Primary teachers (and in fact all teachers) are always on the look out for quality reading options for their students. This is true for digital format books as well as more traditional book forms. When my six and seven-year old students read independently on their iPads, I want to offer them good options as well. Fortunately, I have found three worthwhile options for my six and seven year olds.
Epic! is an app that has thousands of books for all age levels, but I can tell you first hand that it has hundreds of excellent books for primary teachers. If you register online as an educator before you sign into the app, your account is free and you are able to view all of their books.
There are several categories of books, including some excellent non-fiction books under topics such as sports and living things. There is even a large selection of “Read to Me” books that are read aloud in video format.
I knew that I wanted Epic! for my students as well, but could see no plan for classrooms on their website, so I emailed to ask about their policy. Suren Markosian replied for the company that teachers are free to log into multiple student iPads with their teacher account as long as the iPads belong to the school and they stay at the school.
My students and I tried out the app with twenty of us logged in at once to see if there would be any issues, but there were none, even when we all read the same book at the same time. (It was definitely my idea to try that. I wanted to see what would happen, but the students were much more interested in reading the books that interested them.)
This app has tremendous potential for classrooms and I highly recommend it.
Unite for Literacy
My next choice is not actually an app, but a website that I’ve mentioned on this blog before. Unite for Literacy features over one hundred beginning level books for emergent readers. Each page of each book gives the option of hearing the text on that page read aloud if students become stuck on a word.
I use the Add to Home Screen option on the iPad to create a direct link to Unite for Literacy on each student iPad. Then, I add that icon to the Read to Self folder. Another option for my budding readers.
I wrote a blog post a while ago explaining how I use the Kindle app with the multiple iPads in my classroom. The short version of that post is that I have several Amazon accounts—one account for each five iPads. I watch for good books to go free on One Hundred Free Books and then buy copies for each account. Not all books that go free are of good quality, so I generally read the books first on my own account to check their suitability.
Three great options to allow my primary students to have lots of choice for their digital reading.