Remote learning: Virtual school library opens

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:

A virtual school library has been launched in a bid to ensure access to books for pupils during the latest national lockdown.

The digital library has been created by the National Literacy Trust (NLT) and the government-funded online Oak National Academy.

The Virtual School Library will host free reading and writing content and will see popular children’s authors offering free electronic copies of their work on weekly basis.

Every week, the author or illustrator will provide free books, exclusive videos and their top three recommended reads.

The first author is Dame Jacqueline Wilson, who has put forward The Story of Tracy Beaker, illustrated by Nick Sharratt. Other upcoming titles include Cookie and the Most Annoying Boy in the World, written by Konnie Huq, which explores a girl's passion for science, as well as books from authors including Jeremy Strong, Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross.

The initiative aims to increase access to ebooks and audiobooks for the most disadvantaged young readers during the lockdown and support the literacy of children most adversely affected by the pandemic.

Matt Hood, principal of Oak National Academy, said: “Access to books, like technology, is not a given for many of our most disadvantaged pupils. We know a love of reading starts with access to books. We’re thrilled to be working with The National Literacy Trust on such an exciting project to make much needed access to books freely available to children, families and schools.”

Jonathan Douglas, chief executive of the National Literacy Trust, added: “We are entering another extremely difficult time and Oak Academy’s infrastructure and reach is essential for allowing as many children as possible to access a world of great literature.

“Many children’s literacy skills were profoundly affected by the first lockdown and school closures. We will do everything in our power to support children, families and teachers during this new lockdown period.”

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