girl reading in a window

Reading for Year 1 — the best books, apps and sites

When one of our own parents said ‘Help! My child is in Year 1 and they find the reading so boring? What’s out there?’ our community rallied. Here are the sites, apps, and books to support reading for Year 1 kids—and make it fun!

Apps, sites and subscriptions that make reading fun for kids in Year 1

Banjo Robinson

Banjo Robinson combines reading, writing, and geography. This travelling cat sends your child letters from across the world, and encourages them to reply. Helpful for Year 1 children who need inspiration to both read and write more (they tend to go hand in hand… who knew!). Banjo Robinson isn’t free but starts from a monthly subscription of £1.83.

Teach your monster

No it’s not about Halloween… apparently, reading and monsters just go together! Usborne has created a collection of apps, some free, some £5. Go to their site to see what’s available on your device, and start with the free versions like ‘Teach Monster: Reading for Fun’.

Monster Phonics

More monsters in this app for schools. Monster Phonics uses colours and characters to help children get to grips with graphemes. The ‘Angry Red A’ monster is in charge of 8 graphemes (a, a-e, ay, ai, ei, eigh, ea, ey), and the Tricky Witch deals with those pesky sounds that don’t behave the same across words. See if you can talk your school into getting Monster Phonics for the class, or buy their simplified apps for £2.29 each.

Books and reading programmes to support reading for Year 1 pupils

Ladybird Early Readers

Do you love Roald Dahl? You’re not alone. If you want to introduce your child to these magical stories early on, Ladybird has a series of early reading books that are spot on. They do plenty of classics, and their site has filters can help you hunt for specific types of reading support.

Usborne Reading Programmes

Unsurprisingly, Usborne has a lot of great resources for early readers. They make it easy to search books by age and key stage (here are some books suitable for Year 1 readers), but they also do Dual Reading stories as part of their ‘My First Reading Library’. These are built for you to read with your child, taking turns, and keeping them engaged. And they offer ‘play and learn at home’ activities too.

Reading Champion

Reading Champion has a collection of fun and modern reading, specifically graded to match your child’s reading level. Starting from age 3 and running up to 7-year-olds in KS2, there’s something for everyone. You’ll just have to hunt around for the books a bit, and be willing to shop on Amazon for most.

Koru Kids specialise in after school nannies that can also help support your child’s development, whether that’s Year 1 reading, or reading with 1-year-olds!


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