Being that I am on my laptop a LOT, my almost 4 year old daughter loves reading online kids books with Mommy. It is a way for her to get my attention while doing something she loves, reading stories. I wouldn’t say it is a regular routine for us but it is definitely something we both enjoy doing whenever we find the time. We first discovered we enjoyed this pastime by reading a story from Barnes and Noble’s Online Storytime, or having one read to us I should say. We then searched for more places to find stories online but had some trouble finding them. So we turned to Youtube which entertained us for a while but I knew there had to be a better resource for finding online kids books and stories. After further research I have come up with this list of some of our favorite sites plus some bonus sites we have yet to visit, but all with their own unique characteristics that are sure to bring hours of reading fun!
1- Barnes and Noble’s Online Storytime – Every month Barnes and Noble features a children’s story read by a special person such as the author of the story. This month the featured story is Charlie the Ranch Dog by Ree Drummond. You will also find 45% off kids’ dog toys and books. To hear past featured stories just click on the “See More Storytime Videos” link below the video. You are sure to find some favorites.
2- A Story Before Bed – This is probably one of our all time favorite sites for reading books online because you actually get to record yourself reading to view at a later time. My daughter LOVES this! It is not a free site but they do have a few books that you can try for free and if you create an account and subscribe to their emails they will often notify you of additional free book promotions. Although, I do have to say that their paid membership prices are reasonable and probably worth every penny for the treasures you can create. Plus you can download their iphone app for free and watch your recorded books on your phone. Another great feature is that you can have a distant relative or loved one record stories too. We had Nana record The Itsy Bitsy Spider and now my daughter can watch the video of Nana reading a story anytime she misses her. Recording is easy also just as long as you have a video camera on your computer. Click here to see one of the first stories we recorded!
3- Buttons Furrytales – Another really cute site that lets you personalize the stories with a name and a character that you design yourself. There are also jigsaw and paint features for digital puzzles and coloring which are really fun! In addition there are several other activities to enjoy including offline ones such as downloading recipes to make. Buttons Furrytales is an overall fun site and best of all it is totally free to join!
4- Speakaboos – This site offers stories read aloud, songs, nursery rhymes, games and worksheets. There is lots to see and do here. They do have a paid membership and offer a 14 day free trial, but there is plenty to do in the “Free Stuff” section. Just about the whole series of Arthur by Marc Brown is included in the free section. All of the free stuff is labeled so be sure to only select those, otherwise you will just be given a preview. Aside from the site not being completely free, it is still pretty entertaining with a lot to offer.
5- Storyline Online – This is a fantastic site brought to you by the Screen Actors Guild Foundation. There are many books to choose from and each are read by SAG members such as Betty White, Jason Alexander, James Earl Jones, Amanda Bynes and Melissa Gilbert. Each book also includes accompanying activities and lesson ideas. This is another completely free site and you actually get to watch the actors reading the stories in streaming video. We definitely recommend this one!
So that is our list of top 5 free online kids books sites. I hope you are able to check them out with your little ones and determine your favorites too. Once you get through those you might want to check out these as well…
For an added bonus, check out this post by makeuseof.com “7 Online Magazines for Kids That Are Worth a Read” and discover some really cute kids magazine sites too!
Tell me about your favorite online reading sites in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!