How I Use It
I teach in a classroom where every student has moderate to severe Autism; each student requires a highly modified curriculum and adult support for academic and functional learning. This app has opened the door for multiple presentations of books for my students and they are loving it! Epic is a reading app where the teacher makes choices for books based on the student's age (or appropriate age level of reading) and what there interest areas are (i.e. sports, dance, science, nature, etc). Once the educator puts in the preferences, Epic generates a book list where students can tap on the cover and then read the book. If the book has a text to speech feature, it will say "Read to Me"; the student can then listen to the book being read by real people (not a computerized, synthesized voice). At the end of the book, it will tell how long it took the child to read the story, and if they need to spend more time reading -or if they were just flipping pages. If a student is looking for a book on a specific theme, they can type in a keyword into the search box to get a selection of books with that word included.
With my students I use Epic in whole group activities and as individualized center. In whole group I will connect the iPad to the projector and we will read a book together; I have set up a guest account solely for this purpose. I will read the story to them, and model strategic reading skills like how I follow with my finger or how to sound a word out. As an individualized center I allow students to choose their own book and read at their own pace.
I appreciate the way I can look at individual student data through the student profile page. I can see how many pages they have flipped, how long they have read, and what Epic level they have achieved. It will even break down the information by month so I can see on which day they read and which titles they were reading. If I want a hard copy, I can opt to print this information out and send it home so parents can see their reading habits.
I also like the selection of books that students are offered; it ranges from books for just entertainment to books that are informative on engaging topics. Students can choose what interests them, and they won't have any reason to complain that there is nothing to read!