Today all over the country teachers and parents are preparing for schools to be closed for an indefinite period. Teachers are faced with creating ways that children can access education online and parents are wondering how they can home educate or occupy their children. Thankfully organisations, charities, authors, illustrators, school librarians and teachers have been sharing resources for several days. This is extremely generous but at times the vast quantity available can feel bewildering. Therefore I have selected some book related resources that I think primary school children will enjoy and parents will find useful. I hope to update these on a regular basis without making the list too long and overwhelming.
Organisations, Charities and Literacy Websites
The Literacy Trust Family Zone – a brilliant place to start, this is a comprehensive web portal for parents created by The Literacy Trust. Split up by age group, you will find ideas and guidance for simple activities that will engage children at home, while also benefiting their reading, writing and language development. You’ll be able to access free reading and writing resources, audiobooks, videos, competitions and reading challenges.
Love My Books – another free website providing resources, activity ideas and book suggestions for children aged 0-9. Pages of great ideas for parents and children sharing books together.
World Book Day – Browse their booklists for children and young people at all ages and stages – for ideas and inspiration. There are stacks of links to book related resources and videos too. They have just added the Book Ideas Hub to the website which looks fabulous.
Authorfy – this is a great website. Full of free resources, activity packs, writing prompts, author videos and brilliant book recommendations this is a good way to entertain and educate children as it is so engaging.
The British Library Discovering Children’s Books – this new website has a wide range of information and resources available from how to draw a Gruffalo to how to make a mini book.
The Reading Realm– there are now some free learning packs available on this website based on animals and nature, fairy tales and creative writing prompts.
Audible Stories – Audible have launched a free service that offers educational and entertaining audiobook content for kids, teens, and families.
Book Trust Stories and Games – lots of lovely interactive books to read online or watch with signing plus stacks of games and activities to share. They have now added a Home Time page with links to lots of fabulous activities. This is definitely worth a look.
Authors, Illustrators and Publishers
Rob Biddulph Draw Along Videos – these are great. Each Tuesday and Thursday at 10am Rob Biddulph is posting a video of him drawing a character for children to copy. These are stored on his website for you to watch later.
Peter Bunzl Cogheart and Moonlocket School Resources– these include some great creative projects such as design your own mechanical robot and making a flip book animation.
Chicken House Books Education Hub – Here you’ll find educational resources that work alongside this publisher’s most popular books books. Although designed for use in schools the videos and PDF downloads etc. could be enjoyed at home too.
Elise Gravel Free Comic– Illustrator Elise Gravel has created a free to download comic which explains the Covid19 situation to children.
Caryl Hart Author Events Online – This is an excellent resource. Authors and illustrators are creating loads of resources that children, teachers and families can access from home. These include videos, live broadcasts on Instagram and Facebook, and printables and these have been collated and shared on this site by author Caryl Hart.
Steve Lenton’s Draw-Along-A-Lenton – Children’s Illustrator Steve Lenton’s YouTube channel is full of great videos showing children that everyone can draw and is being updated frequently.
Kids Poems and Stories With Michael Rosen – This is the official Michael Rosen video channel. All videos and playlists on this channel have been approved by Michael Rosen and are safe to watch.
Nick Sharratt’s Drawing Tips – Lots of videos with drawing activities based on his well known books such as the Daisy series by Kes Gray plus the characters for Jacqueline Wilson’s books and more.
Robin Stevens The Detective Society’s Top- Secret Files – loads of activities linked to Robin’s books plus ‘How to Have the Perfect Midnight Feast’ and other such delights.
Walkers Picture Book Party – ACTIVITY SHEETS: drawing, spot-the-difference or escape some mazes, there’s something for everyone!
UPDATED 2nd APRIL
Read Aloud with Frank Cottrell Boyce – the award winning author readingi The Astounding Broccoli Boy chapter by chapter on instagram. It’s a cheery comedy set during a pandemic!
Stay at Home Story Time with Oliver Jeffers – author and illustrator Oliver Jeffers is reading one of his books every weekday on Instagram and talking about some of the things that went into making it. This link takes you to his website where all the videos are being collated.
Free Resources from Barrington Stoke – From reading guides to colouring in sheets, their Young Editors Scheme to author videos, there’s something for every age of reader linked to some of this publisher’s wonderful books.
StoryTime4HomeTime with James Mayhew – From Monday 23 March, author and illustrator James Mayhew has been posting videos on Youtube at 3pm. Whether you’re in school or at home you can listen to a story and watch James draw upside down! A lovely, soothing end to the day.
Nosy Crow Free Resources – these publishers have put together lots of activities, resources, free Nosy Crow books and other content which they hope will help keep families happy. There are lots of links to fabulous stuff here.
Draw with Jim Field – learn to draw alongside illustrator Jim Field with these great videos of him drawing Oi Frog and more on his website.
Gaspard and the Quiet Day – If you are a parent, carer or teacher trying to find a comforting way of explaining the current situation to young children this is wonderful. A video of a special story written by Zeb Soanes and illustrated by James Mayhew, it is both thoughtful and reassuring. Perfectly done.
14 Stories in 14 days from Egmont Publishers – a new website, inspired by the recommended 14 days of self-isolation, offering 14 days of free content to provide entertainment and educational support for parents, carers and children across the UK.
Our Corona Diary – founded by Kathryn Evans this initiative hopes to document the experience through the eyes of young diarists and inspire a creative response to the crisis. Suitable for all ages from early years to young adult there are stacks of creative ideas plus information for parents, teachers and carers.
The Bookwanderers Club – a live book club hosted by children’s author Anna James every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 2pm while schools are closed due to COVID-19.
UPDATED 10th APRIL
Coronavirus: A Book for Children – Publishers Nosy Crow have produced a free information book explaining the coronavirus to children, illustrated by Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler, with expert input. This is excellent & can be downloaded via the link above.
Hay Festival Programme for Schools Free Events Online – Watch authors from Hay Festival Programme for Schools filmed over the last 3 years. There are 55 fun filled and inspiring events to choose from including Ade Adepitan, Gemma Cairney, Emma Carroll, Eoin Colfer, Julian Clary, Abi Elphinstone and Andy Stanton.
Art with Clara Vulliamy – Author and illustrator Clara Vulliamy has started sharing entertaining art and drawing activities on her YouTube channel based on the characters from her much loved books.
#LibrariesFromHome brought to you by Libraries Connected – amongst the range of digital resources available are the excellent online rhyme times, story times and lego clubs that keep children engaged and support early literacy and creative thinking.
That’s all for now, I will add others as and when I find them. These will, I hope, add fun to reading at home. Don’t forget if you are a member of your local library they will provide a range of online resources that are included in your membership.