How to choose apps

Apps, and technology overall, are another tool for learning. Children get the most out of playing with apps if they are well chosen by you and if you play together.

All the apps in this guide have been checked using a quality framework, developed by the National Literacy Trust, together with our partners. We want you to be able to use this guidance to choose your own quality literacy apps. When looking at apps and thinking how they can support your child’s early literacy, we suggest that you think about the following questions:

Learning Area Milestones

UnderstandingListening and AttentionSpeakingReadingWriting

Does the app support at least one of the key communication, language and literacy developmental milestones? Use the Milestones wizard to select the relevant age and learning area to see the milestones that apply.

Please note that these milestones are for guidance only, all children develop at their own pace and may not meet all of these immediately. 

Engagement Features

Does the app have at least two of the following features?

Lots of fun The app is fun and makes children feel included and empowered, through the response of the screen, e.g. touches/tapping/swiping etc.
Play together The app allows the child to play with others either in person or virtually.
Interactive The app has goals, rules and gives clear feedback or encouragement when the child engages with it. These goals and rules can be adjusted to suit the child.
Loads to do The app gives children different activities, characters and stories to be involved with
Creative The app lets children use their imagination, make new stories or change what is happening.
Make it your own The app can be changed to relate to the child i.e. adding voices, pictures or by creating their own characters.

The engagement features are adapted from those identified through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership between BookTrust and the Open University (please see Kucirkova, Littleton and Cremin, 2016 for further information).

Open University Logo  Booktrust Logo

It is also useful to consider the following principles and questions when choosing apps for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (More & Travers, 2013).Choose a development area to see the suggested principles and questions: