Looking for some free digital reading resources? With the number of classrooms moving toward 1:1 technology on the rise and homeschooling being an increasingly popular option, the amount of time students spend reading digital texts is growing exponentially. Ebooks are now a popular way to get reluctant readers excited to read, and they're also a great way to expand your classroom library without needing more space.
The downside is that it can become costly to try to keep up with classroom libraries in two formats so I've pulled together a list of interactive tools to help you build your classroom digital library, and the best part about it is they are all free!
What you'll find on this page:
20 amazing FREE websites to read books online
Click on any item in this list of literacy websites to be taken to the website. While some require you to register, all the sites are either free or offer free classroom use for teachers. I tried to give you a little background about each to help save time as you dig through these great resources.
Free Websites with Stories & Digital Texts
To make it easier to find exactly what you need, I've broken this list down into three sections. This first section is the websites with the best fiction selection, in my opinion.
While some sites are amazingly modern and visual, others are a little less “pretty” but have some great texts.
This site has thousands of amazing books for K-5, including fiction, nonfiction, and so much more. There are even audiobooks and video-based book options, and you can assign students quizzes if you're concerned about comprehension.
It is free for teachers to use in their classroom, and each student gets set up with their own reading profile and getepic login to allow for differentiation.
Check it out: www.getepic.com
2. International Children's Library
This site may not be the prettiest, but it offers all kinds of books for kids. The site breaks the available stories by age, book length, and topic. This makes it easy to find exactly what your readers may like.
This site is great for traditional literature units because it offers selections from around the globe. I love using these free stories.
Check it out: childrenslibrary.org
3. Magic Keys
This site has many free stories and books broken into three categories – young children, older children, and young adults.
While this isn't the most modern-looking website, it does have good content. An added advantage is that many of the books include audio so that students can have a model for reading.
Be sure to check out the great riddles and other resources, as well.
Check it out: magickeys.com
This app offers a free premium upgrade for teachers, with lots of free texts available.
The stories are aimed at primary learners, so this site is best for K-2 teachers.in fact, I can tell you from experience, you'll find a ton of great 1st grade books online if that's what you're needing. Professional narration helps model fluent reading, which is a great addition for this age group.
New books are released every two weeks.
If you teach in a dual-language setting or work with English Language Learners, it also has text options in Spanish and several other languages.
Check it out: iStoryBooks app
5. Project Gutenberg
This site is a massive open library of classics, but it can be harder to navigate for young learners.
You'll find lots of popular book options like The Bobbsey Twins series and the works of Beatrix Potter.
This site is older titles that are all a part of the public domain, so don't plan on finding Harry Potter or recently released e-books here. However, if you're looking for a great site to access some classics during distance learning, you'll find this site has exactly what you need.
Check it out: gutenberg.org
6. Planet EBook
Another great site with the classics. This one is pretty easy to navigate, but it is not exactly visually pleasing.
This site includes classic books like Alice in Wonderland and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. This site would be ideal for advanced or older readers.
Check it out: https://www.planetebook.com/ebooks/
7. Reading IQ
This site had several thousand leveled books including favorites like Curious George and the nonfiction National Geographic Kids titles.
Teachers can sign up for free access, and each student has their own profile to help you set goals and ensure they are accessing reading materials at their personal reading level.
This site is great because it has a lot of updated and new books. Plus the site interface is definitely geared toward students.
Check it out: https://www.readingiq.com
8. Amazon Free eBooks
Amazon keeps its best-selling ebook list updated hourly, and there is a separate tab for the free titles. The great part about this is you'll always have new titles appearing on this page so there's motivation to go back again and again!
You're likely to find a combination of titles you know and love and lesser-known books. However, this is a great place to grab titles for avid readers.
Check it out: Amazon Top 100 Free EBooks
This site has lots of great children's books. It includes both classics and titles that are not available in print, and all titles are downloadable in multiple formats (including PDF).
One warning – you probably don't want to direct students to the homepage for this site. It contains ebooks for both adults and kids and some of the romance novels appear on the home screen.
Check it out: Free-Ebooks.net
Free Reading Websites for Non-fiction Reading
It can be really hard to find good nonfiction texts. This has only been compounded by the fact that many students are now learning from home so we need to find materials they can access online.
Here are some great options if you're looking for nonfiction texts or to cover current events.
It can be really hard to find high-quality, up-to-date content about current events. NewsELA solves that issue.
This site has great articles to tie into your science and social studies content. You can select based on topic and reading level, which is great for differentiation.
Check it out: NewsELA
11. Scholastic News
This site is the hub for the Scholastic News magazines that many of us have seen in classrooms. However, it also offers some free articles and resources related to current events and topics of interest to learners.
This is kid-friendly news in a great format for classrooms.
Check it out: Scholastic News
12. Freckle (formerly Front Row)
The free version of Front Row ELA allows you to access 5 high-interest ELA articles per month to assign to your students.
I've used these with my own kiddos during Covid lockdowns, and I've found the topics to be engaging and the material is presented in an approachable fashion.
Check it out: Freckle
Free Websites with Audiobooks & Digital Read Alouds
Whether you've got students who are struggling or reluctant readers or you just want your learners to have models of fluent reading, these audiobooks are a great option.
Each of these sites offers a vast selection of free audiobooks that are great for students.
13. Storyline Online
Favorite stories read by celebrities including Betty White, James Earl Jones, and more.
This site seems to be adding new books regularly and is funded by the Screen Actors Guild. It is a great option to include when you don't have a copy of a text you need for plans for a sub, too.
Check it out: Storyline Online
A collection of books with audio stories that lets kids read along.
One especially awesome benefit is you can actually translate the text into different languages for your ESL students.
Check it out: Storynory
15. Oxford Owl
Over 250 free children's audiobooks for your classroom. These are great for a read-aloud when you have a sub or for kids who do better when listening.
One drawback here is that there is no text offered so students cannot read along.
Check it out: Oxford Owl
This site is geared more toward the primary grades, so I would recommend you look at it for K-2 readers.
With four different levels to choose from, this site has lots of options for your readers and is a great tool for seamlessly differentiating for your struggling readers.
The books are colorful and engaging for students and require students to be actively involved with clicking through each page instead of tuning out with autoplay.
Check it out: Starfall
17. Just Books Read Aloud
The title says it all really.
These are kids' books read aloud. This is another site that isn't the most modern, but it does have quite a few newer titles.
Students can read the words and follow along, and the site includes some great favorites like The Giving Tree
Check it out: Just Books Read Aloud
This site is offering free sign-up to teachers for a limited time, and it is full of read-along storybooks. The books are semi-animated which makes it really engaging for students.
This is such a great way to offer engaging read-along options to your class for your “listen to reading station”.
Check it out: Vooks
Free Reading Websites with Passages for Test-Prep Practice
Test prep is never a fun topic to talk about, but we've got to teach students strategies to attack this genre. These sites all offer some great texts to help students prep and to get you data on strategies you may need to review.
19. Read Theory
This site has a bunch of reading passages that are perfect for upper elementary and gives instant feedback.
It is totally awesome!
Check it out: ReadTheory
Another great site for reading passages and reading at a variety of levels for your students. The site also has a separate piece that is printable passages, lesson plans, and more.
Check it out: ReadWorks
This site is great because it offers paired reading stories, unlike many others.
There are over 800 leveled stories, and more…it is hard to believe it is free. (There is a paid version with more options, too.)
Check it out: MobyMax
Digital reading options for every learner
I hope you find these great resources useful in your classroom, and if you know any other great resources send them my way!!
I'm always looking for more great ideas to add to the list.