Librarians across the country have been banging their heads together and have come up with this list of websites where you can access free online books, many of which are out-of-copyright classics.
Some can be read online, and others can be read on screen. A few are also excellent for primary school, so if you have a younger child/sibling have a close look.
Also, if you are a member of a public library this often gives you access to online titles also.
The lock-down could be the perfect opportunity to read that long-lost classic you always wanted to read, but never had the time. Now you do!
Renaissance Publishing are offering free access to over 7000 books. This is predominately aimed at primary ages, but if you have younger siblings there is a lot of fun to be had here.
World Book Day have lots of extracts from books aimed at primary and the lower secondary years.
University level and scholarly articles – If you prefer non-fiction and fancy a challenge, or you want a taster of what university students are expected to read, try a scholarly article/book published and made freely available by a variety of educational establishments.
Project Gutenberg: download classics for free – If you’ve always wanted to read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and never got around to it, check out this amazing resource of classic out-of-copyright classics. You can have the texts sent to your kindle, phone or other eReader.
Lit2Go: listen and read at the same time – Classic novels are available in audio format via this website, which also provides the text so you can read along.
Join the Open Library – You will need to create an internet archive account to download books from this site, but it is free to join. With many of these books a generous donor has paid the license needed to allow the Open Library to lend the book to its users; the other books are out of copyright.
Free Children’s Classics: PDFs & Audiobooks – A small collection of free out-of-copyright books.
How to Find Great Literature Online for Free – If you want to dig very deep into this subject this site is a great place to start.
Storyline Online – Listen to authors reading their own stories online via YouTube and other platforms. Excellent for primary ages.
World Book Online – Ebooks and more free until end of April – This resource gives children access to an EBRARY with more than 400 titles of non-fiction books (mainly aimed at primary and Year 7-8 pupils, depending on literacy levels) and also access to free fiction classics. After filling in the registration form, you will receive a username and password within a few minutes.
- Link: https://www.worldbookonline.com/wb/views/login/freeTrial.jsp
- Link 2: https://www.worldbook.com/wbblog/covidsupport
- Link 3: https://www.worldbookonline.com/training/distance-learning/distance-learning.htm
We Are Teachers – Long list of teachers and authors doing online reading, from nursery to YA activities, but predominately primary.
Authors Live – watch prerecorded author and book events here.
For David Walliam addicts – A free audio story appears here most days.
Libraries4Schools: Free Isolation Resources – comprehensive lists to authors and websites giving things away for free.
Tony Jones (School Librarian & Archivist)