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Because Reading is Still Fundamental

How to keep your child interested in reading and thinking about what she/he has read might be one challenge you’ve encountered these last two weeks. If you’re running out of books, we offer a solution: a list of websites which provide free access to books of all kinds.

In addition to reading, encourage your child to keep a reading response log. This will provide tangible evidence of reading done and thoughts considered which your child can marvel over years later. One log model includes the following columns: Book Title, Author, Pages Read, Summary, My Response (feelings, questions, concerns, connections to self, other books, or other people).

Include your child in the final book selection and gauge how long she/he can stay focused on reading. For some children, it may be ten minutes for others much longer. Reading time will vary, sometimes from day to day. Start small and build up for as long as your child can sit and stay focused.

You will find African-Americans are poorly represented on these online resources now. A major reason centers around copyright laws. The only books available for free access are those books published before 1924. Books published between 1925 and 1978 are protected for 95 years. That means books published in 1925 will lose their copyright protections this year. The third tier of books, protect authors for 70 years after death, if their work was printed in 1978 and later. Gradually, more books will attain free domain accessibility.

The education of African-Americans is two-fold. We must read literature in the African diasporic literary canon, but we must also read the works of those outside our communities. Just remember, reading should be enjoyable and cover a wide range of authors, themes cultures and ideas. These sites should help.

  1. New York Public Library. Get remote access to books, tutoring, and a wide range of other resources. Get a library card at Simply E:
  2. If you’re looking for children’s books with illustrations. From pre-K to college, find books which won various awards. Very few African-Americans are represented here.
  3. Project Gutenberg.
    provides access to books written before 1924. Works by W.E.B Dubois, Frederick Douglas, Paul Laurence Dunbar are a few of the African American writers whose work is posted.
  4. Read Print. Get access to thousands of the old classics. Same as Gutenberg with more a more colorful platform.
  5. The Literature Network. In addition to access to the old classics, this site provides author background, a forum for discussion, quizzes and a vibrantly colored platform.
  6. Classic Bookshelf. Another colorful platform for classic literature. Offers readers the option of selecting: font, color, and brightness.
  7. Chest of Books. This platform provides a limited number of books on just about every subject: art, business, cooking, gardening, religion, sports, etc. No listing for basketball though.

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