Many of us already use Epic! with our students, but we went behind the scenes to see if there were any new or interesting parts of the site that aren’t commonly known amongst educators.
If you’ve used it, you probably already know all the most exciting aspects, like the fact that there are thousands of books available to teachers and librarians for absolutely nothing. In addition, during remote learning in our nation, it’s free for families to access as well, making it easier to share the gift of reading with your students.
But there’s so much more available - learning, videos, quizzes, trophies and awards, individualized reading lists, and lots of ways for teachers and students to interact as students grow their reading skills. Teachers use it for read-alouds, research, daily personal reading, guided reading, and more. Here are a few of the more popular perks.
Content Collections and Assignments
You can easily look through the assorted titles and content collections in order to find whatever best suits the standards you are currently working on. You can then assign titles to your students, have them read the book or watch the video, and then take the quiz to check their understanding of the content.
Although you get a score for their quiz, you won’t get to see exactly what they’ve missed, so just a heads up on that. There is a new feature - a quiz tab where you can access all your quiz scores! Teachers are really enjoying that new feature. It makes record keeping and grading a bit easier (always a huge advantage).
As students read, they gain levels and get awards, which is so much fun! There’s also a cool Classroom Reading Challenge that many teachers love using to help you monitor and illustrate growth. You can award your class in various ways as they accomplish goals on the adorable and printable “Readapillar”, and kids absolutely love working to the next fun activity or achievement.
All of this helps make reading feel more like a game, filled with benefits.
There’s even a class summary page with daily reading times and quiz results so kids can keep track of where they are, how much they’ve read as a class, and how well they are doing on quizzes. To find it, click on “My Students”, then you can see Daily Reading and Quizzes.
In addition, it’s really useful for every level of student ability since many of the texts have the “read-to-me” feature. Students who struggle can plug in some earphones and listen as they read. They can read a text as many times as they please (or as many times as you’d like them to) in order to gain fluency.
There are also audiobooks that can help them hone their listening comprehension skills. There are lots of ways to use Epic!.
These fun printable and online calendars are perfect for giving every day something special to enjoy, which is something we all need right now. There are ideas about things to do, information to look up, and even things to bake! The calendars can not only help build literacy skills, but also reinforce math skills in time, patterning, and estimation, to name a few.
It may also be really helpful for parents struggling to keep their children busy at home, so be sure to share those with your families.
Richard Allington and Rachel Gabriel stated in their 2012 article in Educational Leadership, “Every Child, Every Day” that the most effective element in reading instruction is that “every child reads something he or she chooses.”
Kids love to be in control of things that they read and do. It’s vital to give them the opportunity to learn what they enjoy reading about. It is in fact one of the most vital elements in making them life-long learners.
It’s important to listen to your students and help them strategically search for books that are the right fit for them.
You can easily find books that are appropriately leveled for guided reading groups and use these by sharing your screen and allowing students to each work on reading parts of the story. One way to do this is to have everyone read, but only unmute one student’s mic at a time.
You can focus on specific skills, praise students for their reading fluency and comprehension, or offer pointers just as you would in a face-to-face class.
You cannot record students using Epic! materials, but video chatting and sharing while reading is okay.
Epic! has a few ways to offer support for teachers. Through their website, they have a blog. Their Facebook group is active and you can get a lot of great advice there. The folks from Epic! are very actively involved in the group, so many times you can get a direct answer from them through this medium. They are also active on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.