Epic! is a digital library and e-reader for books and videos for children, more of which are added weekly.
This is designed specifically for teachers with the ability to assign books to individual students or class groups. With integration for the likes of Google Classroom, this is a very easy-to-use platform.
Crucially, Epic! also allows teachers and parents to track the progress of children with their book reading. Many popular authors and books are available, all in digital format, with built-in dictionary to help students learn as they read.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about Epic! for teachers, parents and students.
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What is Epic!?
Epic! (opens in new tab) is a digital library, but it's also an online reader for accessing all that content. New books and videos are added weekly, with more than 40,000 currently available.
The site allows teachers to track student progress, plus provides recommendations for developmentally appropriate stories and novels for each student as their reading skills improve.
Students can read using the platform as it works like an e-reader, allowing them to take in books using a tablet, laptop, or smartphone – anything that runs a browser, essentially. The app version is specifically designed for use on tablets and smartphones, both iOS and Android.
Since Epic! is a child-specific platform, it's very safe and secure with content that is targeted and age specific. The books are a mix of Epic! original content and digital versions of already-published works.
How does Epic! work?
Epic! works like a digital library. Students can get access to the books they want and read when they like. They can also have their own accounts in which they build up a reading list and rate titles. This leads to personalization of content to help them discover new books and progress though their learning journey.
Parents can open an account for their child to get them reading but educators have access to specific tools that make assigning and tracking work easier.
Once a teacher account is started, it's possible to create accounts for each student. The ability to load in a roster makes this quicker and easier than doing it all manually. Teachers can assign reading based on ability, age, category, and more.
The dashboard allows teachers to check on the progress of each student
What are the best Epic! features?
Epic! uses reading levels and age markers as ways to help find titles for students to read. This not only helps in the setting of work, by teachers, but also in the tracking of student progress through the varying levels.
Since this is a digital platform, access to the content is simple both on individual devices, in class and remotely, as well as on a smartscreen. By putting the book on a big screen, the class can read along together.
The quiz feature uses multiple choice questions to help students further integrate what they've read. This also acts as a useful assessment tool for teachers, though currently, the number of quizzes is fairly low. Perhaps a dedicated quiz creation tool such as SurveyMonkey can help here.
You can download and print monthly calendars with activity for both in the class and at home. A customizable reading challenge is available for offering badges and digital prizes to help encourage student reading.
There are read-to-me books, ideal for younger children so they can follow along with the written words as they hear the story being read.
How much does Epic! cost?
Epic! is free to download and start trying with lots of books available, but for the full Epic! service you'll need to pay. Three tiers are available: Free, School and Unlimited.
On Epic! Free, students get two free hours of reading per week, outside of school hours, and this doesn't even require a credit card to start using.
Epic School is also free but offers students reading in class time. In this case, the teacher uses the dashboard for tracking reading, as opposed to the parent in the Free variant. This version also includes learning videos and audiobooks.
For the Epic! Unlimited service, the price is $9.99 per month. Alternatively, you can pay annually and save 40 percent at $71.99, which works out at $5.99 per month. This gets you all the above plus unlimited reading time, progress tracking, and interactive tools such as Reading Buddy.
Currently, there is a deal where you can get the first three months for the price of one at $9.99.
You can also gift Epic! to someone with three months at $22, six month at $42, or 12 months for $72.
Epic! best tips and tricks
Use Epic! to carry out mini research projects in the class. Have students pick a non-fiction title and then report back on what they've learned. Since many books can be listened to, this even works for younger students.
Work on Fluency
Use the read-to-me books with headphones to have students in the class work on their fluency and pronunciation. This allows them to work independently too.
For those more reluctant readers, there are comics available that could work as a gateway into more words-based reading material as they progress.