OverDrive Education Reports Rapid Increase in Ebook and Audiobook Adoption Since COVID-19 Outbreak

Industry News
Over 26,000 schools and districts now connecting students at home with Sora reading app’s no-cost digital content

In the wake of sudden school closures due to COVID-19, students of all ages have been left without access to classroom essentials – especially reading materials. As a result, ebooks and audiobooks have become a critical tool for effective at-home learning. This has led to a record number of schools and districts turning to OverDrive Education’s award-winning Sora K-12 student reading app. Today, more than 10,000 schools have adopted Sora since the national emergency was declared on March 13, bringing the total to over 26,000 worldwide.

 “We remain steadfast in our commitment to building capacity in school libraries while students are learning from home,” said Eleanor Friedman, Supervisor of School Library System at Southern Westchester BOCES in New York. “Our partnership with OverDrive Education has allowed our school libraries to continue providing service and access to materials for our students, which is our utmost priority.”

 Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, many publishers have provided popular and educational titles for a no-cost ebooks and audiobooks collection. This collection of 260+ titles includes favorites like Diary of a Wimpy Kid and curricular essentials like Call of the Wild to provide students and educators of all grade levels with the digital content they need to succeed remotely. For many schools, the no-cost titles supplement the school’s customized collection of ebook and audiobook titles.

“Since transitioning to distance learning, Sora enabled our teachers to assign digital novels they had previously taught in print, but no longer had access to,” said Shawn J. Maas, Media Specialist at Cypress Bay High School in Florida.  

 Teachers can use Sora to assign titles to students and monitor their reading progress, while students can earn achievement badges for reaching reading milestones. The app also expands access to reading beyond curricular assignments, as students can use Sora to borrow leisure reading materials from both their school and local public library.

 Challenges with distance learning have also raised concerns about an early summer slide, as news reports reveal variable results from online instruction. To help slow the slide and ensure that students have optimal access to digital books while school is closed, OverDrive Education has extended its summer reading program, Sora Sweet Reads. For the next two months, students can enjoy popular juvenile and young adult ebooks like Black Panther (available through June 15), Ms. Marvel (available June 15-July 31) and Big Nate From the Top. Audiobook titles include Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus and Akata Witch.

For additional free resources, students and educators can register for the SYNC Audiobooks for Teens program, sponsored by AudioFile Magazine and powered by Sora. Targeted at teens aged 13 and older, SYNC provides access to two free audiobooks per week in Sora over 13 weeks to keep older students engaged and reading all summer long.


About OverDrive Education – a division of OverDrive

OverDrive Education is the leading digital reading platform for K-12 schools, offering the industry’s largest catalog of ebooks, audiobooks and streaming video. As a 100% digital company serving over 26,000 schools worldwide, OverDrive combines technology with content to support learning and reading in the K-12 classroom, library and home on all major devices. Sora, the student reading app, was named one of TIME’s Best Inventions of 2019. Founded in 1986, OverDrive – the leading digital reading platform for libraries and schools worldwide – and OverDrive Education are based in Cleveland, Ohio USA. overdrive.com/schools

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