApps

LiteracyApps has been created by the National Literacy Trust, with the support of partners and academic advisors.

About our work

One person in six in the UK lives with poor literacy. This holds them back at every stage of their life. As a child they won’t be able to succeed at school, as a young adult they will be locked out of the job market, and on becoming a parent they won’t be able to support their child’s learning.

Lacking these vital skills undermines their wellbeing and stops them making a full contribution to the economic and cultural life of our nation.

The National Literacy Trust is a national charity dedicated to raising literacy levels in the UK. 

We work to improve the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills in the UK’s most disadvantaged communities, where up to 40 per cent of people have literacy problems. Our research and analysis make us the leading authority on literacy and drive our interventions. Because literacy learning is intergenerational, we focus our work on families, young people and children.

  • We establish literacy projects in the poorest communities
  • We campaign to make literacy a priority for politicians and parents/caregivers
  • We support schools

Find out more in our impact report.


About this guide

This guide aims to help you get the most out of apps that support language and literacy development. If you choose to use apps with your child(ren) it is important to be aware that there is still no definitive research about the impact of using screens on developing brains.  Please use your own judgement to consider what is reasonable screen time and app use, and encourage children to have a balance of activities across their day. We recommend that you engage in the app activity with your child – we hope that this guide will help you choose apps that support you and your child(ren) spend time together.


Some of the apps recommended in this guide need to be paid for and some offer further in app purchases. Therefore we strongly advise that you monitor your child’s ability to make purchases on your device. The National Literacy Trust cannot be responsible for any costs you may incur when using the apps recommended in this guide.


Who has helped us?

This guide has been developed with the support of Dr Natalia Kucirkova, Senior Lecturer in Early Years and Childhood Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University. It has drawn on a number of research studies, including a Knowledge Transfer Partnership project between BookTrust and The Open University.

We have also benefitted from the advice of the Diversity in Apps team. Diversity in Apps is a grassroots coalition made up of researchers, producers, parents and teachers. Their mission is to raise awareness and engage in research about the need for inclusive, equitable, and diverse children’s media.

The creation of this guide was funded by Department for Education 2015/16 VCS grant funding and is available under Open Government Licence.

©Crown Copyright 2016