Barbara Soots, Washington OSPI OER Project, Molly Berger, Aira Jackson, Karma Hugo
Early Childhood Development, English Language Arts
Material Type:
Preschool, Lower Primary, Upper Primary, Middle School, High School
OSPI, Wa-Students-Working-Independently, Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Washington State Department of Education, wa-early-learning, wa-ela, wa-families, wa-students-with-disabilities
Creative Commons Attribution
English, Spanish

Reading in the Time of COVID-19: Free access to online reading

Reading in the Time of COVID-19: Free access to online reading


Free reading options for all Pre K - 12 students. Sites include access for English learners as well as students with reading barriers. Opportunities are highlighted for online reading, downloadable eBooks, audiobooks, apps to read content on smartphones/tablets, and read aloud stories for our youngest learners.

Free access to eBooks, audiobooks, animated books, and read alouds

Online Texts

Bookshare | Beneficent Technology, Inc.                          Audience: students with qualifying reading barriers

For students with dyslexia, blindness, cerebral palsy, and other reading barriers, Bookshare is a free online library that provides access to over 800,000 ebooks in easy-to-read formats. Teachers can create free school accounts. Parents can sign up students for free to access Bookshare at home independently.

Epic! | Epic Creations Inc.                                                                                           Audience: ages 2-12

Epic! offers unlimited access to a library of thousands of great children’s books. Subscription service free to educators and, until the end of the 2020 school year, free to families with an invitation from their teacher to get started. Students will have anywhere, anytime access to the full Epic library on all devices (including web browsers, the iOS app and the Android app).

Free Books for All! | Beneficent Technology, Inc.                                                Audience: ages 12 – adult

Over 200 fiction and non-fiction titles of varying grade levels

Free Children's Books for All! | Beneficent Technology, Inc.                                                     Audience: ages 2-8

Books for second graders and younger

International Children’s Digital Library | Univ. of Maryland and Internet Archive           Audience: ages 2-12

Collection of books that represents outstanding historical and contemporary books from throughout the world. Ultimately, the Foundation aspires to have every culture and language represented so that every child can know and appreciate the riches of children's literature from the world community.

National Emergency Library | Internet Archive                                                                Audience: all ages

A collection of books that supports emergency remote teaching, research activities, independent scholarship, and intellectual stimulation while universities, schools, training centers, and libraries are closed

OverDrive | Rakutan                                                                                                         Audience: all ages

Enjoy ebooks and audiobooks free through your local public library or school. Available on computers, laptops, some Kindle ereaders, and the Libby app for many mobile devices. Requires a library card. Most libraries have an online application in order to get digital access.

Project Gutenberg | Public Domain eBooks                                                                     Audience: all ages

Library of over 60,000 free eBooks. Choose among free epub and Kindle eBooks, download them or read them online | Library of Congress                                                                                         Audience: all ages

Pick from a huge swathe of classic children’s literature. The site encourages readers of all ages to discover the wonderful world of books. Follow it up with author webcasts, writing contests, and extensive book lists.


Audio Books

Audible | Amazon                                                                                                       Audience: ages 2-18

For as long as schools are closed, kids can instantly stream an incredible collection of stories, including titles across six different languages, that will help them continue dreaming, learning, and just being kids.

Librivox | Public Domain Audiobooks                                                                          Audience: all ages

Books are read by volunteers and free to stream on your desktop, laptop, phone or tablet.

Starfall: I’m Reading | Starfall Education                                                                               Audience: ages 2-8

The “I’m Reading!” library is full of books, plays, and comics can peruse independently. Children can figure out the sentences themselves, get help with a word, or click to hear the entire book read.


Animated Books

The Fable Cottage | Fable Cottage                                                           Audience: ages 2-8, bilingual learners

New versions of traditional tales especially for language learners, teachers, and anyone who enjoys a nice story

Kanopy Kids | Kanopy - streaming service sponsored by Washington libraries            Audience: ages 2-8

Stream stories, classic tales, and other educational content anytime, anywhere on your preferred devices. Free for you—brought to you by your library. Requires a library card. Most libraries have an online application in order to get digital access.


Read Aloud

Read, Wonder, and Learn!  | Kate Messner website                                                     Audience: ages 2-8

Authors and illustrators share a growing collection of resources that include everything from first-chapter and picture book read-alouds (all shared with permission!) to drawing and writing mini-lessons

Storyline Online | Screen Actors Guild                                                                          Audience: ages 4-8

Streams videos featuring celebrated actors reading children’s books alongside creatively produced illustrations. Each book includes supplemental curriculum developed by a credentialed elementary educator, aiming to strengthen comprehension and verbal and written skills for English-language learners.

Story time from Space | Global Space Education Foundation                                        Audience: ages 4-8

While in space, astronauts are videotaping themselves reading these books to the children of Earth. Astronauts on the ISS will also conduct and videotape educational demonstrations designed by Veteran Canadian Astronaut, Bjarni Tryggvason, to complement the science concepts found in the Story Time From Space books.


Read Aloud Guidance for Schools and Libraries

Reading Allowed: Fair Use Enables Translating Classroom Practices to Online Learning | American University – Washington College of Law

Reading Allowed YouTube Recording



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