Looking for free ebooks for students? There is a little-known free ebooks site that offers home access to students, and you can learn about it right here. If you are an elementary teacher or a librarian, this site might be a great addition to your teaching toolkit. School accounts are free, and if a teacher has a school account, home access is free as well. If you are a homeschool parent, this might be of use to you, although consumer accounts cost $7.99 a month (at the time of this writing). What is the name of this lesser-known free ebook site? Reading IQ! As an elementary school librarian looking for online resources for students, this site offers something no other ebooks site offers: Free access after 3 PM. Read this ReadingIQ review to get the details and learn how to set up a classroom or library account.
ReadingIQ vs. Epic
Although this site launched a few years ago, I haven’t used it very much until now. It was easy to navigate because it looked so similar to another free eBook site, Epic! Books for Kids. If you haven’t yet tried the Epic site, you can read about it in a previous post. If you are already familiar with Epic ebooks, then I hope I will be able to save you some time as I compare the two sites. They do look similar, but there are a few key differences that teachers, parents and students should know about.
ReadingIQ is Free All Day, Even After 3 PM
Why am I suddenly using ReadingIQ more with my students? It’s main competitor, Epic (noted above), has now cut off free school access to its ebooks after 3 PM. That is bad news for me and any other teacher who teaches students after 3. I rely on ebooks for my student animal research project, and I also use ebooks as an option for students who finish their assignments before the rest of the class. I needed a solution for my late afternoon classes, and ReadingIQ was my best option. I had avoided ReadingIQ for a couple of years, because logging in is not as easy as with Epic. Now, I have no choice but to find ways for my students to log in, which I’m currently testing out. I’ll post an update soon about that.
Reading IQ Ebooks Available at Home
Reading IQ offers students free access to their ebooks at home, something that Epic does not offer. Reading IQ and Epic both offer free apps as well as online access from a laptop or other internet-connected device. Both apps allowed me to access their respective ebook libraries as a student.
Easy Online Classroom Setup
Just as with Epic, once I signed up for a free teacher account, I set up my student classroom with numbers rather than names. I get asked frequently about this, because librarians need to set up free ebook access for a whole school, not just one classroom. The problem is, each teacher only gets one classroom to set up. I set up my classroom with numbers 1-35 to match the numbered machines I use in the lab or the library.
When working with me, each student is assigned a numbered device. The student just selects the avatar number (avatars shown above) that matches the number on the device they are using. I always have numbers taped on the machines, for a variety of reasons. Each time I see a class, the students use the same device, then access the same classroom and avatar number.
The Whole School Can Access
If teachers decide to access my Reading IQ Classroom or Epic classroom from their classroom, they can do so as well. So far, there have been no problems if one student in the library is using a certain number in my classroom and another student in a different location is using the same number. The only problem that arises is when students try to use features like saving a favorite book or changing the look of their avatar. It’s not a big issue, though. We talk all the time about respecting other users on shared accounts.
Wide Book Selection
The Reading IQ site does not provide a specific number when queried about the number of books available. It just notes there are “thousands” of ebooks available. When I access the homepage and prepare to do a search, the layout is very similar to Epic. There are read-to-me books available as well as chapter books. The read-to-me text is highlighted in blue as the words are read, so that students may follow along easily. There is a wide variety of nonfiction as well as fiction. The site claims to be for kids “2-12”, so there are varying levels of books, from early readers to chapter books and graphic novels.
Some of the popular ebook categories are Star Wars, Marvel, and Pixel. The site also offers nonfiction titles which I plan to use for animal research. I’ve found that having students access a nonfiction ebook allows students to have a wider selection of titles to choose from, and many of the titles are more up-to-date than what we have as print books in our school library collection.
Both Reading IQ and Epic Have Free Apps
Both apps are easy to use. I even have them placed side-by-side on my phone. For reading on the go, ReadingIQ definitely has the advantage, because the books are free outside of school hours.
One Huge Drawback
Both Epic and Reading IQ are very similar. There is one thing about this new free ebook site that troubles me. There is no class code for the students to use when logging in to their Reading IQ classroom. Right now, the only way to log in and access a Reading IQ classroom is to use the teacher’s email address and password.
Using a teacher’s email address and password is unfortunate for two reasons. First, younger students need a short, simple log in. The seven character combination that Epic uses for each classroom is very helpful. Second, there is always the possibility that students could locate the teacher login page and mess around with the account settings. I have contacted the folks at Reading IQ about this, but since it’s a design issue, it might be a while before the situation is resolved. For now, I am having students log in with my email and the password I have set up. The teacher account log in is not connected from the student page, and if anyone does try to change the password, I get sent an email notification. It’s not a perfect system, but it’s what I’m working with for now so my students have access to a free ebook site after 3 PM.
Here is what I recommend regarding this new free ebook site: Try it for yourself if you are a teacher or librarian and see what you think. If the lack of a class code for student access bothers you as much as it does me, then please contact the company using one of the contact methods listed on this page. Maybe they will make a change. The Epic site is tough to beat, even though I’m having to use Reading IQ with classes I teach after 3 PM. The access issue needs to be addressed. If Reading IQ wants to appeal to educators, they will design a better way for students to log in.
What About You?
Do you think you might be interested in giving ReadingIQ a try? What are your thoughts? I encourage you to give this new free ebook site a look, even if you are happy with Epic. ReadingIQ has titles that Epic doesn’t have and is available for the entire school day. If you don’t have students log in individually, you could always show the titles to your whole class. I believe the more options we can give students, the better, and it’s free.
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Have a great time exploring ReadingIQ, everyone, and happy reading!