Are you looking for ways your students can read for free online? I’ve been using these three websites in my classroom. Now, kids can use these to read at home.
Whether school is closed for COVID-19, a snow storm, fires, or natural disasters, we want them to read. Going to the library isn’t usually an option in these situations. Sometimes, we see posts of teachers reading books online, but we have to be careful. If we are teaching students to behave appropriately online, we don’t want to forget about permission and copyright. These websites have worked with authors and publishers to make sure they respect copyrights.
Read at home with Storyline Online
One thing I love about this StorylineOnline.Net is how easy it is to use. There is no log in. You just go to the website and click.
But, the true gem of this site is that the books are read by celebrities. My students usually have no idea who the celebrity is apparently, but I enjoy it. I think this could make it especially fun for families. Maybe you aren’t as into the book as your child, but you may find it entertaining to listen to Oprah, Lily Tomlin, or Kristen Bell.
Storyline Online let you pick whether you want to watch via YouTube, SchoolTube, or Vimeo. I personally love that they make it easy to copy the link to your clipboard. You can then add a link to an exact book to Google Classroom or to Google Slides.
The one drawback is that the number of books available is fairly limited.
Read at Home with Sora / OverDrive
Sora can be connected to your school district or public library. Kids can check out a book to read online like they’d check out a library book.
One of the fun things about it is that kids earn badges as they go.
This site will require a login and password. My district set this up for our students and I just let them know how to sign in. Maybe your district has set this up. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
Read at Home with Epic!
My students all time favorite is Epic! In fact, when I started introducing reading online at the beginning of the year, they begged for Epic! I wasn’t familiar with it, but they used it in second grade and asked me to create accounts for them.
In the classroom, I just add the link getepic.com to my Google Classroom and include my code in the directions. Once they type in the code, kids can then click on the icon they created to start exploring.
Epic lets kids read, listen, and watch videos. The library is extensive. When students are reading, it will even pop up a dictionary definition of a word they click on. Teachers can assign books, monitor how many books kids are reading and how much time they are spending reading. Teachers can even quiz students on what they read.
I’ve let my students just explore and pick books they want to read so far. But, I was playing around with the search today. I typed in the word anxiety thinking that his is a stressful time. More than 40 relevant books popped up with reading levels and age suggestions. I liked that after I read a book, a suggestion popped up for similar books.
Epic is always free for classroom use. Normally, students can’t use Epic! at home for free. But, during these unusual times, they are letting kids access it at home for free if their teacher sends their parents an invitation via email.