Best Places to Find Ebooks for Your Classroom

Middle and high school students seem to be attached to their phones. More and more classrooms are going to 1:1 devices, utilizing laptops or tablets in daily instruction. As educators, we can fight the battle to keep our kids reading books instead of spending time on their screen, or we can embrace technology by finding electronic books to use for instructional purposes and independent reading.

Here are some of the best places to find ebooks for your classroom.


You may already know about this popular interface to check out free ebooks from the public library, but did you know that many school districts now use Overdrive with students? Check with your media specialist or librarian to see if Overdrive is being used as a delivery and check out system for ebooks in your school. Encourage your students to also get a public library card if available. Not only are their thousands of popular titles available for your readers, they’re absolutely free! Overdrive is especially helpful for voracious readers than can devour a text in less than a week. Most checkout times are up to two weeks per text. If your students use tablets, try the Overdrive or Meet Libby app to easily check out and read books.

Project Gutenberg

With more than 58,000 free ebooks today, Project Gutenberg was the first provider of free electronic books. The copyright has expired on these classic texts, so they are available to all users without registration. Students can enjoy any text available on the site for free, and your class can read them as a whole group or in literature circles. Some popular texts often taught in secondary schools are Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, and The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Use Project Gutenberg to introduce your students to classic texts at no cost!

Library of Congress

The United States Library of Congress has an archive of physical and digital resources including electronic books that your students may use for research or free reading. Secondary students may also find illustrated children’s classics housed through the Library of Congress website to be beneficial in creative writing or reviewing literary elements such as theme, characterization, and plot. The scope of the site is broad enough to use in any content area. Have your students explore to see what they can find to suit their interests!

Barnes & Noble

Believe it or not, the popular book store has thousands of free Nook (ebook) books available for kids. Many of the books are young adult novels, appropriate for middle level and early high school readers. Although there are many full length novels, some are previews that students can read while they wait for popular books from the library to be available. Students do need to register with an account to read the books but may login using Google credentials. Make sure this is in compliance with your school or district’s Children Online Privacy Protection Rules (COPPA), especially for students under age 13. Some favorite books that are currently available include National Book Award Finalist The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin (first 11 chapters) and Caught in Between by Alison L. Perry. Browse the free ebooks on Barnes & Noble for yourself!

Your 21st century learners are using their devices more than ever before. Teaching them how to find engaging, accessible reading material online will help them enjoying reading even more! Check out the links for the best places to find ebooks for your classroom.


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