Kids can learn new skills and sharpen the old with these free online reading courses.
Shelyna Long/E+/Getty Images
Strengthen Your Child's Skills With These 16 Free Online Reading Courses

Originally Published: 

I am all the way here for screen time that is not only interactive and entertaining, but will also help teach my kids something useful. Basically any kind of free online reading course with a mix of games, educational lesson plans, and read-aloud stories fits the bill. I mean, who says you can't keep your kids engaged (and out of your hair) while learning a crucial skill set?

Although both of my kids love reading now, that wasn't always the case. When my oldest first started school, he had zero interest in learning how to read. He knew his letters, but putting sounds together was a struggle. As an avid reader, I was severely disheartened by his reluctance to try and learn how, so I scrambled to help make the activity as fun for him as possible. Truly, without the help of free online reading programs and resources, I'm not sure he would be the little bookworm he is today at nearly 8 years old.

If your kid already has a tablet glued to their hands, why not take the opportunity to make it educational? These 16 free online reading courses are perfect to help your child excel when it comes to phonetic awareness and reading comprehension. Plus, they're fun, and if they happen to develop a passion for reading along the way, they'll be set up for a lifetime of success.



This free educational website focuses on reading and writing skills for kids in kindergarten through 12th grade. ReadWriteThink doesn't use ads on their site, and there is no need to create an account to get started. Videos introduce various age-appropriate concepts to help kids and allow them to play a game to enhance each skill set.



For students in preschool through 6th grade, ABCya! offers an array of games focused on reading comprehension, fluency, vocabulary, and early literacy. Lessons are linked to Common Core standards so it's easy for parents to see where their child is at and what they need to focus on to get where they need to be. All games are free to play, but the site does feature ads.


Khan Academy Kids

Khan Academy Kids is a free educational resource best known for their math initiatives, but has a comprehensive reading program to help kids enhance their reading skills. Their lessons are aligned with the Head Start and Common Core curriculums, so it's set up how your child is likely used to learning in school.



A read-along library, games, and interactive lessons help create the perfect online learning environment for kids from preschool through 3rd grade on Starfall. Kids will focus on common sight words, phonetic awareness, word recognition, and fluency throughout the available videos and lessons. Although the entirety of the website is not free, many resources are free to access and those that are only available through a $35 per year subscription will be grayed out.


Story Place

FluxFactory/E+/Getty Images

With 15 different story themes that focus on fun topics like pets, firefighters, and music, kids from preschool through kindergarten can enjoy all that Story Place has to offer. They'll learn about literacy through stories read aloud, as well as interactive lessons that can be done either online or offline with parents. The entire site is available courtesy of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library system in North Carolina, and is available in both English and Spanish.


Storyline Online

If your kids love hearing celebs read books to them during Operation Storytime, then they'll be absolutely enthralled with Storyline Online. On this site, famous actors like Kristen Bell and Chris Pine read books aloud for kids and then at the conclusion of the book, parents are provided with a supplemental curriculum created by an educator to follow up the story with.


PBS Reading Games

PBS has several incredible online reading resources available for kids. PBS Reading Games features more than 70 reading-themed games with characters from PBS shows that help kids through 3rd grade develop strong reading habits. Between The Lions boasts short videos (less than 6 minutes long) that help encourage literacy and provide phonics and comprehension lessons for kids from preschool to 1st grade. Although WordWorld is a PBS television show aimed at preschoolers, their website also offers printable activities and interactive books to support early reading skills.



Storynory, a reading website from the United Kingdom, boasts mostly stories read aloud, but can help support emerging readers and readers developing their skills through the sixth grade. With more than 600 stories to choose from, kids will be sure to find something interesting and entertaining to engage with on this site.


Oxford Owl

The Oxford University Press's Oxford Owl online reading program features more than 100 e-books that have guidance for parents and educators at both the beginning and the conclusion of each story. With these guided lessons, parents can help their kids get the most out of every reading session to increase comprehension skills, develop phonetic awareness, and build their vocabulary.


Fact Monster

Fact Monster uses interactive activities and games with facts about books to help promote literacy for kids in kindergarten through 12th grade. Additionally, the site features plenty of resources to help kids with spelling and grammar to develop fundamental skills that support their ability to read and comprehend text.


Free Reading Program

skynesher/E+/Getty Images

The online reading course at Free Reading Program is exactly what it sounds like — a free reading program. The site features literacy activities for students in the United States and Canada, including a curriculum with sight word lists, vocabulary support, grammar and sentence structure lessons, and more for kids through 6th grade.


Into The Book

Into The Book is the type of online reading course that you can sit your kids in front of and just let them self-guide their way through lesson after lesson. With comprehensive coverage of reading strategies, as well as resources for parents and educators, the tools to help kids learn to love reading are just a few clicks away.


Reading Bear

With Reading Bear, beginning readers from preschool through 1st grade can develop phonetic awareness in a simple and fun online format that is completely free to use. With more than 50 presentations on their site that demonstrate more than 1,200 vocabulary items, there is more than enough content to keep your child actively learning for as long as they wish to.


Read Theory

The Read Theory website features activities that adjust based on your child's individual skill level to help improve their reading comprehension regardless of their prior knowledge. It's suited for kids of all ages from kindergarten through high school, as well as students who speak English as a second language. Although you must create and log in with an account to use the site, access to their lessons once you do so is completely free.


Read Works

For kids from kindergarten through 12th grade, Read Works offers a selection of digital classes, printable lessons, and projectable images that parents and teachers can use to supplement your child's learning. A free account is required to access lessons, but each reading activity can be tailored to suit your child's specific needs and align with other subjects they might be covering in school.


Roy The Zebra

Roy The Zebra offers interactive videos and reading games for emerging readers. Their content is best suited for students in preschool through 1st grade to support the foundations and building blocks of reading comprehension, phonics, and word recognition.

This article was originally published on