Epic! Review: The Best Digital Library For Kids?

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Getting your child to sit down and read might be challenging. After all, life is full of distractions. The allure of playing with toys or running around the backyard might always win over reading. Electronic devices like TV and tablets can seem like a more engaging option than picking up a paperback. Your active kid wants to move, and reading simply doesn’t allow for that. 

Epic is a digital solution for kids who might not always want to sit down with a book and read. This digital library is a high-tech option for reluctant readers, offering an engaging way for kids to read. If your on-the-go kids are like mine and aren’t always in the mood to read, Epic just might be the reading alternative you need to build their interest in reading.

Check out this Epic! review to find out if it’s a good fit for your family.

What to Consider When Evaluating Epic

Epic’s digital library expands reading possibilities for your child. Whether you have an avid reader with an insatiable desire to read that you simply can’t keep up with or a reluctant kiddo who’d rather do anything but read, Epic can help solve your problem. The digital library offers new and engaging titles for kids of all ages, which means that avid readers can find books they haven’t read and reluctant readers can find titles that will engage them. Epic expands your child’s reading access, which benefits the entire family.

Families with kids of all ages and reading abilities can use this digital library. Not convinced? Twenty million kids in the U.S. use Epic, showing its reach nationally. While many students use it in the classroom, this digital library is just as effective for home use. Plus, if your kid uses it at school, they can bring their books home––virtually, of course. No heavy backpacks required!

As a result, the ideal Epic customer encompasses a broad range of families––probably yours, too. They fall into a number of categories, so let’s explore Epic customers to determine which category you fall in.

Kids Who Are Bored With Reading

Even the most avid readers can get bored sometimes. My oldest child, for example, has always loved to read. She’s one of those kids who will read a book from cover to cover in a day if she truly enjoys it. Recently, though, she fell into a rut because she couldn’t find a book series that she loved. She felt like she had read everything––even though we knew she hadn’t. We needed some fresh titles that would restart her interest in reading. With some research and digital library options, we were able to find some books on her reading level that truly interested her. She was back to reading just like that.

Epic can help reengage kids who are bored with reading. A vast virtual library offers more than what your public library might, including Epic originals that kids can’t read anywhere else. Reading digitally offers a fresh way to read, too, which might interest kids who don’t want to sit down with a hard copy of a book and might prefer a tablet in their lap.

Kids Who Are Reluctant to Read

Epic is perfect for reluctant readers. Why? Because often, it doesn’t really feel like you’re reading in the traditional way. Since kids are on a tablet, they can work their way through the site by swiping and tapping, making it a more engaging way to read. They can scroll through digital libraries to discover books that interest them. Even early readers can navigate the site independently, which can motivate them and encourage them to select books and read them or listen to them unassisted.

Kids Who Love to Read

Obviously, a vast digital library is great for kids who love to read. Epic isn’t just designed for kids who struggle with reading. Tens of thousands of titles, some exclusive to the site, mean that avid readers have an expansive library at their fingertips––no trip to the public library required. If you find that your child is reading through books faster than you can buy or borrow them, Epic can solve your book shortage issues. Your child will have access to thousands of titles at their reading level, which means they’ll always have something to read, no matter how quickly they do so.

Who Epic Isn’t For 

A digital library isn’t for everyone, and some families might not find Epic to be the right fit for them. If your child prefers reading in the traditional manner, with a book in hand, then a digital library just can’t provide that same experience. Likewise, kids who struggle with technology or who aren’t interested or capable in using a tablet or computer are going to struggle with Epic. Keep in mind, however, that introducing them to a digital library might help them overcome their technology struggles and improve their skills. Finally, if your child requires a lot of hands-on help with a computer or tablet, then you might not find Epic to be a good fit––unless you’re willing to sit beside them and help them navigate the site and find books.

Key Considerations

So, as you begin to assess Epic for your family based on this Epic! review, consider a few key factors to determine whether it’s a good fit for your child’s reading needs:

  • Technological skills – Consider how well your child can work with a tablet or computer to visit the website, find books, and read. You probably don’t want to navigate the site for them every time, so some technological independence is important.
  • Reading ability – Epic offers books for a variety of reading levels, but it targets elementary schoolers. So, if you have a kid in kindergarten to 5th grade, they will have no trouble finding tons of level-appropriate books. Older and younger children, however, will benefit from other digital learning libraries instead.
  • Monthly cost – Epic comes with a monthly fee to use it unless you have an account paid for by your school. Even though this fee is reasonable, you want to make sure your kids truly enjoy the site before paying for it. So, take advantage of the 30-day free trial to explore and learn more.

Everything You Need to Know About Epic 

Now, let’s jump into everything you need to know about Epic to determine if it’s a good fit for your family. As mentioned, it’s a digital library offering more than 40,000 books for kids in kindergarten through 5th grade. It’s a market leader in digital libraries and is comparable to Reading IQ, although it offers more bells and whistles than other competitor sites.

Epic reports that 94% of U.S. schools use the program, which makes it even more accessible to your kid––if their school happens to use it, too. If they do, your child can use their school account at home for seamless reading all week. They can even interact with their teachers through Epic if they’re using it in the classroom. And if they’re not? You can help them find books, build collections, read and rate books, and even play games. Elementary schoolers will have no trouble navigating the site once they get used to it.

Epic is designed for elementary schoolers and offers a wealth of books at all reading levels for kids from kindergarten to 5th grade. It doesn’t offer much beyond the 5th grade reading level, though, so once your child hits middle school––or simply a middle school reading level, they will be too advanced for this site.

If your child does not already have a school account, Epic charges a flat monthly fee. This fee gives you complete access to the digital library, games, and all the tools that go along with it. You don’t have to sign a contract and can pay by the month, so you can cancel at any time.

mother with boy and tablet

The best way to decide whether Epic––or any other online academic resource, for that matter––is right for your family is by exploring its features and benefits to determine if it’s a good fit for your child’s academic needs. 

So, let’s take a look at these Epic! reviews of top features and benefits to determine how they can help your child.

Vast Virtual Library

Obviously, the biggest selling point for Epic is that it offers a vast virtual library for elementary reading levels. The site boasts more than 40,000 books available with just the click of a button. With so many available titles, your kid is sure to find books that engage and interest them. You’ll discover thousands of books at every reading level for ages 12 and under.

A variety of books are available, which means your child won’t ever get bored. Read-to-Me books are a great way to introduce early reading skills to pre-readers approaching or in kindergarten. Illustrated books are available for every reading level, offering engaging illustrations to accompany the text. Older children will enjoy reading chapter books as their reading skills develop. Books are age appropriate, with both fiction and nonfiction options available.

Easy Searching

Epic gives kids the opportunity to easily find books that suit their interest and reading level. Navigating a 40,000-book library might seem intimidating and challenging, but it’s not thanks to several search filters that help narrow book options. 

You can filter books by reading level, fiction or nonfiction, and language. You can even select books that have an end-of-book quiz to assess reading comprehension. Then, you can sort the results by grade level, relevance, or title to help your child find interesting books.

Tabs at the top of the website allow you to further focus your search results. You can search books, audiobooks, and Read-to-Me books separately so that you can ensure your child finds the type of book they’re looking for.

Book Collections

Epic also makes it easy for you to build book collections that engage your child’s specific interest. Say your youngster is especially passionate about a particular topic like dinosaurs. Or, your older child loves books by a particular author. Together, you can work to build book collections that suit your child’s interest.

This feature is as simple as choosing to create a collection and then browsing the library to add relevant books to that collection. Then, when your child logs on, they’ll see the collection you created together and be able to select books from a personally curated collection just for them.

Compatibility With Common Reading Programs

Since your child will be using Epic in conjunction with classroom learning, a seamless transition from one reading tool to another is important. Epic is compatible with popular academic reading programs. When you filter by reading level, you can target your child’s reading level as defined by their teacher. Some schools use the Accelerated Reader program, while others will assign your child Lexile reading levels. Epic is compatible with both programs, along with others, so that you can filter by reading level as defined by your program. As a result, you can ensure that your child is reading level-appropriate books at home.

Multiple Child Profiles

Epic allows you to create up to four child profiles under each account––all for the same monthly price. As a result, each child can have a customized virtual library that suits their reading level. Kids won’t have to share a profile or navigate through each other’s collections. Instead, every child in your family will be able to have their very own virtual library.

Videos

Epic’s virtual library includes videos that can supplement your child’s reading. Click on the video tab to find educational videos for kids to enjoy. These carefully selected videos come from kid-friendly educational resources like Encyclopedia Britannica, the Smithsonian, Blue Wonders, and Animal Wonders. Kids can learn about different cultures, build their cooking skills, learn about science, and more. If you’re tired of your youngster begging to watch YouTube, Epic videos are an educational alternative that are kid safe.

Compatibility With the Classroom

If your child’s teacher uses Epic in the classroom, you’ll definitely want to use it at home too––for a few reasons. First, your child will already know how to use it, so there won’t be any learning curve when it comes to navigating the site. Second, your child and teacher can engage on Epic even when they’re away from the classroom. The teacher might develop level-appropriate collections for your child or send home reading homework assignments using Epic. Third, your child will enjoy a seamless reading experience from school to home if you’re using the same reading site at home and school.

  • 40,000-book virtual library
  • Pairs well with in-classroom instruction
  • Up to four child profiles per account
  • Reasonable monthly cost
  • Epic original books that you can’t read anywhere else
  • Reading levels only go up to age 12 / 5th grade
  • Videos may distract some kids
  • Difficult to restrict content between age groups
  • Some users cite trouble canceling their subscription
  • Kids might need some parental supervision to get started

Alternatives to Epic 

Epic is one of several digital library options for kids, so you want to make sure it’s the right fit. Check out these Epic alternatives to ensure you’re choosing the right option for your kid.

ReadingIQ is the closest competitor to Epic in that it offers a similar format. Both sites feature vast virtual libraries for kids, although Epic offers more books. ReadingIQ doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles of Epic––most notably, videos. Some kids will use the videos to supplement their reading, while others might see them as a distraction, so consider if this feature will be beneficial to your child. 

ReadingIQ:

  • Thousands of books with more added regularly
  • Read to Me option for lower level books
  • Fewer interactive features

Epic:

  • Larger library with 40,000 books
  • Epic original books exclusive to the site
  • Audiobook and video options

If a more basic virtual library is your preference, opt for ReadingIQ. Epic supplements books with educational videos and a broader library with original titles.

If you’re interested, here is our comprehensive ReadingIQ review.

KinderGo

KinderGo is an app that focuses on early reading skills. Like Epic, it includes a virtual library of illustrated books. However, it appeals to a younger crowd, focusing on pre-readers and early readers instead of elementary schoolers who are developing more advanced reading skills. It includes phonics lessons, games, and videos to supplement the reading opportunities available on the app.

KinderGo:

  • Targets ages 3 to 6
  • Smaller library of illustrated books
  • Games offer engaging learning opportunities for kids

Epic:

  • Targets ages 5 to 12
  • Expansive virtual library
  • Educational videos supplement reading content

Consider your child’s age when selecting a digital library subscription. While preschoolers will enjoy KinderGo, elementary schoolers will grow with Epic as their reading skills develop.

Skybrary

Skybrary targets young readers, offering hundreds of available books in an ever-growing library. Following an adventure theme, this site allows kids to navigate between seven different islands where they can discover age-appropriate books and more. Virtual field trips, interactive animations, and storytime are some of the interactive features. 

Skybrary:

  • Monthly or annual subscription options
  • Targets pre-readers and early readers
  • Interactive features include field trips and storytimes

Epic:

  • Monthly subscription
  • Elementary-aged book options
  • Interactivity includes educational videos

Skybrary is a great option for early readers who enjoy interactivity when they’re learning. However, it has a much smaller library than Epic, which is your best option once your child begins reading independently.

Conclusion

Developing reading skills and instilling a love of reading are essential in your child’s early elementary years. Engaging books and educational content can make reading even more appealing. Epic offers just that, with its vast educational library, ability to curate book collections specific to your child’s interests, and educational videos to supplement learning. Plus, the site is easy to navigate and can be one your child enjoys for years to come. So, if you have an elementary schooler whose reading skills, interest in reading, or both need a boost, consider Epic to help them discover their love of reading.

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