My preschool-aged daughter just brought home a book flyer and immediately started circling the books she wanted. Nothing makes me happier than seeing her love of books grow, but I'd go broke if I ordered all the Pinkalicious books she's pining for. Then I heard about this children's book app called Epic!, and my jaw dropped at how cool it is. I'm generally pretty anti-screentime, but this is one kid's app that I can totally get behind, and considering how much actual books are, it's practically free.
So what exactly is this miracle app? Epic! is an enormous digital library for kids under 12, boasting 25,000 books and learning videos from 250 leading publishers, like HarperCollins, Macmillan, National Geographic Kids, Sesame Workshop, and Smithsonian. It's on a subscription model which means you pay month-by-month for totally ad-free access, and there's no sneaky in-app purchases. Plus it basically works on any type of tablet ou own, from iPads to Kindles. Their pricing model is normally $7.99 per month, but if you use the promo code SUMMER18 you can score three months of access for just $3 until June 12. That's basically like getting your kid an entire summer's worth of reading material for the cost of a slice of pizza.
You don't have to worry about the digital library being limited to obscure books either. Epic! has tons of popular children's books, like Princesses Wear Pants by Today Show host, Savannah Guthrie, and 100 Things I Love to Do With You by Amy Schwartz, as well as the classics you love like Stone Soup, Where the Wild Things Are, Lyle, Lyle Crocodile and Harold and the Purple Crayon — just to name a few in the Age 3-5 year category.
My family has some big family road trips coming up this summer and I immediately thought about how this app would be a sanity saver on our upcoming 9-hour drive. Epic! works online or off, and it has a "Read to Me" feature (your kid can turn their own pages and have the book read to them from the app), as well as audiobook titles, that cater to the 12 and under set. Now that certainly beats me inventing endless car games, or caving and letting them watch Peppa Pig on repeat.
What's more, Epic!'s library includes books in Spanish, French, and Mandarin, non-fiction and biographies, graphic novels, cookbooks, craft books, and more, so you can use the app as an educational tool and hands-on activity guide. There are lots of educational videos and interactive features too, though you can disable those if you prefer to use the app as just a reading service. Another cool feature is Epic!'s algorithm "that makes personalized recommendations for kids based on their reading level and content preferences, and the ability to create personalized profiles (up to four per family) to keep track of reading materials individually within an account," explained Publisher's Weekly.
Singing up for an Epic! subscription is a great way to keep your kids reading on summer break and prevent what is called as the 'summer slide.' "Numerous studies indicate that students who don’t read or read infrequently during their summer vacation see their reading abilities stagnate or decline. This effect becomes more pronounced as students get older and advance through the school system," explained HomeRoom, the official blog of the U.S. Department of Education.
It's clear that Epic! is a great resource for kids on school break, but the company is also committed to helping children learn once school is back in session. Free subscriptions are given to teachers and librarians, and a whopping 87 percent of elementary schools use the app, according to the company's website.
If you're interested in trying Epic!, you can sign up for a free month-trial on their website, and if you decide you want to sign up for a monthly subscription, you're not locked into a contract either. You can cancel at anytime.