What it is: Big Universe lets you read, create, and share children’s books online. Read hundreds of children’s picture books right from your web browser. It’s like having a huge library of big books for your whole class to read and enjoy. Publishers that contribute picture books to Big Universe include: Charlesbridge, SeaSquirt, Lobster Press, Saddleback, Matthew Price, ISSA Step by Step, Andersen, Dawn Publications, Tanglewood Press, ee, Teacher Created Materials, Illuminations Arts, Weekly Reader, and Elora Media. Big Universe has both fiction and nonfiction picture books to read with your students. Books are easy to search by category, grade, reading level, interest age, and language. Students can create their own ebooks on Big Universe or share books on a virtual bookshelf. The catch: the free version of Big Universe offers a limited look at the premium publisher books (you can read through half the book before being prompted to upgrade or close the book). You can read any of the user created books for free. With the free version you can only create one ebook per user account. Students can create bookshelves and share an unlimited number of books, recommend books to others, and add friends. The accounts on Big Universe are reasonably priced (especially considering how much it would increase your classroom library).
How to integrate Big Universe into the classroom: Big Universe is an awesome way to expand your classroom library and share quality picture books and stories with your students. The big books on Big Universe are ideal for use with an interactive whiteboard or projector. Students can read along and see the rich detail in the illustrations. Big Universe also makes for an excellent reading center on the classroom computers. Allow students to create their own book on Big Universe to add to the library. They will be published authors! Students can share the books they are reading on Big Universe on their own virtual bookshelf. They can swap book recommendations with friends and share stories they create.
Tips: If it is possible for your school to purchase a school license of Big Universe, students would have access to an extensive library of books at school or home. This is a fantastic way to get hundreds of books into the hands of your students. Because they can be accessed from any Internet connected computer, students can enjoy the books and stories from nearly anywhere.
Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Big Universe in your classroom.