One of the best things to do with your kid while schools are closed and classes are held online is to simply read with them. Read to them, help them practice reading, listen to books together, and let them read their favorite stories to you.
Thankfully, even with our school library closed and many libraries and bookstores closed or with reduced hours, there are ways for you to access new books to read with your kids! Check out these seven ways to read books during the coronavirus pandemic.
1. Your local library’s digital collection
Aurora’s Alice M Farr Library gives its library members access to OverDrive, an app where you can borrow ebooks and audiobooks for free. You simply log in with your library card. Many libraries offer similar access to digital collections of books, so check with your local library to see what ebooks and audiobooks you can borrow digitally while staying home.
2. Order books from indie bookstores
Independently owned bookstores across the country are being forced to cut hours and close to in-store customers. If you are able to, order books, puzzles, or gift certificates from indie bookstores during this time to support them financially. Many stores are offering free or low-cost shipping.
Here are some indie bookstores in Nebraska to support:
Susan’s Used Bookstore & Vintage Gifts in Aurora
Susan’s Used Bookstore is accepting orders through their website and offers curbside delivery so you can drive up and grab the items you ordered. The store is currently open 10 AM to 3 PM Monday through Saturday. In addition to books, they’re selling games, puzzles, crafts, and more. Gift certificates are also available.
Chapters Books & Gifts in Seward
You can order (or preorder) books online to be delivered to your home or for pickup at Chapters Books & Gifts. You can also order audiobooks through Libro.fm to support the store. If you’re up for a roadtrip down Highway 34, you can call Chapters to request curbside delivery of books, gifts, or toys and pay over the phone with a credit card. The store will have your items ready for you and bring them out to your car when you arrive in downtown Seward. Gift certificates are also available.
Indigo Bridge Books & Cafe in Lincoln
Indigo Bridge Books & Cafe in Lincoln accepts orders through their online site, and if you order over the phone or online, the shipping rate will be 50 percent off. The store is open for curbside pickup while the store is closed to the public.
A Novel Idea Bookstore in Lincoln
The used bookstore A Novel Idea Bookstore in Lincoln is offering free shipping on orders over $50 and free curbside delivery to your car. Right now, the store is open for curbside delivery Tuesday through Saturday from 12–6 PM. They highlight available books frequently on their Facebook Page. You can also purchase gift certificates from A Novel Idea.
If you or your kids are into audiobooks, check out Libro.fm, an audiobook app that lets you support your local bookstore. During the coronavirus pandemic, when you start a membership with the code SHOPBOOKSTORESNOW, you’ll get two audiobooks for the price of one ($14.99), and 100 percent of your payment will go to a designated indie bookstore. Indigo Bridge in Lincoln and Chapters Books and Gifts in Seward offer Libro.fm memberships, and your payment will help these bookstores directly.
Scribd’s digital library is free for the next 30 days through this link with no credit card or subscription commitment required. Their library includes millions of audiobooks, ebooks, magazine articles, and more. Their goal is to be a resource and ensure everyone has access to ways to read books during the coronavirus pandemic.
Epic is offering free worldwide remote student access to Epic through June 30, 2020. To sign up, students just need their teacher to invite them, and teachers can set up educator accounts for free. Teachers then must send each student’s parent or guardian an invitation from the student roster page.
Mrs. C has already invited her fifth and sixth grade students to Epic. If your child’s teacher hasn’t already, ask them to sign up for a free account to access Epic’s library!
6. Facebook Live readings
Bookstores, libraries, authors, and even kids are streaming readaloud times on Facebook Live. This is a great way to find new books for your kid to read without buying new books!
Our very own HLS student Chaz is reading a book on The Leadership Center’s Facebook Live every night at 7 PM for his classmates. You can find one of his live readings below:
Left Bank Books in St. Louis is offering lots of virtual readings. You can browse their Facebook videos to see virtual readalouds with their staff members.
Indigo Bridge in Lincoln is hosting a Facebook Live for story times on Tuesdays and Fridays at 10 AM Check their Facebook Page for more info.
Audible is an audiobook streaming service by Amazon. They usually charge monthly subscription fees starting at $14.95, but during the coronavirus pandemic, they’ve opened up their library of audiobooks for free to the public so kids can read audiobooks while they’re home from school. Audible says, “For as long as schools are closed, we’re open.” The audiobooks are free to stream on any mobile device or computer.