Big Universe is, well, a big universe of K-8 e-books, including fiction and nonfiction across a range of subject areas, many of which are leveled according to common systems like Lexile and DRA. Books can be sorted by subject, grade and Common Core standard, and assigned to students directly through the system. There are also embedded quizzes related to many of the books, and naturally a management system that allows administrators or teachers to view quiz results and monitor students’ reading activity.
Big Universe has 500,000 members in 171 countries. Standard pricing is $1500 for a one-year school license or $300 for a classroom, with multi-school, multi-year and per-student discounts also available. A subscription grants users access to more than 5000 e-books, about half from about 30 different publishing companies, and half created by members. (Did we mention Big Universe is also an e-book publishing platform of sorts? The system makes it easy to type in or import text and pictures, or to pull from its clip art library. But don’t get your hopes up, budding authors: e-books are only shared with classmates, your school, or the wider Big Universe community, not the Kindle Store.) Users can also “share” their bookshelves – not so much sharing the books (other than in the library sort of way, except you never have to wait for someone else to return them) but sharing lists of books a user has read or published.
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