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Children In Westchester Can Tap Into Thousands Of Free Books — Anytime, Anywhere

A Southern Westchester BOCES high school student reads from a desktop computer. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Southern Westchester BOCES
A Southern Westchester BOCES middle school student reads from a phone. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Southern Westchester BOCESBOCES

Reading books will make your child's shrinking world grow back up again. And if yours live in  Westchester, they can download a free app to gain access to thousands of titles — anytime, anywhere.  

Southern Westchester Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) is using the Sora technology to expand access to digital reading materials by connecting students with its broad collection of ebooks and audiobooks through the Sora app. 

Sora is a student reading app that allows K-12 students to borrow and read ebooks and audiobooks from their school’s digital collection on devices or via web browser.

The Southern Westchester BOCES serves students and teachers in 32 component school districts and 35 independent and parochial schools. All schools in the Southern Westchester BOCES region are eligible to sign up for Sora/OverDrive through the School Library System. Currently, over 60 schools are participating in the digital collection through Southern Westchester BOCES.

As an extension of the physical classroom and a resource to prevent learning loss and regression, Sora is being utilized to support curricular needs for all age ranges and ability levels. The students can access age-appropriate digital books from the Westchester Library System’s digital collection within the Sora app. 

The combination of convenience, ease of reading on-the-go and personalized reading experience of both teacher-assigned and student-selected digital books inspire student learning anytime, anywhere. 

Reading is key to improving students' learning and future outcomes educators say. "All students need to spend time, as much time reading as possible, in order to improve their reading skills and open their world view," said Eleanor M. Friedman, the supervisor of School Library System at Southern Westchester BOCES.

She explained that without Sora technology, students cannot access all the titles they need for remote learning. The app allows children access to digital copies of books that are available for an individual read or when multiple users need to access the same title. 

It offers access to new reading material when they cannot get books from their library or classroom. There is no need to purchase a hard copy of a book because it is available to borrow on Sora through their school log in, she explained. 

“We remain steadfast in our commitment to building capacity in school libraries while students are learning from home. Our partnership with OverDrive Education, the creator of Sora, has allowed our school libraries to continue providing service and access to materials for our students, which is our utmost priority," said Friedman.

The Sora app is available for Southern Westchester BOCES students. Here is where you can go to download it.

"Spending time reading online with Sora will help students for future job readiness because the continued experience reading on a screen will help develop their reading comprehension skills," said Friedman.

Students and teachers may download the app here.

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