Have you tried the Epic! app yet?

epic!

I am not sure how I stumbled upon this phenomenal app called Epic!, but I am glad that I did.  Epic! is an app (available for iOS or Android) that gives you instant access to over 15,00 books. Good books.  Not the ones that your child doesn’t want to read. It is designed to be used in a classroom setting or at home with your own children.

Epic! is free for verified educators and $4.99/mo. for parents. Parents can even try it out free for 60 days by using the promo code: “EPICREADS” at  www.getepic.com/promo

Aside from INSTANT access to ebooks, audiobooks, articles, short educational videos and ‘read it to me’ books, my kids and I really like the the variety of content available.  Epic! also keeps track of what my kids are reading, how long they have read for, and the number of ‘pages flipped.’  I can even view and print their reading log by week, month or year.  My kids stay motivated, partly because they know I am checking their profiles, but also because they can earn badges.

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Screenshot of Epic! on my iPhone

Kai is ten and going into the fifth grade.  She likes that you can put in your age and multiple interests and it will help you find things that you are interested in. She says, “if nothing stands out you can just go to the ‘popular’ category and browse through what other people like.”

For educators, Epic! is completely free.  After setting up a teacher profile, you can add up to 36 student accounts to keep track of student progress. The website also offers .pdf flyers to send home to families to explain the app.  Students are able to read at school and then pick right up where they left off on a device at home.  It’s seamless! Like in a parent account, Epic! enables teachers to view and print reading logs.

As an educator, my favorite thing about Epic! is that it gives students that struggle with reading a positive way to interact with books – by listening to them.  Listening to books not only helps students build vocabulary and fluency but it also offers students opportunities to engage in reading material that may be above their reading level but is not above their interest level.

Watch this short informational video to find out about Epic! for yourself!

Get it here:
Epic! in iTunes Store
Epic! in Google Play Store.

 

My Summer Reading List

IMG_5756I hope you have all taken a look at my previous post about summer reading incentive programs. You can earn free goodies just by reading!

My goal this summer is to earn my 100 hours of reading shirt from Kitsap Regional Library. I don’t think I’ll have any trouble achieving that goal if I start making my way through my summer reading list.

Here it is (in no particular order):

  • Plastic Ahoy: Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by Patricia Newman
  • Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller (graphic novel) by Joseph Lambert
  • Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet by Buzz Aldrin
  • My Country ‘Tis of Thee: How One Song Reveals the History of Civil Rights by Claire Rudolf Murphy
  • Underworld: Exploring the Secret World Beneath Your Feet by Jane Price
  • Baba Yaga’s Assistant (graphic novel) by Marika McCoola
  • What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe
  • Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts by Susan Cain
  • Some of My Best Friends Are Books by Judith Wynn Halstead
  • Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo & Me (graphic memoir) by Ellen Forney
  • In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
  • Kid President’s Guide to Being Awesome by Brad Montague & Robby Novak
  • Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller
  • The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller
  • Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something That Matters by Laurie Ann Thompson
  • The Highly Sensitive Child by Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D.
  • tiny beautiful things: Advice on love and life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed
  • Lauren Ipsum: A Story About Computer Science and Other Improbable Things by Carlos Bueno
  • Once There Was a War by John Steinbeck
  • The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
  • The Maze Runner by James Dashner
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Schamander
  • The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
  • Geektastic: Stories from the Nerdherd edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci
  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenon
  • When to Rob a Bank…And 131 More Warped Suggestions and Well-Intended Rants by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner
  • Zombies vs. Unicorns by Holly Black & Justine Larbalestier
  • Bad Unicorn by Platte F. Clark
  • The Land of Stories: Queen Red Riding Hood’s Guide to Royalty by Chris Colfer
  • The Land of Stories: The Mother Goose Diaries by Chris Colfer
  • An Author’s Odyssey (Land of Stories Book 5) by Chris Colfer
  • Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls are Used in War by Jessica Dee Humphreys & Michel Chikwaine
  • Phoebe and Her Unicorn (graphic novel) by Dana Simpson
  • Unicorn vs. Goblins (graphic novel) by Dana Simpson
  • Unicorn on a Roll (graphic novel) by Dana Simpson
  • Who is AC? (graphic novel) by Hope Larson

 

 

The Christmas Truce of 1914

xmas truceLooking for a heartwarming Christmas story? Try this historical fiction picture book about Allied and German soldiers in the trenches of France during World War I taking time out from their fighting to join together in song – “Silent Night.”  A delightful book written from the point of view of a miserable British soldier’s letters home.  A lovely story to share to put our modern lives into perspective.  Text and gorgeous illustrations by John Hendrix.  Find it at the EPO library.

I loved this book so much  that I decided to share it with my intermediate classes before winter break.  I found some great videos to go with it if you want some more visuals to accompany the story.

For a background of World War I, “The Great War,” start with this clip from History.com: Bet You Didn’t Know: World War I

For a dramatic reenactment, I found that this Sainsbury’s (a UK grocery store chain) commercial tells a nice story and leaves out the gory bits: Sainsbury’s Official Christmas Advert 2014.  Sainsbury’s also has a “the story behind” video that helps to explain some of the finer points.