AppStore User Rating:
Epic!-Books for Kids is a subscription program that offers thousands of ebooks for children of all ages. Parents can set up to four profiles so that each child has access to a personalized library of age-appropriate favorites. There is a free one-month trial to see all the app has to offer, then future months are billed through iTunes at $9.99 per month. It’s like having an entire library at your fingertips, and will satisfy even the most voracious of readers.
- Thousands of titles available, with new ones added frequently
- Levels suitable for children 2-12
- Capable of creating personalized favorites lists
- Recommendations from publishing experts, teachers and parents
- Awards badges to earn for reading progress
Epic!-Books for Kids brings an entire library into your home, offering literally thousands of book choices for children. The app is very well-designed, with options to stream books to have instant access or download them for use off-line (a nice option for areas with slow connections or limited internet access). Parents can create separate profiles for up to four children, setting up preferences such as the reading level and genre. Children can rate and group books so they can easily find their favorites, or head to the library to find more fun.
This app has an astounding array of ebooks available at a touch of the screen. For the price of two or three children’s books each month, users can access thousands of great titles, many of which are already probably on your children’s list of favorite books. They have the same page layouts and illustrations as the printed counterparts. At the end of each book, readers are awarded with special badges showing time to read the book, number of pages completed, and so forth. The app also keeps young readers honest; if a reader simply pages through the book, no credit is given. Instead, they see a note that they need to go back and read a bit longer to earn the rewards for that book.
One drawback to the app that may be a downside to struggling readers is that each book has a suggested age level that is printed in an obvious location on the title page. Books are designated as being appropriate for 4 and under, ages 5-7, ages 8-10 and ages 11-12. It is quite difficult for many older struggling readers to feel comfortable reading a book that is recommended for children three or more years their junior, even in private. It might be better to categorize books a bit differently, using different, non-age related groupings or color coding the titles in some fashion to remove some of the stigma associated with low reading ability.
Epic! is a very entertaining app for anyone who loves books. The concept of having a huge library available within the app is genius, and many families and classrooms will benefit from such easy access to such an array of literature. There are even new titles added each week, so it would be virtually impossible to run out of things to read within this app.
Epic!-Books for Kids also has an extensive array of awards for various achievements. The app keeps records of how long each user has been reading and how many pages have been covered. There are also a lot of specialty awards, such as the “Night Owl,” earned for reading a book after 7 PM. Each user has a personalized reading log that keeps track of all the books read within the system, and can make lists of favorites and rate books after reading them.
This app is an excellent value at $9.99 per month, with a free one month trial period. The cost is less than purchasing two or three new books at the bookstore each month. It would be particularly valuable to families with up to four children or in classroom settings were many different children would have access to the app. Reading records are kept automatically for each profile, so adult mentors can keep track of how each child uses Epic!-Books for Kids.
This app contains no in-app purchases or outside advertising. Adult users set up a password protected account to manage profiles, change settings on the app, manage the subscription, rate the app, email developers, and connect with social media. The subscription is managed through iTunes as per Apple policy. One aspect that could perhaps be improved is that all of the child profiles are equally accessible by any user. This might take extra attention to manage if an older child and a much younger child were to use the app at the same time. It would be nice to have an optional password protection, managed by the adult, on child profiles.