Here’s a gem — the website of the Lancaster County Library in Pennsylvania. When you click on the url, it redirects you to the TumbleBook Library, an online collection of animated, talking picture books (many by beloved children’s authors) that teach young children the joys of reading.
The Lancaster County library is associated with TumbleBook, making access to their website free for visitors to the library’s website. Wait for the redirect (it takes less than a minute), and a new page opens with a menu of books and games. Double click on the menu items to open a selection of resources that includes:
- Story Books: This is perfect for pre-readers and beginning readers! Of course nothing can replace cuddling with your child and reading aloud to him or her. But for those times when you can’t, this website does the trick! Your child can learn to follow along easily with the clear, highlighted text. The illustrations are engagingly animated, but not so much so as to distract the child’s attention from the printed words. The read-along books are listed in alphabetical order by author. Most of the titles are new, although you can also find classics such as “Old Mother Hubbard.” Plot summaries and grade ranges are given, and some also provide an indication of how much time they take. (Watch for the words “Read on Your Own Book;” a small minority of the books in this section do not have audio narration.) At least one narrator is the book’s actual author, and other narrators have very pleasant and clear speech. See if you can find the one narrated by Whoopi Goldberg! :)
- Tumble Readables: For your independent readers, several classics are
available online, including “The Adventures of Pinocchio,” “Alice in
Wonderland,” “Aladdin and the Magic Lamp,” “Heidi,” “The Jungle Book,” “Little Women,” “Peter Pan,” “The Wizard of Oz,” and more! The larger-print format of these books makes them very pleasant reading, and there is also the convenient option of automatic page turns after a set number of seconds.
- Life Learning: These story books teach about health, safety, tolerance, and more! Don’t miss the version of “Little Red Riding Hood” in which Granny teaches Little Red a thing or two about cyber safety. :)
- Audio Books: A short selection of classic children’s literature all in
audio book format complete with narration, music, and wonderful
illustrations. You’ll find Aesop’s Fables, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Black
Beauty, Alice in Wonderland, and more.
- Puzzles and Games: These correlate directly with the titles on this website and are ordered accordingly. Test your vocabulary, retention, spelling, and more!
- Language Learning: Read along or independently in French, Spanish, Russian, traditional Chinese characters, and Italian! Some of the foreign-language stories have audio provided or allow you to read them in one language and then in another; great for learning new languages! :)
- My Favorites: Keep track of your favorite stories (by means of cookies
saved onto your computer.)
Click on “Index,” in the silver bar near the top of the screen, to see a complete list of titles, including many more advanced read-alones for older kids.