Children and young people from families in need will now have access to thousands of top-selling and award-winning books valued at over $250 million —free of charge –thanks to a new mobile app called Open eBooks. First Lady Michelle Obama recently released a video raising awareness about this new opportunity for students in need.
Part of the White House’s ConnectED Initiative, which aims to improve access to modern broadband internet connections and learning technology, Open eBooks will let students borrow up to 10 books at a time without checkouts or holds.
The effort is a significant step toward more equitable digital access to high-quality books for school-age children, which are needed to encourage success in K-12 and beyond. The app is particularly important because while access to computers can be varied among children living in poverty, access to tablets and smartphones are much more common. A recent study shows 85% of economically disadvantaged families have a tablet or smartphone, making the Open eBooks collection a resource millions of children will now have access to.
Educators, caregivers and other adults who work with children from low-income families can qualify for Open eBooks credentials by signing up with First Book and then requesting access for the students they serve. Students provided with access codes can then download the eBooks mobile app through the App Store or Google Play and enter the code to begin reading.