My fifth-grade classroom is filled with books. Nearly everywhere you look you will see books. Most of the money that I spend on my classroom is used to purchase new books for my kids to read. We have more than 2,000 books in our classroom.
It isn’t enough.
No matter how many I buy, the limitations of my classroom library cannot meet the diverse needs of all of my students. Because of this, we must find other ways to get the right books to the right readers. We visit our school library at least once a week, and I am lucky enough to have a principal that has more than 500 books in her office library.
Another place we find books is on Epic!. Having over 35,000 books available to my students through Epic! is priceless, and the thing that continues to blow my mind is that it is completely free to educators. My students use the app on our 10 iPads, and they use the web-based version on our 20 Chromebooks. These are the 10 books and series that my kids love reading on Epic!:
1. The Origami Yoda series by Tom Angleberger
I kicked off the school year by reading The Strange Case of Origami Yoda to my kids. They loved it! When we finished, a bunch of them wanted to read the second book in the series, Darth Paper Strikes Back. The problem was, we only had one copy. If each reader had to wait until our one copy was ready, the excitement about the series would have faded.
With Epic!, my kids were able to not only read Darth Paper Strikes Back, they were also able to read the other books in the series
2. The Abandoned Places Series by Kevin Blake
One of my readers is obsessed with the series Abandoned Places. I have a couple of the books in my classroom, but it was a little too expensive for me to purchase all of them.
Thankfully, Epic! has these books. What I love about this series is how much my kids love sharing it with others. It is almost impossible for them to read one of the books without calling another kid over to show them something they learned.
3. El Deafo by Cece Bell
I think Cece Bell’s El Deafo is one of the best graphic novels ever written for kids. My kids agree!
This book is so popular in my classroom. I’m glad that all of my students can read it whenever they want on Epic!.
4. Brands We Know Series by Sara Green
A couple of years ago, I bought a handful of books in the Brands We Know series. Kids love them! Learning about Netflix, Nickelodeon, John Deere, Dairy Queen and Nike has been fascinating to my students. When one of them found out that other books in the series were on Epic!, they were pumped.
5. Phoebe and Her Unicorn Series by Dana Simpson
I used to own all the Phoebe and Her Unicorn books, but over the years they have come up missing, fallen apart, and new books in the series have been published. This graphic novel series is extremely popular, so when we found out it was on Epic!, all of my students who were fans of the series were excited to have the opportunity to read the books that we didn’t have in our classroom library.
6. Unexplained Mysteries Series
I don’t do scary, but a bunch of my students do! The Unexplained Mysteries series is one of the most talked about in my classroom. The kids are captivated by the mysteries and can’t wait to get online to learn more about what they learned in these books.
Check out this popular edition on the Loch Ness Monster.
7. The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson & E.B. Lewis
One of my favorite picture books to read aloud to my students is Woodson and Lewis’s The Other Side. This book, as well as a few others by Woodson, is available as an audiobook on Epic!. There is just something special about hearing the author’s words read out loud that I just cannot get enough of.
8. Words with Wings by Nikki Grimes
My students have been really digging novels in verse this school year. I was so excited to be able to find Words With Wings on Epic!.
The more novels in verse I can introduce to my students, the better!
9. Princess in Black by Shannon and Dean Hale and LeUyen Pham
Princess in Black is one of the coolest chapter book series of all time. I used to have the complete series when I was a third-grade teacher, but over the course of my three years in fifth grade many of the books have gone missing. Thankfully, my kids can now find the books on Epic!.
10. Captain Underpants Series by Dav Pilkey
No elementary classroom library is complete without this epic series from Dav Pilkey. For most of us teachers, purchasing the audiobooks just isn’t in the cards, but our kids can listen to them for free in our classroom on Epic!.
How cool is that?
If you are looking for ways to increase the access your kids have to books in your classroom, and you have some devices available, Epic! might be something for you to check out. If you do, I hope your readers love it as much as mine do.
About the Author
Colby Sharp is a husband and father of five. He teaches fifth grade in Parma, Michigan. Colby is the co-founder of Nerdy Book Club, and he serves on the Nerd Camp Michigan team. He co-hosts The Yarn podcast with Travis Jonker. Colby currently serves as the president-elect of the Michigan Reading Association. He co-authored Game Changer! Book Access for All Kids with Donalyn Miller, and he is the editor of The Creativity Project: An Awesometastic Story Collection.
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