Books, ebooks, and audiobooks, oh my!

Key points:

My 2023 #BritReads book tally experienced a massive slowdown in April when my husband and I welcomed Holden Lane to the world. After about a week of silent late-night feedings, I found myself dozing off while reading a print book. It had nothing to do with the nature of the content and everything to do with the fact that I was simply tired. Because I’m a compulsive multi-tasker, I decided the overnight feedings called for earbuds and audiobooks. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t dozed off or zoned out for a section here or there, but overall, audiobooks have allowed me to get my #BritReads book fix in, even with a newborn. 

Despite my affinity for audiobooks, looking at the book industry sales figures, it is clear print is still king. I agree, there’s nothing like turning the page of a print book. But audiobook critics say the format doesn’t count as reading…I disagree.…Read More

Digital On-Demand Class Sets for Required Curriculum Books Now Available in Sora Student Reading App

CLEVELAND – To help educators provide students with the books they need as efficiently as possible, OverDrive Education announced the new On-Demand Class Set digital access model for curriculum titles. This model makes available ebooks and audiobooks on-demand in the Sora reading app to as many students as needed, with or without codes. Digital On-Demand Class Sets give schools the flexibility to allocate budget for assigned classroom reading even in situations where classes and rosters are not finalized. Educators can use this model – as well as many other cost-effective models in the OverDrive Marketplace – with required reading for English language arts, history, social science and other classes, as well as for all-school required reads and literature circles.  

Educators can buy digital On-Demand Class Sets in bulk to correspond with the units of study and modules they plan to teach throughout the school year. Rostering a list of students is not required, so schools can purchase the approximate number of class sets they think they’ll need. Students use copies as needed, and if demand is higher than anticipated, schools can purchase more copies and make them available within hours. When a student borrows an On-Demand Class Set title in Sora, they will have access for three months, ensuring availability throughout their unit of study.

“On-Demand (Digital) Class Set rentals significantly increase our capacity to be responsive to district-wide curriculum needs,” said Suzi Tonini from Denver Public Schools in Colorado. “They’re a smart, responsible use of our curriculum budget dollars. In short, they’re a game-changer!”…Read More

Capstone Interactive eBook Platform Relaunches With Enhanced Accessibility for Children

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – August 17, 2022 – Capstone, an innovative learning company merging children’s content with easy-to-use edtech tools for K-5 classrooms, libraries, and home, announces substantial enhancements to its Capstone Interactive eBooks platform. Among the improvements, the eBook platform and reader will be Section 508 compliant and WCAG 2.1 rated, ensuring Capstone Interactive is accessible to children with vision, cognitive, physical, and hearing disabilities.

Another significant update includes its integration within Capstone’s PebbleGo environment, the subscription-based content hub for cross-curricular instruction and research. Educators and students can easily discover and begin reading Capstone Interactive eBooks through a new “eBooks” tab as part of their subscription, reducing the need for keeping track of additional logins and website URLs. Educators can also easily share a direct link to an eBook, allowing students access with a single click.

The platform will also be mobile-responsive, improving student’s experience through intuitive touchscreen navigation and providing at-home and on-the-go access on smartphones, tablets, and computers to support school-to-home programs and independent learning.…Read More

Popular Ebooks and Audiobooks Keep Students Reading All Summer Long

CLEVELAND – May 6, 2022 As schools seek innovative new strategies to increase reading and learning, teachers are using digital tools inside and outside the classroom. In response, OverDrive Education is offering the most expansive Sora Sweet Reads summer reading program yet, May 4–August 17. In its ninth year, this free program is designed to help educators and students beat the “summer slide” with popular digital reading materials through the award-winning Sora student reading app. Currently, over 53,000 schools around the world are opting into the program. 

Sora Sweet Reads provides free access to a variety of popular digital books during the next 100+ days to encourage student reading during the rest of the school year and summer break. From May 4 through August 17, students from participating schools worldwide can enjoy free, 24/7 access through the Sora reading app to 50 juvenile and young adult ebooks, audiobooks and Read-Alongs from their school, the largest amount ever offered through the program. The Sora Sweet Reads titles are provided by 21 publishers and divided into elementary, middle and high school sections. Ebook titles include 10 Blind Dates, Sal and Gabi Break the Universe, Ironheart, and Ark Angel. Audiobook titles include Flannery and Game Changer. See the  full list

“When our students began using Sora last spring, they were excited to check out ebooks and we wondered whether that excitement would carry over into the summer months,” said Alexandra Brown, Educational Technology Specialist at National Heritage Academies in Michigan. “When we participated in Sora Sweet Reads our students were so enthusiastic about the selection of books that our checkouts surpassed all our expectations. Sora Sweet Reads gave our students access to ‘always available’ books ensuring there was no waiting list and students could read favorites at the same time as their friends.” …Read More

Sora “Content Bundles” Feature Empowers Educators to Easily Reserve Digital Books for Specific Students

CLEVELAND – January 18, 2022 – Educators who are looking for more efficient ways to support reading outcomes have a new solution: Content Bundles. This new feature allows educators to reserve and bundle digital books from their school’s Sora collection, offering exclusive access for select students based on specific scenarios. Using a code, the students can then unlock and read the ebooks and audiobooks in Sora, the leading student reading app available in more than 53,000 schools worldwide.

“Content Bundles is the very feature we have been looking to implement in our Sora shared collection,” said Ken Zimmerman, Supervisor of Educational Technology at Lancaster-Lebanon IU13 in Pennsylvania. ”This provides us with so many options to filter content to meet specific district, classroom and learning needs.”

Content Bundles are a flexible tool that can serve as an effective solution for many common education scenarios, both inside and outside the classroom. For instance, educators can:…Read More

Digital Magazines Now Available to K-12 Schools Worldwide in Sora Reading App

In response to educators’ need for more digital content to support classroom learning, OverDrive Education now offers popular digital magazines to schools around the world via the Sora student reading app. Schools can purchase an affordable bundle of 50 always-available educational and recreational magazines for all students who use Sora. Sora is the student reading app available in more than 50,000 schools worldwide.

An award-winning app known for ebooks and audiobooks, Sora unifies a simple user experience for students, including easy issue selection and single article view. Educators can now purchase the curated collection of the most popular titles for schools includes National Geographic Kids, TIME for Kids, The Week Junior and more. Schools can choose Juvenile, Young Adult and Adult packages and remove any titles from their collection as needed. More information about the magazine titles can be found here (title availability may vary by region).

“We’re so excited to offer a range of periodicals across the grade levels,” said Susan Nakasone, Librarian at Ewa Beach Elementary in Hawaii. “Adding these to our shared collection will provide greater accessibility and choice in reading material to all our students. Our students’ nonfiction informational reading engagement just got a huge boost!”…Read More

How digital books connect vulnerable students with reading

The definition of success is a “favorable or desired outcome.” At Title I schools, where students are often at a disadvantage from the start, measuring success can look different depending on the student and the circumstance. So when it comes to reading, sometimes success can look like a student simply picking up a book.

In my classroom, students generally read below grade level. However, the increasing prevalence of 1:1 device programs over the last year sparked a significant improvement in their reading habits by providing more access to ebooks and audiobooks. Using digital books has given students access to a wider variety of texts at different reading levels that they can browse with a degree of privacy, removing stigma and instilling a love of reading.

Confidential access to digital books for readers of all abilities…Read More

Delaware Ensures Every Student Has Digital Access to Curriculum and Choice Reading Titles

CLEVELAND – June 29, 2021 – With schools facing the challenge of unfinished learning due to the pandemic, one state is proving itself a pioneer. The Delaware Department of Education (DDOE) announced an agreement with OverDrive Education to provide access to online books to every K-12 student in the state. Students use their school credentials to read required and recreational digital books in the Sora student reading app. Students will also have seamless access to age-appropriate popular ebooks and audiobooks from the Delaware Libraries’ digital collection as a result of the new partnership with the DDOE.

The DDOE invested federal Education Stabilization Funds (ESF) to provide students with access to educational and popular digital books that will be available to 221 schools and their 144,000 students. This “ Delaware Accelerate Learning” digital collection is available for students to borrow and read on any device inside the classroom, at home and anywhere 24/7. Sora is a popular reading app used by millions of students in over 48,000 schools around the world.

“We are excited all public school students in Delaware will have the opportunity this summer to immerse themselves in literacy,” Secretary of Education Susan Bunting said.…Read More

Understanding ebooks: Which model is right for your district?

It’s been almost one year since the country shut down, and schools are still adapting to the new normal of remote and hybrid learning environments–with a newfound reliance on digital books. While ebooks and audiobooks were already a part of many classrooms before COVID-19, they’re now a staple and will likely remain one for the foreseeable future.

Schools are increasingly turning to digital books to engage students in all subjects and encourage reading. Usage has been on the rise for years, but now ebooks are more critical than ever, especially with disruptions in the physical book supply chain. With the digital shift in full swing, it’s important to understand how digital books work, including the differences between digital and print pricing and availability.

In addition to benefits such as 24/7 access, flexibility, and no risk of damage or loss – ebooks and audiobooks support K-12 learning in many ways.…Read More

Covid’S Hit on Education and Literacy Levels Will Impact a Generation – Can Ebooks Help Us?

Scholastic US research indicates that of children who had read an eBook, 26% of boys and 16% of girls said they were reading more books as a result. National Literacy Trust research found that boys were significantly more likely to say that they read on screen (65.7%) than in print (55.4%) outside school.[1]

To help tackle falling literacy levels and utilise the reading skills and motivation benefited from eBooks, ‘Nimble Stories’, a new eBook start-up company is launching a crowdfunding effort on Thursday, 4 March 2021.

Nimble Stories is an easy eBook subscription service for Schools, Parents and Guardians, providing short stories and children’s books – perfect for learning, fun adventures and bedtime reads. Nimble Stories will be releasing new titles every week, meaning you can always find something new – across both fiction and non-fiction categories. With unlimited downloads, your subscription makes sure the fun never stops. There’s no limit or allowance to worry about – just complete access to the entire Nimble Stories’ library, as if it were your own. All eBooks are easy to read, available offline and can even be printed at home or in the classroom.…Read More

With Print Supplies Disrupted, More Schools Adopt Digital Books

With a record number of students going back to school online, educators are urgently turning to digital books in place of print for their established curriculum. In response to this need, OverDrive Education, the leading digital reading platform for K-12 schools worldwide, today announced support for several major curriculum systems. This means that schools can provide instant access to assigned titles as ebooks and audiobooks for in-class and distance learning for all students.

More than 35,000 schools have shifted to OverDrive Education for digital books as the company has significantly expanded its catalog to include grade-leveled class sets aligned to teaching units. To supply both required and recommended ebooks and audiobooks for the classroom, the company is collaborating with a variety of the most popular curriculum developers including EL Education, StudyForge and Schoolwide. With a growing catalog of over one million premium digital titles, students can benefit from anytime, anywhere access with the Sora reading app. In demand curriculum titles include Just Mercy, The Lightning Thief, Hidden Figures, Llama Llama Time to Share, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, Ghost and A Long Walk to Water.

“Though there are many challenges and barriers in education right now, Sora has made it so that student access to worthy texts is not one of them,” said Kim King, Director of Virtual Learning & Media Services of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. “OverDrive worked hard to help us be strategic within our budget to get our students one-to-one access to our anchor texts and a circulating collection of supplemental texts to build our students’ content knowledge and enthusiasm for reading.”…Read More