Epic! Tool for Reading and Literacy

Epic is an online library for children 12 years old and younger. It is free for use by teachers, and cost $4.99 per month for home use.

Tools available

Search – Search and filter by age, lexile level, AR level, or fiction/nonfiction book type, or select a common search word

Browse – Look through the books recommended for the child, based on available categories and your preferences.

My Library – Access books and videos that the user has made a Favorite.

Mailbox – Access collections of books that a parent/teacher has created and sent

Profile (avatar) – See books read, the number of hours read for, and the videos watched

Hamburger (three lines) – Access profile or reading log, or sign out

Great features:

  • wide selection of books
  • works on Android, iOS and web
  • no ads
  • no in app purchases
  • 30 days free trial
  • up to 4  profiles allowed per household account
  • differentiation is possible with individual student preferences

Area for improvement

  • Let students log in using a pin such as a picture or symbol


Next Steps

Sign up for an account at Epic for Educators, or if you would like to try Epic first, check out my class.

If you are a teacher interested in using Epic in your classroom, here are some suggestions of ways to do so.

This post was originally made on http://blogs.isp.cz/esit/2017/03/15/epic-tool-for-reading-and-literacy/

Literacy Activities using Skype in the Classroom

There are several projects whereby you can use Skype for enriching learning in your classroom. One initiative is to encourage teachers to use Skype for building literacy.

Skype is currently highlighting a number of activities that you can do to reading, writing and digital literacy, as well as responsible Internet use:

Why use Skype in the classroom?

Skype helps you flatten the walls of your classroom, exposing children to the richness of the broader world. We can also use Skype to add context to learning, and to make it authentic for children. Skype can provide the opportunity to engage children’s inquiry, creativity and wonder by meeting other people around the world, learning from them, and sharing creations with them. The highlighted activity this month is the Big Questions Challenge.

The Big Questions Challenge uses a video to pose an open question for students to think about, research, and respond to. According to Skype, the goal of the challenge is “to develop digital literacy skills, and to encourage critical thinking and collaborative learning”. The challenges uses the following skills:

  • collaboration (students work in groups to answer the question)
  • critical thinking (students have to come up with solutions, where there are multiple options)
  • presentation (students can present the “answer” to others face-to-face or online, e.g. through a blog)
  • research (students may do research to find out about the topic)

The challenge uses an inquiry stance, whereby students self-organize to answer the question.

For this and other lessons, please visit Skype Education.

Literacy Apps from Read Write Think

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 17.46.59Read Write Think, a website from NCTE and the International Reading Association has 9 Mobile Apps that may be useful to you for teaching. These apps are meant to engage students in literacy learning. Apps include those for writing poetry, for trading cards, for timelines, and for Venn diagrams.

While these apps mostly lend themselves to substitution, the scaffolding provided in the apps and the ease of moving items around may move the usage to augmentation. What you do with the final product or how you frame the activity may move the use to modification or redefinition. These apps may be useful for App Smashing (combining products from one or more apps into another app).

The Complete List of 9 Apps: