Great Bend USD 428 and the Central Kansas Library System have formed an innovative partnership to increase access to ebooks and e-audiobooks, allowing students to learn anytime, from any device.
Sora, the student reading app from OverDrive Education, gives USD 428 students the ability to borrow age-appropriate e-books and audiobooks from a digital collection available through CKLS. To support the unique needs of all readers, Sora offers inclusive tools, including Read-Alongs, dyslexic font, adjustable text, a multilingual interface, and Google Translate.
“I have always wanted to get eBooks for my students,” said Holly Tittel, Great Bend Middle School librarian, “but eBooks are so expensive and many purchases are only good for one year. In speaking with CKLS, I learned about Sora and how the program ties right in with the eBooks that CKLS has already purchased for Great Bend Public Library.”
Through Sora, USD 428 students now have access to a digital library of over 5,000 juvenile titles, over 3,000 young adult titles, and 742 audiobooks. This digital collection is available to students learning on-site as well as those enrolled in GB Remote Learning.
Expanding access to reading materials
While USD 428 buildings maintain libraries of their own, inventory does not always match the demand for specific titles or genres. Add the unique scenario of remote learning in 2020, and the need for digital access to reading materials becomes more evident.
“This year provided a unique challenge and opportunity as we worked to safely get books in the hands of students – both inside and outside the classroom,” said Tricia Reiser, USD 428 director of teaching and learning. “We appreciate the work of Holly Tittel, CKLS, and Great Bend Public Library for helping us create this digital link for our students and teachers.”
As the district introduces Sora for classroom and extra-curricular use, students can track their reading achievements in the form of badges, which are earned by finishing books and using different app features. Students also benefit from private insight into their personal reading stats.
“I feel that anything that helps encourage readers is a win-win,” said Tittel.
Sora is launching across USD 428 this month and is accessible for students through their Chromebook, phone, or tablet, using their USD 428 Google login. To learn more about Sora, visit DiscoverSora.com.
For more information on the USD 428 Sora roll-out or literacy programs, contact the USD 428 District Education Center, 620-793-1500.
About OverDrive and OverDrive Education
OverDrive is the leading digital reading platform for libraries and schools worldwide. The company’s K-12 division – OverDrive Education – supports reading and learning in the classroom. OverDrive strives to create “a world enlightened by reading” by delivering the industry’s largest catalog of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines and other digital media to a growing network of 50,000 libraries and schools in 78 countries, including more than 30,000 schools. OverDrive’s popular reading apps provide best-in-class user experience and tools for staff management: the Libby app for libraries is one of PCMag’s Best Free Software of 2019 and Popular Mechanics’ 20 Best Apps of the 2010s, while the student reading app Sora is one of TIME’s Best Inventions of 2019. Founded in 1986, OverDrive is based in Cleveland, Ohio USA and was named a Certified B Corp in 2017. OverDrive is owned by KKR, a leading global investment firm.