A mom of three finds a new innovative learning app to turn reading time into a brand new adventure every day.
My children and I love reading! We read on our own and also out loud together as a family. Trips to the library and the bookstore are enjoyable outings for us. However, as a busy mom of three, gathering up the energy, and finding the time can limit these outings, as much as we would love to make frequent and long visits there. Take last week as an example. My daughters were learning about different holidays for school. They already had a few books on the topic but found they needed more information. I was going to suggest that we take a trip to the library and search for additional books. When looking at the clock, we realized the library would be closing soon, so we realistically would not be able to make it in time, between getting ready, and searching for what we needed. However, in actuality, the access to books does not stop there. We learned about Epic!, an online library at our fingertips. Available on the Web and on mobile devices, it carries over 15,000 books, geared for ages 12 years and younger. We were able to set up and use Epic! immediately on our mobile device, and look up numerous books about different holidays around the world. Thus, we did not have to worry anymore about the library hours of operation, and my kids continued on with their school project.
Signing up for Epic! was very easy and done within minutes. We initially set up profiles for my kids and were able to customize their preferences. The beauty of Epic! is the ability to personalize the profiles according to the age levels, and interests of the readers. With thousands of books available, it helps to narrow down what is specific to that child, to cut back on browsing time. We did not need to sift through books that were not age-appropriate, or that would not appeal to the readers. The layout and listing of the books are very organized. It displays recent additions, popular books in the particular category of interest, and recommended stories based on what was read. To narrow it down even further, there is a browse button available to filter the listing. Or if there is a particular topic, author, or title that a person has in mind, the search button can be utilized. The offline section and favorites library are also available for the kids to save books they absolutely love and want to be able to read again or when Wi-Fi is not available.
As a library at our fingertips, Epic! books can be read anywhere we would like. Whether reading from the bedroom, a cozy corner of the living room couch, outside in the fresh air, in a classroom, or while waiting at the doctor’s office, Epic! always provides the same access to thousands of books. My kids will read anywhere in the house. It also comes in handy when we are on the go. While we have Internet access, the kids will save books they want to be able to read offline in that section of the app. Later, we pack the iPad with us in the car, our children can read during break times when we are out and about. For example, our younger daughter can read those offline books while waiting for her older sister at a troop meeting. It is portable, so we do not have to lug around a backpack of books. We have thousands of books with us while we are out, and we are only physically carrying about a 1.6 pound iPad. We can even pack lighter and just have our mobile phone.
Epic! is friendly for many types of users and can be implemented in different ways. Ideal users include families at home or on the go, a homeschool family or co-op group, or in a classroom setting. It can be used at any time of the day for school lessons, reading for pleasure, or relaxing with a bedtime story. Epic! is perfect for independent silent reading, reading aloud to each other, and also purely for listening, using the audiobooks. My children are six, four, and one. Most of the time I read aloud to them. My six year old will read on her own at times. My four-year-old pre-reader loves stories as well and still can use Epic! by asking her older sister to read to her, or by listening to the audiobooks available on the app. Therefore, it can be used successfully and enjoyed regardless of reading skill. As a classroom teacher in the past and current homeschooler, I implement and envision others using Epic! as whole-group read-alouds for the class, partner reading, small group reading projects, and also as a listening center in the corner of the classroom. It does not have to just stop at the reading. It can be taken steps further by extending the learning with journaling, book projects, acting out the stories, or making an art project based on the books. There were several books that we came across in the app that even included pages listing suggested activities to do to supplement the story. It is a very engaging website and app for parents, educators, and children alike.
Education and the hunger for knowledge make having Epic! extremely valuable. It strengthens reading and listening skills, creativity, and imagination. It peaks children’s curiosity. My children found a particular character they thoroughly enjoyed reading about, ended up searching for even more books on that same topic, and saved quite a few stories on to their favorites on the app. To see them wanting more and to be able to obtain as many books as they would like on that particular topic, or by the same author is an amazing way to feed their love of reading and learning. We were able to search within minutes and saved us time from looking in the library catalog and bookshelves. We still love the library and will continue to visit, but Epic! is just another wonderful addition to our source of books without adding to the physical space on our bookshelves.
The look of excitement on my children’s faces brings me joy when I see them read, whether a physical book or on Epic! The clear layout and kid-friendly template make Epic! very easy for kids (and adults) to navigate through. As a parent, and as a teacher, not needing to read instructions for using something is a major time-saving bonus. Epic! does not require a lot of technical knowledge either. My four year old sometimes takes over, and I see her comfortably do so. In addition to being user-friendly, it also adds fun motivating elements of rewarding readers with badges and certificates as they complete certain milestones.
Because this is accessible on the Web and as an app, there may be concern regarding the kids finding inappropriate material, or the possibility to make unauthorized purchases through in-app advertisements. However, with Epic! there are no annoying or distracting ads or in-app purchases. Just the stories, for pure uninterrupted learning and enjoyment.
As a parent and educator, I love Epic! and highly recommend others to utilize this powerful learning tool. It saves families, teachers, and children time, energy, and space so that they can focus more on reading and acquiring knowledge. Epic! truly is a wonderful library at your fingertips.
About the Blogger
Michele is a wife, mommy of 3, and educator. When she’s not homeschooling and chasing a baby around the house, she likes to bake, read, and blog. You can find her blogging adventures at Work From Home Mommy of 3.