Special Edition Review: Big Universe – Read, Create and Share Children’s Books Online

Are you looking for a comprehensive website on which children can read quality literature?  Would you like to assess your students’ reading to determine what they comprehend?  How about providing students with an opportunity to create and publish their own books?  You can find all of that on Big Universe, where students can read, create, and share children’s books online!

Big Universe allows students and teachers to choose to read from over 1,000 books, with plenty of fiction and nonfiction to go around!  You can browse the books by grade, subject, reading level, interest, subject categories, or language.  The books are available in 13 languages and are leveled using Fountas and Pinnell or Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA).  In addition, teachers can choose books by publishers which include Weekly Reader and Teacher Created Materials.  Additionally, Big Universe provides assessments so that teachers can determine student progress.

I think I see the most potential for the classroom in the “create and publish” section of this site.  What a wonderful way to motivate your reluctant readers and writers.  Students can write original picture books and publish them to share with the teacher or other members of the site (you can set it up so it’s just your class or school).  Students can have access to the site 24/7; so they can even work at home on writing projects.  I think this is a fabulous way to connect home to school.  Another way to use this component is by having ELL students create concept books to help them with language acquisition.  Or, the teacher can create books for ELL students to read about specific topics.

Teachers are able to set up virtual bookshelves for students and can organize books to support differentiated instruction.  Once set up, students can easily choose books on their level to read.  In addition, teachers can use the share component to recommend and share books with students and parents.  I love this idea!  I think it provides a fabulous opportunity for teachers to stay in touch with families and promote literacy at the same time!

Classroom subscription or a school subscription is available at Big Universe.  They even offer trial subscriptions.  I recommend checking out Big Universe and setting up a trial subscription.  See how it works for your class. . . I guarantee you’ll find it useful in more ways than one!

If you are interested in how Big Universe may work for families, check out my post at Literacy Toolbox.