Get Students Excited About Reading

Using Online Resources

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A Word on Copyright Compliance

Many librarians, teachers, and even administrators are trying to stay connected with their students during this time of school closures. It is important to remember that schools are still responsible for remaining in compliance with copyright even though the events of these last couple weeks have been chaotic for us all. This Smore is a curated list of resources that will allow you navigate these muddy waters of copyright and do the right thing when it comes to reading to students online.

The School Library Journal article below sums it up well, "What we do know is that storytime online or in person is a “public performance,” an exclusive right of the copyright holder." It also offers this advice when determining if reading online is crossing the copyright line:

"We can make this determination in a structured way by considering the four factors of fair use:

  • the purpose and character of your use
  • the nature of the copyrighted work
  • the amount and substantiality of the portion taken, and
  • the effect of the use upon the potential market

Making this decision should not be a burden in any sense of the word—it is a measured, reasonable judgment call."

All-in-all, use your best judgement. If you are sharing the story on a closed system such as Google Meet where only your class has access to see the performance, then the risk is minimal. Facebook live would be another story because more people would have access to that.

We hope that the resources below help you to make good choices for your students and model the ethical behavior that we want them to exhibit with regard to copyright. Remember, we want kids reading and talking about books. Instead of reading out loud to them, maybe have them read and then everyone gets together virtually to have a discussion about what everyone is reading. Check back often as we will update this Smore as we receive updated information.

A Message from Kate Messner on Copyright

"Teachers, librarians, & families – Many of you are writing to authors, asking permission to read our books aloud online because schools are closed due to COVID-19. Please know that no matter what you’re seeing on Twitter, most authors – unless they’re self-published – cannot give you legal permission to do this on their own. The only thing we can tell you is what’s “okay with us” personally, and what still feels respectful of our work. That has nothing to do with actual copyright laws and I’m not a lawyer anyway, but I’m happy to share my own personal thoughts, for those who have asked.

You should know that some of us are currently spending hours a day pulling together resources for you. This library I’ve put together includes many picture book read-alouds and first-chapter read alouds, all shared with official permission from their creators & publishers. So please start here:…/"

What I’d personally ask you NOT to do is share read-alouds of entire books publicly on YouTube, etc. because a) that’s far less likely to be considered fair use, even now, and puts you in a shaky place, b) it’s more likely to do harm to creators, and c) it may, in the long term, impact their ability to continue making books for your kids.

THANK YOU to all the teachers & librarians working around the clock to make sure your kids still have resources to books and learning even when schools closed. When the official history of this pandemic is written, you’re all going to be in the Heroes chapter. ❤️"

Kate Messner, Author

Read Kate's entire Facebook post here.

Publishers OK Online Read-Alouds

Approved to Share

Public Domain Resources

Remember, even with permission, please give credit and share citations.
Free eBooks - Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg is a library of over 60,000 free eBooks from the public domain. Choose among free epub and Kindle eBooks, download them or read them online.

Free audiobooks - Lit2Go

Lit2Go is a free online collection of stories and poems in audiobook format. An abstract, citation, playing time, and word count are given for each of the passages.

Curated Resources

An engaging collection of resources that brings books to life. TeachingBooks strives to enrich everyone's experience reading children's and young adult books with our original and curated literary resources.

The LivBits

Let’s Keep Reading! Keep Thinking with Interactive Read Aloud LivBits

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Simultaneous Use Titles for Sora

Sora reading app extends no cost eBooks and audiobooks to remote learners.

Read Alouds and Author Entertainment

Remember, even with permission, please give credit and share citations.
Authors Everywhere!

Author Susan Tan has put together an entire YouTube channel with authors reading aloud and sharing other educational videos for your use at home. Again, all 100% with permissions.

Storyline Online

YouTube Channel, Storyline Online features stories read by actors and others in the film industry.
Picture Books Read Aloud Videos for Lesson Use

Pernille Ripp has shared this collection of copyright-friendly read-alouds

Barnes & Noble Online Storytime

Click on a book and scroll down to the video. B&N has permission from the publishers to share online storytime.

Storytime in the Reading Room

Must have Flashplayer to watch.

Author Interviews

Watch Reading Rockets' exclusive video interviews with top children's book authors and illustrators.

Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems

LUNCH DOODLES with Mo Willems! Episode 01
The award-winning author is hosting a workshop for kids every single day beginning at 1 p.m. ET. Children can draw, doodle, and experiment with story-telling — don't forget the pen and paper!

On the Horizon

Questar III School Library System

Kerrie Burch
Director of School Library System, Model Schools, and Arts

Amanda Karian

School Library System Specialist