A unique trend in education is occurring in an effort to engage students and prevent summer learning loss. More and more open source eLibraries are forming and some school districts are even offering free online access to thousands of books over the summer break.

http://tinyurl.com/agcngv3The Oregon Department of Education is a state-wide example of providing opensource access to all students through the entire summer break. The district has partnered with myON, an online library, to bring students free electronic access to more than 4,100 digital children’s books.

The program launched June 14, and access continues through Sept. 15. Login for the program is open to everyone, although material is matched with kindergarten through 12th grade reading levels.

According to President Todd Brekhus, myON was formed out of Capstone, a publishing house that focuses on children’s books. MyON hosts thousands of books — non-fiction, fiction and graphic novels — on different subjects such as historical biographies, animals or literature. Seventy percent of the book collection is non-fiction material. Books also come in Spanish, and with read along audio and highlighting options.

MyON is available on any device that can access the Internet, and students can download up to 20 books at a time to read off-line.

Brekhus, a former teacher, said summer use of myON will ideally help students avoid the “summer slide,” by letting them choose what digital and interactive books they want to read.

In the first two weeks, Oregon myON users have read more than 480 books, according to ODE. Carla Wade, ODE digital learning education specialist, said myON offered free use of the pilot program to the state.

Indiana is the only other state in the country also using the pilot program for the summer, Brekhus said.

Brekhus said myON enjoys “the philanthropy” of offering free use, and also hopes that school districts see the potential benefit of purchasing a subscription in the future. About 4,000 schools in 38 states already pay for an annual subscription in myON, he said, which costs on average about $12 per student. The paid account includes the entire myON collection — more than 5,000 books — and gives each individual student a login account, allowing users to track their reading progress.

In Oregon, Woodburn, Salem-Keizer, Forest Grove and Umatilla school districts already have subscriptions, according to ODE.

To log onto myON click here. The login school name is Oregon Readers, Oregon Department of Education. The username and password are both “read.”

If you’re not an Oregon student, but want to benefit from open source books, be sure to check out the following free online libraries.

Oxford Owl

Project Gutenberg

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