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Free Curriculum @ Your Library with Premium Databases

Scholastic BookFlix© ebook

Scholastic BookFlix© Story

Free Homeschool Curriculum Resources with Your Local Library

Part One

We are always looking for ways to cut costs while still providing our children with access to the best academic resources.  Investing in your child’s education can get expensive quickly and finding quality free resources is key to reducing homeschooling costs without compromising your child’s academic experience.  Most public libraries offer free access to otherwise expensive commercial services that can help advance your child’s education without the accompanying high price tag.

Using Your Library for Free Curriculum:

Every library is different and not all offer the same access to databases and other subscription services, however, the following exceptional databases are frequently offered in most public libraries.

Here are some of my favorite programs to explore and take advantage of with your library card:

Hoopla Digital:

Hoopla Digital© Screenshot

Hoopla Digital© Screenshot

Hoopla is an online digital media service available through a large number of libraries.  Patrons establish an account with their library card and can access e-books, audiobooks, films, documentaries, educational and instructional videos, and music albums.  All content is available without waiting, there are no holds.   Each user is allowed to check out 10 items per month (ten downloads).  Lending periods: TV and movies for 3 days, audiobooks for 21 days, and music albums for 7 days.

Hoopla Digital© Sign In

Hoopla Digital© Sign In

The Hoopla app is available through iTunes or the Google Play Store.  You can download and access your content through Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer 8 and 9, and Safari.

Hoopla is available on any iOS device that run iOS 6 or newer, iPad 2 and newer, iPad Air and Mini, and Iphone 3-6.  It is also available with several Android OS devices that run 4.0 or newer, Samsung Galaxy phones and tablets, Google Nexus, Nook, Motorola Droiz Razr M phone, and more.

Some of My Favorite Free Hoopla Curriculum for Students:

Examples of Hoopla Digital’s Audiobooks for Elementary Students:

  •  The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson
  • Thomas Jefferson: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Everything by Maira Kalman
  • Spanish In Minutes:  How to Study Spanish the Fun Way
    by Liv Montgomery
  • Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll
Hoopla© Screenshot Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There

Hoopla© screenshot of Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There

  •  Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling
  • The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
  • Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak
  • The Clown of God by Tomie dePaola
  • The Star Spangled Banner by Peter Spier
  • And Then What Happened, Paul Revere? by Jean Fritz
  • Brave Irene by William Steig
  • Looking at Lincoln by Maira Kalman
  • Tale of Two Bad Mice by Beatrix Potter
  • Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say
  • A Kiss for Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik
  • The Fox Went Out On A Chilly Night by Peter Spier
  • The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde

Examples of Audiobooks for Middle & High School:


  • The Decline of the Fall of the Roman Empire
  • Spanish In Minutes:  How to Study Spanish the Fun Way by Liv Montgomery

Classic Fiction:

  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald Short Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Vanity Fire by W.M. Thackeray
  • The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  • The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne


Freading is an online service available through participating libraries that offer over 20,000 fiction and nonfiction e-books.  One of the things I love about Freading is you never have to wait for a book — it’s always available. Freading has categories that include fiction, law, math, history, biographies, books in Spanish, and more.

Freading&#169 Screenshot

Freading© Screenshot

How Freading works:

First find out if your library participates with Freading.  If so, use your library card and login to Freading.  You will notice on the upper left hand side the number of tokens that you are allotted.  Tokens are the currency you use in exchange for downloads.  Your library will give you a certain number of tokens each month to exchange for downloads.  Not all downloads are equal.  Some cost 1, 2 or 4 tokens with the value assigned by the publisher.  New books are usually 4 tokens and over time diminish to one token.  For every four week period you are allotted tokens and may roll over any unused ones each week for four weeks.  At the end of the four weeks you begin anew with tokens.  You cannot roll over unused tokens to the following month.

Necessary Installations for Freading:

In order to run Freading on your computer, installation of Adobe Digital Editions is necessary so you may read your downloads.  Mobile users may access their content with the Freading app.

Freading allows users to keep downloads for two weeks.  Users are eligible to renew items, usually without an added token charge for an additional two weeks.

Freading© Screenshot Mr Poppers Penguins

Freading© Screenshot of Mr Poppers Penguins

Examples of Freading Educational Resources for Elementary School:

  • White Fang by Jack London
  • The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
  • Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater
  • The Story of King Arthur and His Knights by Howard Pyle
  • Pinocchio by The Brothers Grimm
  • Arthur Christmas:  Arthur to the Rescue! by Annie Auerbach
  • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Heidi by Johanna Spyri
  • Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne

Examples of Freading Educational Resources for High School:

  • The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
  • The Odyssey by Homer
  • The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
  • The Metamorphosis and Other Stories by Franz Kafka
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  • Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
  • Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • Madame Bovery by Gustave Flaubert
  • The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
  • Utopia by Sir Thomas Moore
  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Dubliners by James Joyce

Freading has an extensive collection of Spark & Max Notes including:

  • Night by Eli Wiesel
  • The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  • Macbeth William Shakespeare
  • Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  • Inferno by Dante
  • The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  • Max Notes: Taming of the Shrew

Study Guides:

  • My Max Score AP Exam prep books (U.S. History, U.S. Government and Politics, English Literature and Composition,
  • Fiske Word Power; Fiske Countdown to College:  41 Things to Do;  Fiske Nailing the New SAT.

Scholastic BookFlix:

Scholastic Bookflix© Harry The Dirty Dog Screen Shot

Scholastic Bookflix© Harry The Dirty Dog

Scholastic BookFlix Offers Classic Children’s Books Including Caldecott and Newbery Winners with Stunning Weston Woods Animation:

Scholastic BookFlix is a subscription based program that your local library may participate with providing patrons with 24/7 access to the BookFlix program.  BookFlix pairs a classic children’s fiction books animated by Weston Woods with a related non-fiction Scholastic e-book.

BookFlix is for Pre-K through third grade.  If your local library subscribes, you can sign in with your library card and access the program free of charge by signing in with your library account number.  With BookFlix you do not need to “check out” any books, all books are available all the time.  Simply select books with your child and begin learning.  The program includes hundreds of fantastic books including 110 fiction and non-fiction pairs, books in Spanish, educator resources and more.

Scholastic BookFlix©

Scholastic BookFlix ©


BookFlix is divided into the following categories:

  • Animals and Nature
  • Earth and Sky
  • People and Places
  • ABC’s and 1,2,3’s
  • Family and Community
  • Music and Rhyme
  • Adventure
  • Celebrations
  • Imagination

Each fiction book is paired with a non-fiction book that shares the same theme, subject or topic.  The book “Snowflake Bentley” by Jacqueline Briggs Martin is paired with the non-fiction book “Snow” by Anne Herriges.  The student has the opportunity to first listen to the fiction book and then read the non-fiction book.

Free Lesson Plans for Each Book Set:

Every set of books comes with a free lesson plan that contain the following information:

  • Grade and Age Level.
  • Lexile Level.
  • Vocabulary for books with definitions.
  • Guiding questions for students.
  • Online activities for each book such as “Word Match.”
Scholastic BookFlix©

Scholastic BookFlix©

Scholastic BookFlix©

Scholastic BookFlix©


As BookFlix reads the story it highlights each word, allowing your child to focus on the correct pronunciation, timing and word recognition.

Scholastic BookFlix©

Scholastic BookFlix©


Examples of Some of My Favorite BookFlix Fiction Books for Your Child:

  • Click Clack Moo: Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin
  • Curious George Rides a Bike by H.A. Rey
  • The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
  • Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion
  • Chicken Little by Steven Kellogg
  • Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola
  • If you Made a Million by David M. Schwartz
  • Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann
  • Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Scholastic BookFlix© "Sylvester and The Magic Pebble" by William Steig

Scholastic BookFlix© “Sylvester and The Magic Pebble” by William Steig


OverDrive© One Application, thousands of eBooks, audiobooks, and videos from your local library

OverDrive© Thousands of eBooks, audiobooks, and videos from your local library


Most public libraries participate with Overdrive, a subscription based service that allows patrons to check out e-books and audiobooks free of charge.  Overdrive has a huge collection of New York Time’s bestselling fiction and non-fiction along with many popular and current books.  Overdrive has different subscription plans, with larger libraries opting for more extensive e-books and audio selections.  Our local library allows us to check out six items per library card.

Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 9.44.19 AM Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 9.49.49 AM



Some of the Book Categories Overdrive Offer Include:

  • Fiction
  • Classic Literature
  • Children’s Books
  • Historical Fiction
  • Biography and Autobiography
  • Drama
  • Non-Fiction
  • Mystery
  • Poetry
  • Business and Careers
  • Teen Fiction and Non-Fiction

Overdrive can be used with the Following Devices:

  • Iphone, IPAD and other MAC devices, NOOK, Kindle, smartphones,  tablets, and more.
  • Download the free Overdrive app with Apple iTunes or Google Play Store.

How Overdrive Works:

If your library participates, you can access Overdrive directly from your library’s website 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with your library card.  Use your library card number to sign in to your library’s website to access your Overdrive account.

Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 9.03.12 AM

Setting Up Your Overdrive Account:

Download the applicable Overdrive app, Kindle app, or Adobe Digital Editions Software if needed.  We use most of our e-books through our tablets and Kindle. Sometimes we use my MacAir or one of the children’s laptops.

Select e-books and audiobooks that have either a dark black icon of a book or headphones.  If it is shaded gray this means the book is not available.  With Overdrive you can only access materials if they are available, they allow a certain number of e-books and audiobooks in circulation during any given time.  If the item you desire is already checked out, you may place it on hold and opt for automatic checkout.  Overdrive will immediately check out the item when it becomes available and contact you by e-mail notifying you your your e-book or audiobook is now available and waiting on your “bookshelf.”

Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 1.14.36 AM

Overdrive Formats Available:

  • EPUB e-book, Kindle book, PDF e-book, Overdrive READ eBooks and Open EPUB e-books.

Search Options:

Overdrive allows you to narrow your search by selecting the format, device, publisher, interest level, ATOS level, Lexile and Reading Level and book rating.

Overdrive Offers Additional Unlimited Books:

Overdrive offers a very large selection of unlimited public domain books (this occurs when the copyrights expire).  These do no count against your book limit.

Does Overdrive Charge Overdue Fines?

No, Overdrive materials are automatically returned after the lending period has ceased.  You are never charged any fees.

How Long May I borrow Overdrive books?

Materials may be borrowed for 7, 14, or 21 days (some libraries do not allow 21 days and only offer 7 or 14 days).  You may select your lending period by adjusting your settings in your Overdrive account.

Can Overdrive Books be renewed?

If no one else is waiting for the book you may renew it.

Materials May Be Returned Early:

Most materials may be returned early so you may checkout additional titles without exceeding your limit.

Overdrive For Kids:

Overdrive offers a separate database specifically for kids and teens including fiction, non-fiction, biographies and much more.

Popular Overdrive Collections Include:

  • The Mysterious Bennedict Society Collection by Trenton Lee Stuart
  • Harry Pottery Collection by J.K. Rowling
  • Magic Tree House Books by Mary Pope Osborne
  • The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
  • Beatrix Potter Collections
  • Theodore Boone Series by John Grisham
  • Hoot, Chomp and other fictional books by Carl Hiassen
  • Lemony Snicket Series by Daniel Handler
  • Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
  • Little House on the Prarie Collection by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers
  • The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
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