What is Big Universe?

Today’s educators know that literacy goes far beyond identifying words on a page. The U.S. National Reading Panel1 contends that a balanced literacy program encompasses phonics, phonemic awareness, guided oral reading, fluency, vocabulary development, and comprehension. With all that said, how can teachers, reading coaches, and curriculum directors ensure that all the bases are being covered?

The Big Universe platform by Fuel Education helps to support teachers in many aspects of literacy development. Whether your school requires a supplemental tool or an all-encompassing solution, Big Universe addresses both levels of need.

Introduction to Big Universe
Big Universe is a digital literacy solution featuring more than 13,000 leveled ebooks accessible 24/7 on smartphones, computers, and tablets. Because of this flexible delivery model, students can be plugged into literacy anytime, anywhere there is an internet connection.

For teachers, finding access to quality, leveled content can be quite a feat. With Big Universe, they have thousands of authentic texts right at their fingertips. Big Universe has partnered with more than 40 well-known publishers to bring purposeful content right into the hands of students.

Engaging, quality content is a key feature of a balanced literacy program. However, it’s only one component of Big Universe’s all-encompassing solution.

Big Universe Features
Big Universe approaches literacy from all angles. Featuring a straightforward, intuitive interface, our digital platform addresses reading, writing, oral fluency2, and phonics for students, while also arming teachers with the tools they need to assess and report on student progress.

More importantly, Big Universe provides a single point of access to content, knowledge, activities, quizzes, and data. No more signing out and returning textbooks. Teachers can assign a Big Universe ebook to as many students as they want for as long as they want.

Here’s what teachers and students can expect from the Big Universe platform:

For Teachers

From organization and lesson-planning to data aggregation and reporting, teachers can leverage Big Universe to support their literacy curriculum.

1. Choose from a Variety of Content
In any given classroom, a teacher will have students with varying reading levels and educational needs. Big Universe’s wide variety of content was created for the diverse classroom. On the cover of each book in our library, you’ll find the corresponding reading level. Whether your school uses Accelerated Reader, Lexile, Fountas & Pinnell, DRA, or any other reading program, Big Universe has four corresponding reading levels that can align.

Big Universe’s library also features special collections for English Language Learners (ELL), special education students, and struggling readers. This way, no matter what reading level or challenges students face, teachers have an arsenal of content to choose from to help them build a foundation for lifelong reading. Simply use the “assignment” feature to assign books to students that match their reading level and needs.

Not every educator is a regular classroom teacher with a literacy unit.  Big Universe’s breadth of content also caters to subjects like physical education, math, science, and art. More than 70% of our texts are nonfiction, making it easy to find a relatable text no matter what subject you teach.

Read more: How Nonfiction Content Can Help Struggling Readers

2. Organize and plan with bookshelves
Big Universe’s bookshelf feature allows teachers to categorize books based on subject, unit, student, and more. Not only does this help teachers stay organized, but it can also help them proactively plan their lessons.

3. Assess progress with data and reporting
Real-time data lets teachers track student progress—from quizzes taken, to books read, and activities completed. All of this data is imperative to tracking growth.

Read more: How to Use Data to Tailor Instruction

For Students

1. Develop a love for learning with choice
Big Universe’s wide variety of texts caters to students with different interests, passions, and needs.  Students can save books to their bookshelves and categorize them based on subject—math, reading, science, etc.,—or create a bookshelf just for personal reading.

Big Universe’s search feature makes it easy for students to look for books on a specific topic or aligned with a particular grade, reading level, or genre.

2. Read and learn with privacy
While Big Universe makes it easy for students to find books that suit their reading level, it also allows students to keep that information between themselves and their teachers. Once a student chooses a book, the reading level is no longer visible to the student or his or her peers sitting nearby.

Unlike a non-digital book cover that reveals reading level, Big Universe ebooks give students a sense of privacy as they work towards their own personal reading and literacy goals.

3. Exercise creativity with book creation
Writing is a significant component of a balanced literacy program. Big Universe’s writing tool gives students the opportunity to write, illustrate, animate, and share their own books. Not only is this a great way for teachers to gauge how well a student understands a particular subject, but this also lets students express their creativity.

Once students are finished creating, they can send their original books to their teachers for editing and “publish” the book to share with classmates.

Launch into Literacy With Big Universe

Whether you’re a teacher who’s scrapped for rich content or a curriculum director looking for an integrated literacy solution, partner with Big Universe to meet the diverse needs of today’s students.

Request a demo today or visit our website to learn more.


1Riddle, S. (2015) A balanced approach is best for teaching kids how to read. The Conversation.

2Oral fluency feature is in development for an estimated winter release in SY18-19

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How Nonfiction Content Can Help Struggling Readers
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