As an educator of ELA and writing, my students often ask me the simple, yet complex, question, “Where can I read books?” Today, there exist myriad digital resources that students often have difficulty locating. While reading physical copies of books is an enriching experience all its own, digital books and stories also have their own merit—particularly due to their accessibility and shareability. It is easier than ever for your child to read books of all levels from the comfort of home, with a steady internet connection and a computer. Even more, they can read with their friends after sending them a book link. That way, they have a reading buddy and accountability partner! Digital books are also an especially great choice for students who don’t have extra money to spend. Below is a list of several online reading resources that will introduce your child to tens of thousands of books. A few of the resources are frequently used by adults, as well.
Funbrain: The birthplace of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Funbrain offers plenty of full and excerpted ebooks that your child can read for free, directly from the web browser! Each text has recommended grade levels, all of which range from Pre-K to 8th Grade. Even more, the website has fun and educational games and videos to indulge in after reading!
American Literature: American Literature is perhaps one of the internet’s best kept secrets. The website provides hundreds of stories, poems, and novels, all of which are in the public domain (meaning they are legal and free to read and share!) It also has dozens of teacher resources, which can also be useful for parents to use with their children in-home. The website continues in memory of Aaron Ezis, who founded the site in 1997 by uploading “a chapter a day.” This resource is one of the first digital libraries on the web (ever). This resource is also readable by web browser.
Project Gutenberg: Named for the first-ever printing press, created in 1440 by Johannes Gutenberg, Project Gutenberg is likely the largest online library of free texts in the public-domain. From children’s books to classic novels, this collection has everything! Read either in the web browser, or download a file of the selected book to read on programs through your computer or tablet!
OverDrive: Do you or your child have a library card? If so, you can sign up for a free OverDrive account, giving you access to the digital versions of recently-published books, as well as books from ages past. Not every library or school will have the same digital texts available, and some might have more digital copies than others, so act quick when you see a text you plan to read! Use the Libby, Sora, or OverDrive apps to access these digital libraries!
YouTube: What! YouTube is a reading resource? Yes, it absolutely is! While you might frequent this platform to keep up with your favorite vlogger or listen to the latest jam, it is also replete with audiobooks (many of them including the book’s text!) You can easily find texts for both children and adults, and these audiobooks sometimes make it easier for children to focus on reading—especially if concentration has been difficult for them in the past. A simple search of “audiobooks with texts” will do the trick. Most of the books are also in the public domain and free to read and share!
The internet is a wonderful place full of literary resources at your child’s disposal. Not only will they improve upon their communication and critical thinking after taking advantage of so many texts, but they will also glean newfound skills in media literacy, learning how technology can be a tool to utilize for today and for always.
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