Prevent “Summer Slide” with Reading App Epic!

Ahh, summer vacation. No lunches to pack, homework to do, or morning rush! Still, the arrival of summer shouldn’t mean the end of creativity and learning.

Teachers and parents often worry about summer slide, or the regress in learning children have because they’re not engaged or challenged academically. Luckily, you can prevent the dreaded slide with a few minutes of daily reading.

According to studies, students can lose up to two months of learning if they don’t read during the summer. And experts say reading 4 to 6 books can prevent a drop in standardized test scores. If your child read one book each week during the summer — not only would they have read double the amount, but they’d sharpen their skills and have an edge in learning for the entire school year.

While local libraries and bookstores are amazing resources for books, sometimes it’s nice to be able to reach for a book without having to figure out transportation, open hours or long checkout lines. Thankfully, there are now digital libraries which make it convenient to access thousands of high-quality books at the touch of a button.

That’s where Epic! comes in. Epic! offers a more than 15,000 titles for young readers with its online subscription service and lets your child read books on your computer or mobile device - anywhere, anytime.

Humor? Animals? Fantasy? Romance? Beginning Readers? Adolescents? YES! On Epic!, you can search or sort books by genre, reading level, length or popularity.

Here are a few fun and creative ways to incorporate an app like Epic! into your summer reading routine:

*Pick a new series to read as a family and see who read them the fastest.

*Use the "popular searches" for ways to explore new genres or topics.

*Pick a new author and read all of his or her books as a bedtime story.

*Go "behind the scenes" of a book by watching the supplementary video.

*Dress up as your favorite character from a book you’ve recently read.

*Get to know someone famous by reading a biography.

*Read award-winning books, such Newbery and Caldecott winners.

*Brainstorm a list of animals and read books about them to learn unique facts.

*Have a family competition of who can read the most books.

*Start a summer book club with family or friends.

With Epic!, you can track how many books your kids have read and how much time they spend reading — perfect grounds for some sibling rivalry. It’s also a great way to measure their progress in reading.

For younger readers, Epic! has thousands of visual audio books which are easy to follow along and build vocabulary and fluency skills. There is also a growing collection of educational videos to supplement reading content.

If you have summer travel plans, bring Epic! along. You can download books to read or listen to offline, which means kids are entertained and learning during an otherwise boring drive or flight.

Before I discovered Epic!, I always thought that e-books were mostly old or uninteresting titles. But Epic! is the exact opposite. It has popular series such as Scaredy Squirrel, Big Nate and National Geographic Kids to name a few. These ebooks are beautiful and retain all the bright, colorful illustrations of their print counterparts. The best part is how often new titles are added to the collection — which means, you’ll probably never hear the words, "Mom, I’m bored," all summer long.

So, what are you waiting for — get reading today! For more information visit

Renee Cunningham is an Epic! Master Teacher and an elementary-school librarian in Salisbury, NC.