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Reading Great Books Online

by Miriam Downey 17. September 2013 08:13

Because Free World U is an online school, parents and students are always looking for great books to read online. Today, I would like to share some of my sources for finding books that are available Free online. Although I have mentioned this in previous postings, copyrights for books last for 75 years. This means that a book is not legally available to be free online until it is 75 years old. The good news is that most literature we consider to be classic may be available online if it has been digitalized.

Occasionally, authors allow their out-of-print books to appear on book websites, or occasionally books by publishers that have gone out of business will also show up on free websites. This is particularly true of picture books. There are websites of out-of-print short stories as well.


Here are some places to find free ebooks

The most prominent place to find classic ebooks is Project Gutenberg. Thousands of out-of-print books and books whose copyrights have expired can be found on Project Gutenberg. Let's consider Mother Goose rhymes as an example. If you are looking for a book of Mother Goose rhymes, you would type "Mother Goose" in the Gutenberg's book catalog search and up would come a listing of all the editions of Mother Goose rhymes that are available in their database. There are many choices, and after you pick the one you want, you can either read the book online or download it to your computer or device.

Another way to access classic books is to go to Amazon and search for the title. Recently, I was looking for Wuthering Heights for my Kindle. I went to Amazon and was able to choose the free version which then downloaded to my Kindle. The process is the same as going to the Project Gutenberg website.

My favorite source for online picture books is We Give Books. For every picture book read online, a book is sent to a prominent charity. I notice more and more current books appearing on this website. For instance, the great children's book The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper can be found on We Give Books. Another site for classic books is Lit To Go. The site is sponsored by the University of South Florida, and it has a lot of Spanish editions as well as English editions. It also has books on audio.

Starfall is a website that has a lot of easy reader books for preschool, kindergarten, and first grade. Starfall utilizes phonics and simple stories to teach reading. The stories are cute, and the settings are fun.

Another great source for online reading is East of the Web. This is a site for short stories, which are arranged by categories, including children's stories, crime, fiction, horror, humor, nonfiction, romance, sci-fi, and interactive. It is very user friendly and a delight for the reader.

Perhaps you have discovered another source of online literature that I haven't discussed. Send me a comment, and I will check it out and post it on this blog.

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A New Year in the Library

by Miriam Downey 4. September 2013 17:32

I want to welcome new students to the library at Free World U. Every week or so, I will post an article about books that I consider to be significant or important for students to read. I will also include websites that will be of interest as they relate to subjects in the curriculum. About a year ago, I spent three months working with a group of librarians creating a list of 3000 books that we all considered to be the best books written for children and teenagers. This year, I will highlight those books in my blog postings. Stay tuned for some delightful books, old and new.

I thought it might be helpful at the beginning of another school year to remind us all about where the suggested library books are on the FWU website.

Over the past year, I have added books in two kinds to the library--books that can be found on the Internet and books that can be purchased or found at your local library. The two categories are Online Books and Other Great Books. The books that will be found online are primarily the classics. Copyrights generally last for 75 years. That means if your eighth grader wants to read Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief, which was published in 2006, he/she is most likely not going to find it on the Internet. If it can be found, it is probably a pilfered or pirated copy of the book, and it will be taken down from the Internet as soon as it is discovered by the author or the publisher. You can buy the paperback at the bookstore, purchase the e-book, or visit your local library to check it out.

On the other hand, if your child wants to read Aesop's Fables or Anne of Green Gables, both of these books are available online since the copyrights have expired, and the books are in the public domain. Those classic books can be read online from Project Gutenberg or downloaded free to your computer, Nook, Kindle, or other device. You can find more information about downloading free books on my blog posting, which can be found here.

The other part of the library website includes Research Resources, a listing of websites that can help students with research questions and includes links to the websites. Like the library books, this resource is fluid, and websites are added and subtracted as necessary.

I welcome your comments and your questions. As the librarian, I am here to help with book questions, comments about blog postings, and references for research. I have had 30 years of experience in K-12 libraries, and I love to be of help to the students and parents of Free World U.

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