There is nothing in the world quite like a good book. Reading, whether curled up by the fire, secretly holding a torch under the duvet, or simply drifting through life with your nose firmly wedged between the pages, is one of the most wonderful things in life. As a veritable devourer of books since childhood, I can’t help feeling protective of the wonders of musty old pages and tiny, mysterious local book shops, so it is no insignificant thing for me to write a blog extolling the virtues of those half-wonderful, half-devastating recent inventions… paperless books.
But even a literature lover like myself has to admit the importance of paperless books – the access they provide to a whole range of varied and diverse texts for those without the means or resources to access them otherwise; the convenience of dipping in and out and finding a specific passage or paragraph at will; the immediacy of scanning and flipping from one tome to the next without lugging whole volumes home from the library. For students who need to gain a surface knowledge of different books from a whole period, for example, or those wanting to skim several texts before deciding which to invest in, they can be absolutely invaluable. So with a heavy sigh for days gone by, here are some of the best online resources for finding literature to share with your students!
1. Open Library
Perfect for those desperate to get their hands on a little-known gem out of library hours (or in the dead of night before an assignment is due in), this juggernaut of over 3 million ebooks is a Godsend. From Homer to Hamlet, Austen to the Odyssey, this database is particularly useful for students looking for specific editions of the classics. A truly amazing wealth of information to have at your fingertips – in a single click you can be leafing through the pages of an obscure, centuries-old text.
Ideal for those looking for specific textbooks but unable to pay the often high prices, this website specialises in academic and instructional texts. You can access everything from Engineering Mathematics to Automatons and Robotics, so if students need just a single chapter of a particular textbook, or want to leaf through for revision purposes, this is a quick, simple and economical way to access these vital learning resources. The site is even divided up into different subjects to make books easier to source on any given topic.
Ideal for those students who are either unwilling or unable to read long texts, this fantastic website provides free access to a wide and varied collection of stories and poems in MP3 format. It’s ideal for helping to introduce children to literature before their reading levels have caught up with their imagination! Also great for helping with the learning process, as many extracts come complete with helpful reading strategies, and printed extracts are also available for classroom use.
4. Google Books
Google Book Search works exactly like Google web search, so the simple interface is very familiar. Choose your search string and Google will return a huge list of relevant texts. With a catalogue of millions of great books you can preview, read for free, borrow and buy through Google. It really is incredible how much can be viewed and used for free though. If the book is out of copyright, or the publisher has given permission, you will be able to see a preview of the book, and in some cases you will be able to download the PDF copy.
Do you use ebook resources with your students? Share your top tips and sites below!
Feature image courtesy of Flickr, kodomut.