The following is a guest post from colleague Sharon Snyder, a kindergarten teacher and avid iPad user. She has very recently discovered this great reading app for younger kids.
Epic (iTunes link) was created because the developers noticed that when kids used iPads, they were often playing games or viewing videos. They wanted to make it easy for kids to access tons of great books without needing to ask their parents for permission and for money each time a new book is desired. After all, adults often use tablets for reading, why shouldn't kids have the same accessibility when wanting to read?
Epic streams thousands of books for kids to explore. Included are easy-readers for early readers. There are non-fiction books too. My son is toddler-aged, and enjoys reading books with simple text, rhyme and repetition.
As kids finish reading more books, there are badges that can be earned and levels to advance. This isn't my favourite aspect of the app, but for those who need a bit of extrinsic motivation, the badges and levels may get them to read one or two more books each time.
An internet connection is required for kids to access new books. Though if you're planning to use the app while on the run, there is an option to download a book to read offline. This will take up space on your device.
As an early childhood educator, this app is just right for those kids who are learning to read. There are many books available, that are visually enticing with developmentally appropriate text. The accessibility cannot be beat as kids can independently select books. I haven't yet investigated books for older kids, but I have seen that the book of the week is a comic book about Sherlock Holmes.
The price: free trial for month (upon sign up) and $4.99 per month thereafter. $4.99 can get you approximately one book through the Scholastic book clubs that classroom teachers use, so as a parent, this price point is appealing. If you are an educator, the developers offer this app for free (forever)!! You just have to sign up as an educator through this page on their site.