As millions of parents are juggling working from home with full-time care of their children and an expectation that they will help in their schooling, many are looking for online resources that can simultaneously engage and enrich. Luckily, the internet currently abounds with cool projects, fun audio, and great writing that combine entertainment and instruction. To help, we have collected a list of resources that fit this criteria.
Online Poetry Workshops by California Poets in the Schools
Professional poets from this eminent writers-in-the-schools program have come together in response to school closures across California to offer creative poetry writing lessons for youth. These free, online workshops are conducted through slide shows that contain the lessons: students are guided as they read great poems, think about what they want to write about themselves, and then draft their own poems. The collection is growing daily and lessons will continue to be added throughout the pandemic.
Junior Library Guild @ Home: Reading Resources
During these school closures, Junior Library Guild (JLG) is offering free access to its digital online reading platform. This means students can, without logging in, access hundreds of titles digitally. This includes JLG Gold Standard eBooks for Elementary, Middle School, and High School students. Students just click the school-level book stream of their choice and will be automatically logged in. You can use this on a computer or load the JLG app to another convenient device. JLG also offers occasional webcasts with authors—check the site for timing.
Another way to access great books is through Project Gutenberg, which at all times allows free access to more than 60,000 e-books that can be downloaded or read online. The Project Gutenberg collection includes many older works for which US copyright has expired. Thousands of volunteers are constantly digitizing and diligently proofreading the eBooks, for enjoyment and education. The provided link will take you to Project Gutenberg’s “Children’s Bookshelf.”
Six Word Memoirs
This resource collects more than a million six-word life stories, each responding to the question, “Can you tell your life story in six words?” They are collecting stories of life during what they call “Coronatimes,” and anybody is invited to add their own take. Teenagers may be particularly interested in the “Teen” section of the website.
Ever wonder how inflatable men came to be regular fixtures at used car lots? Curious about the origin of the fortune cookie? Want to know why Sigmund Freud opted for a couch over an armchair? Listening to this podcast may be the only way to answer these pressing questions. This podcast explores the design of the world around us. Named after the principle that good design should be “99% invisible,” host Roman Mars is never less than enthusiastic and interested in the world. Students of all ages will find themselves learning more about the world they live in. Subscribe in a podcast app or listen through the website.
The We Are YA Podcast on Anchor
Listen in to this podcast from Penguin YA. The hosts interview famous YA authors including Randy Ribay, Kat Cho, Adib Khorram, Melissa De La Cruz, and Jennifer Dugan. Students will benefit from listening to discussions both with their favorite YA authors and also with new authors whose books they will now want to seek out and read.
Audible, an audiobook service from Amazon, is offering free audiobook streaming for children, teens, or anyone that wants to listen! Audible is waiving the monthly fee for as long as schools are closed. Kids can instantly stream a collection of stories, including titles across six different languages, and are available on desktop, laptop, phone or tablet.
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