The eReader for elementary school students is Epic!

Nov 10, 2014
Tech

I recently heard about Epic! – Books for Kids from a friend who was attending an educational technology conference. She said she “could only wish for an app such as Epic! for her students in middle school”. Thankfully, she was happy to share it with our elementary team.

I recently heard about Epic! – Books for Kids from a friend who was attending an educational technology conference. She said she “could only wish for an app such as Epic! for her students in middle school”. Thankfully, she was happy to share it with our elementary team.

I admit I was skeptical because I hear about new, AMAZING apps every day: You know, apps that are the most wonderful teaching tools EVER! The can be apps that teach math, apps that teach writing, apps that will do everything and magically teach your kid to speak Chinese.

Education apps are bountiful, but you have to know how to choose the right ones for your students. Many apps fall into the category of a flash card-type review or a game-like teaching tool. However, there are a few apps that truly make a kid’s educational experience rewarding and Epic! does just that.

Epic! Books for Kids is an e-Library of children’s books where kids aren’t just reading, they are able to keep track of their reading and earn badges, unlock avatars and themes as they read and get a truly remarkable reading experience. When the app is first opened, you feel like you are walking into a virtual library, gazing at the special sections of books pulled out on display as you stroll through the aisles of genres.

The library of books is extensive with several formats such as pictures books and chapter books and several genres like Fantasy, Sports, and Daily Life. Epic! also offers a list of books that are currently the most popular books on the app, as well as a list of recommendations just for you based on what you’ve recently read. Another library attribute is the scrolling banner at the top that shows different features like a highlighted category, new books, and the Book of the Week.

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So how is the Epic! reading experience different from other eBook apps like FarFaria or Read Me Stories?

Epic! has several popular titles and authors, and something that other eReader apps don’t have – nonfiction. (I can hear my fellow teachers shouting for joy at the notion of offering nonfiction as well as fiction titles.) The different ways to track kids’ reading is also different from other eReader apps. After a kid finishes a book, the app records how long it took them to read it, the book is saved in their personal list of books recently read, and it asks the reader to rate the book from 0 to 5 stars. Readers can also mark the book as a favorite.

As more and more books are read, the reader’s profile develops; unlocking more avatars and themes for which they can decorate their profile. Also in their profile is their personal reading log. Most teachers I know request that students read at least 20 minutes each night. With Epic! the app automatically records how long it takes the reader to finish a book. What a great way to keep track of kids’ reading! Last but not least, kids earn badges as they read. The more books they read, the more badges they earn. Badges include Weekend Warrior, a badge earned for reading on the weekend, and the Bicentennial Club, which, I am guessing, is a badge for reading 200 books. Awesome!

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Another great feature is that most books are available offline. You can save all your eBooks to your personal library and you don’t have to worry about finding free Wi-Fi somewhere. A six-hour car trip is nothing with Epic! books to read! And you’re not using your cellular data plan! Have more than one child? No problem! Epic! allows parents to set up multiple child profiles from the parent profile. You can also track your child’s progress through the parent profile. The log displays the titles of books read, whether or not the book was completed, how many pages were flipped, and how long it took to read the book. The log Epic! provides is a great way to make sure kids are truly reading and not just flipping pages.

Epic! Books for Kids is free for the first month, and then $4.99 each additional month. When considering the many eBooks available in the App Store, and how much each of those books cost, Epic! is certainly worth the price. Right now, Epic! is only available for iOS devices, but developers plan on making Epic! available for Android and other eReaders (see their website for more details).

Check out Epic!’s video trailer below:

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Leslie Morris

Leslie Morris is an Instructional Technology Specialist at an elementary school in South Carolina. She has been in education since 2001. She holds a master's degree in Technology in Education from Lesley University and a bachelor of arts degree in Elementary Education, Math and Science Concentration from Rowan University.As an ITS, she has implemented a successful iPad program, as well as other technology incentives. She trains teachers on all technology programs initiated by the district and co-teaches technology-based lessons in Kindergarten through 5th grade classrooms. She is her school's webmaster and assists with managing academic data. Leslie teaches a graduate class on integrating mobile devices in the K-12 classroom through the College of Charleston.

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