Rapid Increase in Ebook, Audiobook Adoption Since COVID-19 Outbreak

In the wake of sudden school closures due to COVID-19, millions of students have been left without access to classroom essentials – especially reading materials.

As a result, ebooks and audiobooks have become a critical tool for effective at-home learning.

This has led to a record number of schools and districts turning to a collection of ebooks and audiobooks donated by OverDrive Education with support from several publishing partners for use on the Sora K-12 student reading app.

More than 10,000 schools have adopted the award-winning app since the national emergency was declared on March 13, bringing the total to over 26,000 schools worldwide.

Eleanor Friedman, Supervisor of School Library System at Southern Westchester BOCES in New York

“We remain steadfast in our commitment to building capacity in school libraries while students are learning from home.

Our partnership with OverDrive Education has allowed our school libraries to continue providing service and access to materials for our students, which is our utmost priority,” said Eleanor Friedman, Supervisor of School Library System at Southern Westchester BOCES in New York.

Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, OverDrive Education with support from its publishing partners has donated more than 6 million ebooks and audiobooks to schools, helping millions of students beat the “summer slide.”

This no-cost ebooks and audiobooks collection of 260+ titles for each school includes favorites like Diary of a Wimpy Kid and curricular essentials like Call of the Wild to provide students and educators of all grade levels with the digital content they need to succeed remotely.

For many schools, the no-cost titles supplement the school’s customized collection of ebook and audiobook titles.

Shawn J. Maas, Media Specialist at Cypress Bay High School in Florida

“Since transitioning to distance learning, Sora enabled our teachers to assign digital novels they had previously taught in print, but no longer had access to,” said Shawn J. Maas, Media Specialist at Cypress Bay High School in Florida.

Teachers can use Sora to assign titles to students and monitor their reading progress, while students can earn achievement badges for reaching reading milestones.

The app also expands access to reading beyond curricular assignments, as students can use Sora to borrow leisure reading materials from both their school and local public library.

Challenges with distance learning have raised concerns about an early summer slide, as news reports reveal variable results from online instruction.

In addition to the special no-cost collection mentioned above, OverDrive Education has extended its free summer reading program, Sora Sweet Reads.

For the next two months, students can enjoy popular juvenile and young adult ebooks like Big Nate From the Top, Black Panther (available through June 15) and Ms. Marvel (available June 15-July 31). Audiobook titles include Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus and Akata Witch.

For additional free audiobooks, students and educators can register for the SYNC Audiobooks for Teens program, sponsored by AudioFile Magazine and powered by Sora

Targeted at teens aged 13 and older, SYNC provides access to two free audiobooks per week in Sora over 13 weeks to keep older students engaged and reading all summer long.

For more information, visit www.overdrive.com

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