While reading is one of the most valuable things students can do as schools are closed, access to high-quality texts is a significant challenge for many students as well as their teachers. Below are websites that provide free digital texts, e-books, audio books and read-alouds. All can be used by students independently and by their families and teachers. Some sites also provide learning activities for students and families and/or lesson plans for teachers.
Audible (PK-12) is enabling kids to instantly stream a collection of stories, including titles across six languages, for free on their desktops, laptops, phones or tablets. This access will be available as long as schools are closed.
CNN 10 (3-12) is an on-demand digital news show ideal for explanation seekers on the go or in the classroom. Videos can be easily accessed by students at home via computer or mobile device.
CommonLit (3-12) is a reading resource program that includes 1500 authentic complex texts, organized by grade level, with comprehension questions, discussion questions, and assessment style questions. It includes a large collection of Spanish texts and texts can be translated into 25 different languages and include a read aloud option.
Digital Public Library of America (K-12) includes primary source sets, drawn from over 36 million images, texts, videos, and sounds from across the United States, that are helpful resources for educators and parents preparing to teach remotely during the COVID-19 outbreak. Each set contains a variety of primary sources, context, lesson plans, discussion questions and student activities and are easily accessible to students.
Flyleaf Publishing (K-3) provides free, online decodable readers with accompanying practice sheets. The books work well on a device or can be downloaded and printed, along with the practice sheets, to ensure equitable access.
Kate Messner: Read, Wonder, Learn! (PK-12) is a collection of resources that includes everything from first-chapter and picture book read-alouds to complementary drawing and writing mini-lessons.
KidLitTV (PK-5) is a comprehensive website dedicated to children’s literature that includes “Read Out Loud,” a video storytime feature with authors reading aloud their own books.
National Geographic Kids (3-8) provides free digital resources including stories from the latest Nat Geo Kids magazine as well as videos and activities for students and their families to learn together.
Overdrive (K-12) enables kids, their families and caregivers to borrow and read free ebooks, audiobooks, and magazines from their local library using a phone or tablet. Depending on the device and operating system being used, Libby is a helpful app that provides access to the same content with a different navigation experience.
Scholastic Learn at Home (PK-8) includes learning experiences, grouped by grade band, built around a children’s book--full text accessible via the website--and including videos and complementary activities (available in both English and Spanish).
Story Online (K-5) is an award-winning children’s literacy website which streams videos featuring celebrated actors reading children’s books aloud alongside illustrations. The website also includes activity guides for parents and caregivers to complete lessons with students at home.
Teaching Tolerance Text Library (K-12) is a supplemental library of over 500 short nonfiction leveled texts, images, interviews, literary texts, and more that represent a diverse mix of stories and perspectives. Students, families and caregivers can create accounts for free to access the content.
TIME for Kids (K-6) provides free access to a library of four grade-specific digital editions of TIME for Kids and Your $ financial literacy magazine. Access includes turnkey teaching tools, with worksheets and quizzes for families or teachers.