Free Online Books for Children Part 1
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Professor Garfield’s Toon Reader offers 11 free graphic novel readable online. They provide books in English, French, Spanish, Russian and Chinese. There is also a large collection of physical Toon Books graphic novels which you can browse below. The site also has further activities and lessons on a wide range of subjects.
You can download lesson plans on the Toon Books website.
A bilingual literacy programme, Read Conmigo offers books in English and Spanish. Their mission is to “provide parents and teachers free tools and resources to help them foster a love of reading among their children and students.”
They also provide educational apps and literacy resources for children up to 11 years old. Free sign up gives you access to 45 ebooks in English and Spanish. For those in some select US cities, Read Conmigo will send one free book per household.
Storyberries provides access to quality free children’s stories. Their selection includes classic and modern stories with vivid illustrations. They provide discussion guides for issues brought up in the books, including bullying, self-confidence, empathy, jealousy. Storyberries “hope to harness the power of literature to empower children to understand their own evolving nature and special place in the world.”
- Topics, such as animals, dinosaurs, mysteries, etc
- Types of books – picture books, fairy tales, chapter books, poems and comics
- Length – From 5 – 20 minutes
- Age – Preschool to 5th grade
- Conversations, such as happiness, stranger danger manners, gratitude, etc
What child wouldn’t love to have a real Astronaut read them a book from the Space Station! Story Time from Space is a non-profit endeavour from the Global Space Education Foundation. Astronauts on the ISS read both fiction and non-fiction books, and not just about space.
Some astronauts conducted experiments on the space station which are also on the website. Over time, Story Time From Space will add cross-content curriculum resources to support the Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core.
The ICDL’s mission is to provide access to books from all over the world representing every culture and language. They highlight a paper published by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (2005). It states “Denial to access to information in one’s mother tongue is equivalent to a denial of a human right.”
As families move from country to country it’s difficult to access books in their mother tongue and about familiar cultural representations. ICDL books provide access to literature from their own culture and language and from the world community.
Robert Munsch provides the narration to a large selection of his books. You can listen to the free audio online or download them as an mp3 file to play on a portable device. Munsch also gives detailed background to how he came up with the inspiration for each book.
Storynory, around since 2005, gives away free audio stories. Their audio files are available through their podcast and online. Book categories include original stories, fairy tales, classics, educational stories, myths and poems.
Starfall has been around since 2002. Their systematic and interactive approach is used by many children every day to learn to read. As well as many games and activities they provide a range of books for online reading. Genres include myths and fables, comics, fiction, non-fiction and plays. They provide different levels of books from ABC’s to independent reading. For parents and teachers, they have a resource centre, including guides, worksheets and curriculum-oriented resources.
You can access much of the website for free, though you can expand your access through their membership programme. They have home ($35), teacher ($70), classroom ($150) and school ($270) memberships.
Storyline, from the SAG-AFTRA (non-profit) Foundation, provides access to many well-known books. They are read by famous actors, including Viola Davis, Chris Pine, James Earl Jones, Betty White and many more.
They boast of 100 million annual global views from homes, classroom and hospitals. Storyline provide curriculum information to strengthen children’s comprehension and verbal and written skills. You can download their app for mobile devices.