There’s a free ebook site for kids you might not have heard of, and I’d like to save you some time by giving you a summary of how it works. 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 $30 a year (at the time of this writing). What is the name of this new free ebook site? Reading IQ is now live!
***Update: Due to extended widespread school closures, Reading IQ is now offering schools codes for students to access the program at home for free. Go to Reading IQ Redeem to enter the code you are given by your child’s school. Read on to see if this is something you might be interested in.
This Free EBook Site Might Look Familiar
Although this site launched a few months ago, I wanted to take some time to learn about it and test it out. 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.
Reading IQ Ebooks Available at Home
Reading IQ offers students free access to their ebooks at home, something that Epic has not offered in the past. However when I tested out the Epic student access at home, I was able to access my Epic classroom as a student, so maybe that has changed. 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. So, even though initially Reading IQ may have been the only site to offer free home access, Epic is now appearing to offer free home access as well if teachers send an email to parents of students during the extended school closure. (Update) Well, that is a win for the students for sure!
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 varied levels of books, from early readers to chapter books and graphic novels.
One Huge Drawback
Both Epic and Reading IQ are very similar. There is one thing about this new free ebook site that troubles me. It’s even preventing me from using it with my students. 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. (This has since been updated due to extended school closures. Just go to the Reading IQ Redeem page if you have a code.)
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, I don’t want students to use my account information. Students could change the password and other settings. I have contacted the folks at Reading IQ about this, but since it’s a design issue, it might be awhile before the situation is resolved. ***Update: Maybe now it has been, due to extended school closures.
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. You might want to hold off on offering it to students. 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, so 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 Reading IQ 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. Reading IQ has titles that Epic doesn’t have, and you could always show the titles to your whole class, even if you don’t have students log in individually. I believe the more options we can give students, the better, and it’s free. If you like what you’ve read today, and would like some free printable resources for teachers, please consider subscribing. Have a marvelous week, and thanks for visiting the Fluxing Well site.