Parents, take a pause. Perspective can certainly be helpful for this new adventure of homeschooling in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak. Beyond teacher guidelines for your child, have you thought about your primary learning objectives? Are reading and writing development among your intentions? If you answered “yes,” put on your parent-teacher hat, embrace a growth mindset, and peruse this index of services, resources, and tools, curated to assist your school at home endeavor.
Remember to check back to this dynamic series with new and changing content!
First, some general precepts:
Listening to stories and books fosters the same reading development as reading books in print.
Graphic novels and comics contribute as much to reading growth as narrative books.
Be open to new formats, methods, and tools for learning.
Choose eBooks over no books. If your reader is coveting a title or series and only the eBook is available, will the choice be made by the reader?
Above all, enjoy the ride!
Hoopla – eGraphic novels.
Libby app – picture book read-alongs.
TumbleBookLibrary (grades K-6) – database of storybooks, read-alongs, eBooks (early readers, chapter books, advanced readers, graphic novels, nonfiction), and other digital content.
Audible Stories – audiobooks for children by age range. No login or membership required.
Story Pirates (ages 3+) – mix of silly stories for kids, by kids, with celebrity voices and fun songs.
Brains On! (all ages) – entertaining way to learn about a plethora of topics, from American Public Media.
But Why (all ages) – diverse show for curious kids with questions by kids, from Vermont Public Radio.
Wow in the World (all ages) – entertaining and informative study of interesting science and technology subjects from NPR.
The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian (ages 6-12) – sci-fi adventures of an 8-year-old boy who explores the galaxy on a space station and solves mysteries with friends.
EarSnacks (ages 4-8) – wacky duo Andrew & Polly cover subjects that includes music, science, art, and culture.
National Geographic Kids Greeking Out – kid-friendly retelling of the best Greek myths.
Kids Ask Authors with Grace Lin – podcast episodes featuring favorite children’s authors. Kids can submit a question, book review, poem, or joke.
Book Club for Kids (middle grade) – features three students discussing a favorite book, along with an author interview and celebrity reading.
The Story Seeds Podcast (ages 6-12) – kids collaborate with real authors by supplying story ideas which grow into original stories. Join the club with your own podcast!
Remember Reading – each episode uncovers the unique story behind a classic book, from Harper Collins.
25 Best Podcasts for Kids – list from Common Sense Media.
Mac Barnett – daily read-aloud on Instagram Live.
Pete the Cat Club – James Dean will be live on Instagram, every weekday at 9am PST.
Dan Gutman – read-alouds from My Weird School series on Facebook Live.
Peter H. Reynolds – picture book read-alouds on Fridays at 9am PST on Facebook Live.
Grace Lin – book readings and drawing lessons on YouTube.
Debbie Ridpath Ohi – resources, activities, and read-alouds on Youtube.
Kate Messner – Read, Wonder, and Learn! with read-alouds, activities, links to educational sources, and more.
Brightly Storytime Penguin Random House – live every weekday at 11am PST on Instagram.
HarperKids from Home – read-alouds, activities, and entertaining content live every weekday at 9am PST on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
Scholastic Storybook Treasures – read-aloud playlists on YouTube.
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library – every night Dolly will read carefully chosen stories at 4pm PST on YouTube.
The Spanish Experiment – stories translated into Spanish and spoken by a native Spanish speaker. Read along in Spanish or English.
#OperationStorytime – author, illustrator, celebrity live events on Twitter.
Iris and April Storytime (toddler–PreS) – storytime segments from Fairfax children’s librarians on YouTube.
Read Together Be Together – live picture book readings with favorite authors and celebrities from Penguin Random House.
Story Time From Space (elementary) – 30-minute STEM book read-alouds by NASA astronauts about life sciences, earth and space observation, human health and biology, scientists, engineering and robotics, physical sciences, art, and language arts.
Storyline Online (ages 4+) – celebrity actor read-alouds on SAG-AFTRA Foundation children’s literacy website.
Storynory (target age 7 -11) – website and podcast with 600+ original stories written and performed by professional storytellers.
SaveWithStories – celebrity picture book readings on Instagram. In partnership with Save the Children and No Kid Hungry.
Harry Potter at Home – magical craft videos, articles, quizzes, puzzles, and more for first-time readers as well as experienced travelers of the wizarding world. Also on Twitter, Instagram, and Face book.
Dav Pilkey at Home – read-alouds, drawing, painting, and creativity launchers from favorite author of Dog Man and Captain Underpants! New content added every Friday by Scholastic.
Rick Riordan – a wide array of parent teacher resources for the mythology series.
Read Riordan – articles and activities for titles from Rick Riordan Presents.
Shel Silverstein Learning Resources – fun lessons, event kits, activities, videos, games, and audio tracks.
Matt de la Pena Stuck at Home – heartwarming letters to students and parents.
Seussville – Dr. Seuss-themed crafts, activities, games and videos.
Christian McKay Heidicker – author visit with 2020 Newbery Honor winner of Scary Stories for Young Foxes, from Macmillan.
Encantos (ages 14 and under) – bilingual English and Spanish content with an educational theme for apps, books, games, music, streaming video, and more.
TeachingBooks – strategies, tools, activities and resources to connect students with books and authors.
MadLibs in the Classroom (ages 6-8) – 20-page workbook samplers, downloadable from Penguin.
DisneyBooks (all ages) – reading guides, activities, discussion questions, and trivia quizzes for popular Disney series.
Toon Books (ages 3-12) – select easy-to-read comics books are available online, along with make-your-own cartoons, crafts, and other activities.
Harper at Home – assortment of programs on all social media platforms from HarperCollins.
Read & Learn with Simon Kids – read-alouds, activities, downloadables, discussion questions, curriculum guides, and more from Simon & Schuster.
Scholastic Virtual Book Fest – authors and kids engage in activities during scheduled time slots. Check site for the next date!
Barefoot Books – animated singalongs, at-home activity kits, and storytimes with themes such as managing anxiety, mindfulness, yoga, and making connections.
ReadBrightly – reading activities blog by age range from Penguin Random House.
Kate DiCamillo – weekly writing prompt videos on YouTube.
Keri Smith – Wreck This Journal author/artist offers daily exploratory writing adventures.
Poetic Journeys for Kids (elementary school) – hands-on poetry lessons by Prartho Sereno, former Poet Laureate of Marin County.
New York Times Student Editorial Contest (ages 10-19 middle and high school students) – write a short, evidence-based persuasive essay (450 words or less) similar to daily The New York Times editorials. Deadline extended to April 21!
MCFL wants to be your partner along this unprecedented path. Contact us if you need assistance and we will reply as quickly as we can. We love to hear from our patrons and learn how we can serve you better! Please stay healthy and continue to read the Kids at Home series on KidsBlog.
n.a. (2020, February 17). Audiobooks and literacy: A rapid review of the literature. National Literacy Trust. [website]
n.a. (2020, March 27). Resources. MacKids School & Library [website]
n.a. (n.d.) Publisher online resources. The Children’s Book Council [website]
@DPLpaigeone. (n.d.) DPL’s children’s authors – read-alouds! Draw! Join a book club! Live events on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Deschute Public Library. [BiblioCommons Web Resource list]
The Learning Network. (updated 2020, March 25). Our seventh annual student editorial contest is open to all middle and high school students, ages 10-19. New York Times [newspaper online]
Morgan, Carly. (2020, March 25). COVID19 Camp: Free resources to educate and entertain your kids during quarantine. Everclevermom.com [blog]
ReadBrightly Editors. (2020, March 17). Reading through it together: Educational resources && activities to use while the kids are at home. ReadBrightly [blog by Penguin Random House]
Shaffer, Clare. (2020, March 30). Dolly Parton to read children’s books in new series ‘Goodnight with Dolly’. Rolling Stone [online magazine]
Strand, Oliver. (2020, March 16). Virtual storytimes for kids: Authors and venues go online amid coronavirus. Timeout.com [website]
Tolin, Lisa. (2020, March 16). How to homeschool during the coronavirus crisis with free resources. Today.com [website]
Tracy, Liz. (2020, March 18). How to keep the kids busy during social distancing. Miami New Times [website]
Special thanks to MCFL’s reading professionals for many valuable contributions, and the numerous organizations sharing their resources for free!
Photo credit: Kate Rubin reading Rosie Revere Engineer video on Story Times From Space