Inside: These 5 websites include good quality, free online books for kids. These are stories you’ll want to read with your kids!
I am a BIG advocate of reading with children and I really do believe the biggest way you can make an impact to a child’s lifelong learning journey is by reading together.
I am a bit of a traditionalist and prefer good, old fashioned paper and ink type books for reading with my girls but with a recent study reporting that 91.4% of children of families surveyed have access to touch screen technology and that over a quarter of them are reading or looking at books on their device at least once in a typical week, I realise that accessing good quality kids books via this technology is also important. The aforementioned study also found that young children are more likely to have above average vocabulary attainment if they look at or read both printed stories and stories on a touch screen, compared with those who read printed stories alone regardless of socioeconomic status. Which is certainly interesting!
Whether you are reading print books or online books and ebooks, choosing good quality titles to read is vitally important and so I set off on an online treasure hunt to find sites that provide good quality, free online books for kids (most of these can be read on a computer, tablet or phone).
That being said the first place I would start is with your local, public library. All of the members of our family borrow and read a lot of ebooks through the Overdrive and BorrowBox apps thanks to our public library. There are a number of membership library apps a public service can use for lending ebook and audiobook versions – like Libby, Sora, Overdraive and Hoopla. So my recommendation is start there if you can.
If that is not an option for you however, here are five book websites for kids that I believe are most definitely worth a look.
5 Great Collections of Free Online Books for Kids
1. Oxford Owl
You will need to register (at no charge) for Oxford University Press’ Oxford Owl collection. Not all of the books on the site are free (it is also a bookshop) but there over 250 free ebooks.
2. Storyline Online
A little different to the other sites on this list, at the Screen Actors Guild Foundation’s Storyline Online famous actors read fabulous children’s books in a somewhat virtual storytime. There are some minor animation elements of the original book illustrations and the readings are awesome. Who could go past Betty White reading Harry the Dirty Dog!
4. Barnes & Noble’s Free Nook Book Collection
Similarly, the Barnes & Nobles Free Nook Book collection offers a huge number of quality titles to read that are super easy to sort by age category or genre.
While not completely free, the awesome video book platform Vooks currently offers a free one month trial for families. We love Vooks and their library of animate picture books is constantly being added to. The read along feature is great for beginning readers.
Book Dash is a not-for-profit organisation that brings together creative professionals as volunteers to create books for kids with an objective to get more books into the hands, hearts and minds of young children.
The aim of Storyberries is to create a free, online collection of quality stories, comics, fairy tales and poems for children, offering both classic and contemporary stories with vibrant illustrations.
8. Scholastic Online Magazines