At Read Ahead, we are committed to unlocking the full potential of every child through positive support, joy, and a love of reading. School might be closed, but our team has compiled our favorite resources to bring support, joy, and reading into your home! We will continue to add new resources in the coming weeks, so feel free to bookmark this page and check back often.
Do you have suggestions for additional free resources? Did your family try something on this list that you loved? We’d love to hear from you! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Love of Reading
At Read Ahead we know the importance of developing a love of reading. Here are some resources to help keep things interesting. There are tons of read alouds spanning many age levels and story types, authors, languages, and readers, so you can find what appeals to your child!
Video Read Alouds
From local public libraries:
LIVE Daily Virtual Storytimes from Brooklyn Public Library: Virtual programming via Facebook Live, Zoom, and streaming from the Brooklyn Public Library branch staff.
Queens Public Library: YouTube read alouds by librarians from the Queens Public Library, including read alouds in French, Spanish, and Bengali.
From Read Ahead’s publisher partners:
Little Brown Young Readers (Hachette Book Group) Storytime! with Bill: Monthly storytime video series geared to bring humor and calm in this busy world, thanks to our partner Hachette Book Group!
From teachers, authors, & actors:
We Are Teachers: Authors showing and reading their own books aloud, including Drew Daywalt’s hugely popular Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Frequently updated with other activity suggestions as well! Also this page has more virtual author activities.
Storyline Online: Sponsored by Screen Actors Guild, this site has famous actors reading a variety of stories.
Free Book Access (online ebooks, app-based, audio, etc.)
Rivet: A free reading app that has over 3,500 leveled books for kids.
Audible: Many titles are available to listen to for free on all different devices—in Spanish, Chinese, and other languages too!
Libby: Get or use an active library card, download and log onto Libby to check out ebooks or audiobooks to use on any device. Thanks to Christine L., a mentor at the Ella Baker School from Bloomberg LP, for this and the next suggestion!
Hoopla: Get or use an active library card, and then download Hoopla. It serves as a digital media service that allows you to borrow movies, music, audiobooks, ebooks, comics and TV shows to enjoy on your computer, tablet, phone, or TV!
Joy & Fun
Joy is one of Read Ahead’s core values—we believe joy, fun, and laughter are essential! Below are links to bring some extra happiness to your day.
Movement, Exercise, & Mindfulness
Energy-Busting Indoor Games: 87 ideas for games and activities to burn off energy indoors!
GoNoodle: Movement and mindfulness videos and app created by child development experts. Thanks to Karen L., a mentor at P.S. 116 from PricewaterhouseCoopers, for this idea and several others too!
Cosmic Kids Yoga: YouTube channel with free yoga, mindfulness, and relaxation designed specially for kids aged 3+, used in schools and homes all over the world.
Science & Nature
National Geographic Kids: Lots of resources to learn about animals, geography, science experiments and more.
Science Adventure Stories for Kids: Simon is an Australian Green Tree Frog who loves sharing two things, facts and jokes. Every audio episode is chock-a-block full of amazing facts, cool music, sound effects and Simon’s excellent jokes!
Mystery Science: A starter list of K-5 science lessons and videos that are easy to do at home is now free.
NASA’s Space Center Houston: This free app lets space-enthusiasts virtually step into mission control, and explore virtual reality experiences, take astronaut selfies, and follow along through an audio tour of its educational space center.
LIVEstream + Visit the Cincinnati Zoo Anytime: They educate about a particular animal in a 15-20 minute segment each day and then have a link for a related activity to do at home. All videos and activities available on this site. Thank you to Kristine S., a mentor at P.S. 111, for this suggestion!
Explore the San Diego Zoo: The zoo has live and archived videos of pandas, polar bears, giraffes, apes, penguins, and other creatures that offer endless hours of entertainment and fascination. Offers activities and games too!
National Park Tours: Offered by Google Earth!
Art & Drawing
LIVE & Recorded Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems: Draw, doodle and explore new ways of writing by visiting Mo’s studio virtually once a day for the next few weeks. Grab some paper and pencils, pens, or crayons and join Mo (favorite author of many Read Ahead mentees; writer of Elephant & Piggie series) every day at 1pm ET. Prior days’ videos can be watched too.
More Interesting Activities
DIY.org: Kids can watch videos and learn how to make something all on their own. Older kids will love creating their own videos to upload and share on the platform. Free 14-day trial.
Wow in the World: Podcast for curious kids and their grown-ups brought to you by the folks at Tinkercast. Free 20-30 minute episodes investigate factual real-world stories.
Scholastic Learn at Home: This site has a variety of activities featuring earth and animal science, social studies and more for all elementary grades.
Highlights Kids: This popular magazine’s site features fun activities, games, jokes and so much more!
George O’Connor Website for Greek Mythology Fans: George O’Connor writes a series of graphic novels called The Olympians (popular among Read Ahead mentees!) about each of the Greek gods—this site is fun for kids who want to click around, explore, and learn about mythology!
Virtual Museum Tours: Explore museums to enjoy art and culture from home.
Supporting Children & Families During COVID-19
All family members–including children, parents, and other adult caretakers–need support more than ever to help navigate this challenging and unprecedented time. The resources below provide helpful guidance, reminding parents to take care of themselves (too easy to forget!) and answering questions about how we can support our children.
Resources for Children
Supporting Kids Through the Coronavirus: Tips from the Child Mind Institute for nurturing and supporting children at home.
How to Talk to Kids About Coronavirus: New York Times article from March 17 that offers helpful advice and ideas.
Gratitude Scavenger Hunt: When you learn to be thankful for everything and have an attitude of gratitude, you’ll feel more positive, peaceful and happy each and every day. This is perfect for kids and adults to start finding little things to be thankful for!
Self-care for Parents and Other Adult Caretakers
Self-care in the Time of Coronavirus: For parents, prioritizing your own well-being benefits your whole family. Here are practical ideas for self-care from the Child Mind Institute.
You Are Not Your Child’s Teacher: Slate article from March 19 on helping parents focus on children’s well-being despite the new “home-schooling” circumstances.