Where to Find Free Books for Distance and Remote Learning
This post contains some affiliate links. Purchasing from these links helps me keep this blog running to share education ideas with this community. Thank you for supporting teachers! I haven’t written much about what’s going on in the world because I’ve been trying to get my classes ready for remote learning and make sure my daughter has enrichment at home. Needless to say, it’s been a crazy time, but I absolutely am excited about what is available for our learners because of educational technology and creative teachers.
What I’ve discovered during this time is that there are so many people in the community and the world that truly support educators. My feed has been full of materials to support scholars and teachers.
I’ve had so many suggestions on where to find free reading materials from my librarian friends, fellow teachers, and even parents! I thought I would put these all together to help everyone from kids to parents to figure out where to find free books for remote learning.
10 Places to Find Free Ebooks for Remote Learning
Libby is the newer, more user-friendly version of the Overdrive app that connects to public libraries. Users can access ebooks and audiobooks with a public library card. I love that I can place a hold on Libby, and I automatically get notified when the book is available. Libby is compatible with most online capable devices including Kindle readers and apps.
I’ve used Libby way before I started remote learning, and I am definitely a lifelong fan!
Sora is another reading app powered by Overdrive but is exclusive for schools. Check with your librarian or media specialist to see if your school has access to Sora. This is usually my first stop for YAL books. I’ve read some of my favorite books of the year using the Sora app. If you haven’t checked out the One of Us is Lying series by Karen McManus or The Opposite of Always by Justin Reynolds, those are my favorite YAL books of the last couple of years. They are for more mature YAL audiences, but I would definitely check to see if they are on your Sora App for your own reading pleasure!
Click the links above to preview the texts, but check them out on Sora or other free ebook apps!
Amazon’s Audible is sharing free audio stories for kids. Although I encourage my students to read texts, audiobooks are definitely valuable ways of processing and “reading” stories. Who doesn’t love a read aloud?
They’re not just for our youngest learners either. Click on Teen or Tween for perfect selections for your middle school or high school readers.
Epic! has digital books for up to age 12. Right now, Epic is offering free access to teachers for their classrooms through the end of the school year (June 30, 2020). Parents can get 30 days of free access without a school account.
More than 35,000 titles are available including fiction, nonfiction, audio, and Spanish language selections.
Learning videos from National Geographic and other sources are also available.
You will need to contact your school administrator or Mackin directly to get access to the free eBooks. It’s really easy to get started!
Mackin is offering all classic texts (from elementary through high school) on their site for free through the end of the school year. Check out some of our favorite texts for elementary, middle, and high school students!
This site is perfect for early to upper elementary students. With more than 100 ebooks, you’ll absolutely love these easy to read colorful ebooks to share with your young readers!
Books can be sorted by genre, reading level, ages, and series.
The site also features activities for your students.
NYPL has an app called SimplyE where even non-New York Public Library members can check out books.
It’s just like it sounds. . .simple! I downloaded the app to my Google Pixel and downloaded a book immediately. There are adult books on the app, so be sure to share with parents or older students.
One of my favorite free ebook sites has always been FREE! Project Gutenburg includes books that the U.S. copyright has expired on. For many upper elementary, middle, and high school readers (and adults!), this is a chance to explore some of the classics.
Here are a few books I found on Project Gutenburg:
Just click the link to find ebooks and audiobooks for students! There are elementary, middle, and high school streams to reach your readers’ needs. I found middle-level biographies (including one on Lin Manuel Miranda of Hamilton fame, Building Blocks of Science books on various topics for elementary, and YAL science fiction for high school. There’s something for everyone!
Even if you don’t have Kindle Unlimited, there are so many free ebooks to read on Amazon’s platform! I sort books by price and then category or simply search 0.00 to find freebies!
Kindle Unlimited also has a free trial right now for a month. This isn’t something I would have kids sign up for, but you can certainly use it for your own home or personal reading! (Bonus: Harry Potter books are free on Kindle Unlimited!)
Other Remote Learning + Reading Ideas
Don’t stop at reading! Let reading be an activity that can help students collaborate with each other. Try using Flipgrid to have students create book talks or talk about the books they’re reading with classmates.
Part of my students’ remote learning responsibilities are to do some choice reading. I want to give them access to books while they are still practicing safe social distancing. These sites and apps with free ebooks are perfect to use for distance learning and all yearlong.
Feel free to comment or message with additional resources for free ebooks or audiobooks. I will be sure to add them to the list!
P.S. If you’ve thought about starting a Flipped Classroom, this is the perfect opportunity. Check out our Flipped Classroom resources!
P.P.S. If you need any help in your transition to remote or e-learning, please send me a message or an email. Join our mailing list (below) for posts and tips. We’re all in this together!