With schools closing around the world and districts racing to develop remote learning programs, educational publishers, booksellers, and nonprofits are helping families and educators with free offerings. Below we compile updates on collections of digital books for students, both K-12 and higher ed.
The subscription reading and audio site always had a 30-day “free trial” with a credit card on file, but now through this page you can use the site for free without giving them a provisional card.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
The first book in JK Rowling’s series is available for free, as an audio narrated by Stephen Fry through Audible’s free stories collection, and as an ebook and an audiobook to OverDrive library patrons can borrow the title, through the end of April. The offers are part of a larger Harry Potter At Home iniative.
Sesame Street has made a large collection of over 100 ebooks for young readers available for free, through April 30, through Apple Books, Kobo and Nook (and likely all other ebooksellers as well).
Free educational resources have been aggregated on the Smithsonian’s new Distance Learning page. Resources include “tailored lesson plans tied to national learning standards and added support for educators and parents.” In addition, Smithsonian Science Education Center has made all their free content available in one place to be used by students, teachers, or caregivers.
TIME for Kids
Previously available only in classrooms, TIME for Kids — suitable in various editions for students in Kindergarten through fifth grade — is now available for free online. (It is supported by Google, AT&T, HP and PwC Charitable Foundation.”
Random House Children’s, Penguin Children’s and Parents Magazine
Their new site READ TOGETHER, BE TOGETHER presents daily virtual storytimes, starting Monday March 23 at 3:00 PM Eastern — with bestselling and award-winning authors and illustrators, and celebrity readers. The first week features readings by Misty Copeland, Danica McKellar, Tiffani Thiessen and Brady Smith, Scott Kelly, and B. J. Novak. As part of the initiative, Penguin Random House is also donating 750,000 books to First Book.
They are streaming a big collection of free stories for children and students. “For as long as schools are closed, we’re open. Kids everywhere 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.”
Penguin Random House Audio
A free “Listen at Home” collection of classic titles is accessible through their Volumes app, through April 30.
K-12 Books and Courses
Focused on materials in English and Spanish for K-6 use, their free resources include provide free access to English, Spanish and dual-language libraries of hundreds of ebooks. (It includes an At-Home Family Guide for engagement ideas.)
The publisher is “expanding on our established My First Book Club, which offers a number of resources for young readers” including chats with authors in the coming weeks. Other resources can be found on their YouTube Channel. They are also “working on a suite of special offers to support the efforts of teachers, librarians and retailers to make our e-books for all ages as accessible as possible.”
Chicago Review Press
A new e-learning site presents free books and educational resources for educators, parents and students. They draw on the publisher’s lines in language arts, STEM, social studies and art.
This digital learning platform for educators and students, is expanding free access to their collection of over 40,000 books, audiobooks, and videos. Registered educators and librarians can extend free remote access to the platform to their students, through the end of the school year, June 30, by send digital invitations to their students.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
The publisher has made a range of resources available, including flexible curriculum access and virtual professional development delivery; AI-driven personalized learning platforms Waggle, Writable and Amira; free daily activities and learning tasks for at-home learning; book donations; and more. For complete reference, see their At-Home Learning Support Hub.
The nonprofit’s curriculum platform was always free. They have created a help page for students and teachers new to the platform, with daily support live streams at 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. ET daily. They have courses available for preK through early college.
They have a database of activities, educator guides, discussion guides, and other downloadable resources to make them easily accessible and shareable for booksellers, educators, librarians, and parents. Separately, there are numerous resources available for download on the their School & Library website.
Mcgraw-Hill is offering free remote learning support for K-12 schools, educators, and parents.
Room to Read
The literacy organization is offering a library of celebrity read-aloud videos, plus hundreds of free digitized children’s books, available for the first time publicly through their online learning platform, Literacy Cloud.
The children’s book publisher has curated a Learn at Home resource for families, teachers, and administrators. The “free digital learning hub” is “designed to support virtual learning plans” and has four offerings: preK and kindergarten; grades 1 and 2; grades 3 to 5; and grades 6+. It provides “approximately three hours of learning opportunities per day, for up to four weeks of instruction,” with plans to release 16 weeks of content.
Simon & Schuster
Reading group and teaching guides, authors studies and more from the publisher can be found at The Book Pantry.
Star Bright Books
The publisher is offering online PDFs of four picture books each week (three English, one Spanish).
Cambridge University Press
The publisher is providing free, online access to 700 higher education textbooks.
For US colleges that have moved to remote learnings, they provide students free access to all of their digital platforms and 14,000 ebooks through Cengage Unlimited, for the remainder of this semester.
These condensed guides to over 20,000 nonfiction books are available to students as well as corporate users for free until May 18.
Providing free access to LaunchPad, Sapling, iClicker, or FlipIt to help instructors and students through the remainder of the spring 2020 semester and the winter 2020 quarter.
iClicker: Students and instructors will now have access to iClicker for the rest of the academic term to anyone who is moving their current course online due to COVID-19.
This Rice University initiative, which already provides free open source textbooks, has collected information from 28 of their online homework providers offering free digital access to courseware, homework help and more during this period. Their own online homework offerings, OpenStax Tutor and Rover by OpenStax, are now free through the end of the semester.
The education technology company RedShelf is collaborating with its publishing partners to offer college students free access to eBooks for the remainder of the semester.
Institutions are able to access more than 500 key undergraduate and graduate textbooks across Springer Nature’s eBook subject collections for free, until at least the end of July.
University Press Books and Journals
Presses at Johns Hopkins, Ohio State, University of Nebraska, University of North Carolina, and Temple have made all of their books — and in some cases journals, too — available free digitally through the Project MUSE site. The newly-free content is flagged with a “Free” icon when students search the site, and they are updating the list of participating publishers.
VitalSource and Barnes & Noble Education
VitalSource is Ingram Content Group’s digital textbook platform. In conjunction with participating publishers, they are providing free access to digital textbooks for students at campuses where the bookstore is managed by BN College. (Participating publishers include McGraw-Hill, Pearson, Cengage, Wiley, Macmillan Learning, and many more, and free access is promised through the remainder of the Spring 2020 term.) Students are instructed to log into the VitalSource Bookshelf app using their school email address, where they can then find and view the free course materials from participating publishers via the Explore capabilities within Bookshelf.
Instructors can contact them for information on free access to their most popular online courseware products, InQuizitive and Smartwork.
They are providing instructors without an adopted online learning solution, such as WileyPLUS, Knewton Alta or zyBooks, free access for their students for the remainder of the Spring 2020 term.