Online resources recommended by Read Manchester

There are a huge number of free online resources available to support children and young people while schools are closed. If you're struggling to decide which are best, please have a look at the ones selected by Read Manchester. They focus primarily on resources which foster a love of reading and support literacy skills at the same time. This list will be updated on a regular basis, but please do let us know if you think we have missed any.

Please click on an age category below to be taken to a list of age-appropriate resources.

Find out more about Read Manchester here. Find out more about Manchester Libraries here.

Early Years
Age 5-8
Age 9-11
Age 12+

Early Years

Borrowbox: Free downloads of e-books and e-audio books. You can now borrow e-books and e-audio books without a Manchester Libraries card. You just need to register then use the temporary library number you are given to log into their siteSummer Reading Challenge: The Summer Reading Challenge's 'Book Sorter' tool gives children the chance to find a new book to read based on recommendations from other children!BookTrust HomeTime: Storytime with free online books and videos, games and chances to win prizesNational Literacy Trust Family Zone: Play activities, reading and writing resources, audiobooks and videosWorld Book Day: Activities, ideas from authors, illustrators and other booky people – from Writers’ Club to author readings, to a poetry podcast or learning through picture booksChild's Play Parent Zone: Online and printable activites related to Child's Play's published booksBonnier Books teaching resources: Reading extracts, discussion questions, activity sheets, creative writing prompts and morePeter's Books: Age appropriate book suggestions that parents could read to their children and activitiesTiny Happy People: Videos and activities to aid in Early Years communication skillsReading Zone: Age-tailored competitions and activitiesUsborne Books: In depth teacher's resource packs related to Usborne published booksNosy Crow: Activity sheets, 'Nosy Crow Book at Bedtime' audiobooks, 'Stories Aloud' read along videos, video quizzes, a free book for children that explains coronavirus, videos of authors reading and moreCBBC: Phonics and learning to write resources for younger childrenRuth Miskin: Ruth Miskin are streaming phonics lessons on their YouTube channelLoveReading4Kids Kidzone: Engaging website where children across ages can read discussions of popular books, leave reviews on books they have read or take part in activitiesPhonics Play: Phonics Play have made all their phonics learning tools free during coronavirus school closuresAudible: Audible have posted up free audio books for children while schools are closedPuffin Books: Publisher Puffin Books have posted up teaching resources, reading lists, inspiring ideas and reading resources during coronavirusWalker Books: Walker Books have been posting videos from their authors and illustrators, downloadable activity sheets, teachers' notes and discussion guides, all collected together on this pageLetters and Sounds: Letters and Sounds have been posting YouTube videos to help Reception and Year 1 children continue their phonics practise from homeElmer: The Elmer website has a host of fun things to do, from colouring in sheets to birthday cards, to get children excited about Elmer the much-loved multicolour elephant!

Age 5-8

Borrowbox: Free downloads of e-books and e-audio books. You can now borrow e-books and e-audio books without a Manchester Libraries card. You just need to register then use the temporary library number you are given to log into their siteSummer Reading Challenge: The Summer Reading Challenge's 'Book Sorter' tool gives children the chance to find a new book to read based on recommendations from other children!BookTrust HomeTime: Storytime with free online books and videos, games and chances to win prizesNational Literacy Trust Family Zone: Activity packs and reading charts, reading and writing resources, audiobooks and videosWorld Book Day: Activities, ideas from authors, illustrators and other booky people – from Writers’ Club to author readings, to a poetry podcast or learning through picture booksChild's Play Parent Zone: Online and printable activites related to Child's Play's published booksBonnier Books teaching resources: Reading extracts, discussion questions, activity sheets, creative writing prompts and morePeter's Books: List of age appropriate book suggestions for children and activitiesHatchette: Activity sheets related to Hatchette's published booksRead For Good: This 30 second story-maker game is great for sparking writing inspiration!Reading Zone: Age-tailored competitions and activitiesSimon and Schuster: Activity sheets related to Simon and Schuster published booksUsborne Books: In depth teacher's resource packs related to Usborne published booksBarrington Stoke: Activity sheets based on Barrington Stoke published booksNosy Crow: Activity sheets, 'Nosy Crow Book at Bedtime' audiobooks, 'Stories Aloud' read along videos, a free book for children that explains coronavirus and videos of authors readingBook Trust: List of activities and sessions being led by Book Trust to encourage reading as well as links to more resources#DrawWithRob: Children's author and friend of Manchester Libraries Rob Biddulph is posting a draw-along video every Tuesday and Thursday at 10am BSTRuth Miskin: Ruth Miskin are streaming phonics lessons on their YouTube channelDavid Walliams: The hilarious author of Gangsta Granny has posted a whole host of drawings, quizzes and activity packs related to his books on his website. He is also doing a story reading every day on the 'elevenses' section of his website!LoveReading4Kids Kidzone: Engaging website where children across ages can read discussions of popular books, leave reviews on books they have read or take part in activitiesThe Reading Realm: The Reading Realm have lots of really detailed and engaging reading activities on their website based on both modern day popular and classic children's books and are also streaming free lessons from their Facebook pagePhonics Play: Phonics Play have made all their phonics learning tools free during coronavirus school closuresOliver Jeffers Oliver Jeffers is doing a story reading every day during school closuresWriter's HQ: Writer's HQ are running an online 'Write a Novel in 60 Minutes' programme aimed at children age 7-11 weekly on Wednesdays. Children need to register in advance to join one of the sessionsAudible: Audible have posted up free audio books for children while schools are closedJohn Kirk: Storyteller John Kirk has been posting storytelling videos on his YouTube channel for children at home! From international fairytales to Shakespeare classics, there's a lovely mix of stories to choose fromPuffin Books: Publisher Puffin Books have posted up teaching resources, reading lists, inspiring ideas and reading resources during coronavirusWalker Books: Walker Books have been posting videos from their authors and illustrators, downloadable activity sheets, teachers' notes and discussion guides, all collected together on this pageLetters and Sounds: Letters and Sounds have been posting YouTube videos to help Reception and Year 1 children continue their phonics practise from homeBooks for Topics: This website lists children's book recommendations for when you're stuck thinking about what's next on the reading list!Authorfy: Authorfy are running a 10 minute daily writing challenge, each time hosted by a different authorElmer: The Elmer website has a host of fun things to do, with colouring in sheets, puzzles, birthday cards, as well as more guided learning activities to get children excited about Elmer, the much-loved multicolour elephant!

Age 9-11

Borrowbox: Free downloads of e-books and e-audio books. You can now borrow e-books and e-audio books without a Manchester Libraries card. You just need to register then use the temporary library number you are given to log into their siteSummer Reading Challenge: The Summer Reading Challenge's Book Sorter tool gives children the chance to find a new book to read based on recommendations from other children!BookTrust HomeTime: Storytime with free online books and videos, games and chances to win prizesNational Literacy Trust Family Zone: Reading challenges and worksheets, reading and writing resources, audiobooks and videosWorld Book Day: Activities, ideas from authors, illustrators and other booky people – from Writers’ Club to author readings, to a poetry podcast or learning through picture booksPeter's Books: Lists age appropriate book suggestions that parents could read to their children and activities.Bonnier Books teaching resources: Reading extracts, discussion questions, activity sheets, creative writing prompts and morePenguin Random House: List of daily 'virtual events' hosted by publisher Penguin Random HouseHatchette: Activity sheets related to Hatchette's published booksRead For Good: This 30 second story-maker game is great for sparking writing inspiration!Reading Zone: Age-tailored competitions and activitiesSimon and Schuster: Activity sheets related to Simon and Schuster published booksUsborne Books: In depth teacher's resource packs related to Usborne published booksBarrington Stoke: Young editors scheme allows young readers to read and feedback on unpublished manuscriptsPiccadilly Press: Printable resources related to Piccadilly Press published booksNosy Crow: Activity sheets, 'Nosy Crow Book at Bedtime' audiobooks, 'Stories Aloud' read along videos, a free book for children that explains coronavirus and videos of authors readingBook Trust: List of activities and sessions being led by Book Trust to encourage reading as well as links to more resourcesCressida Cowell reading 'How to Train Your Dragon': Children's Laureate author Cressida Cowell is reading her book 'How to Train Your Dragon' chapter by chapter on YouTube during lockdown!#DrawWithRob: Children's author and friend of Manchester Libraries Rob Biddulph is posting a draw-along video every Tuesday and Thursday at 10am BSTDavid Walliams: The hilarious author of Gangsta Granny has posted a whole host of drawings, quizzes and activity packs related to his books on his website. He is also doing a story reading every day on the 'elevenses' section of his website!Andy Stanton: Andy Stanton reads ALL of 'Mr Gum and The Biscuit Billionaire' on his YouTube channelAndy Seed: Author of many great children's books, including 'The Anti-Boredom Book of Brilliant Things to Do' has some real boredom-busting ideas on his website, from his award-winning series of books which are free to download to word games, jokes, puzzles, facts, riddles, tongue-twisters and activitiesLoveReading4Kids Kidzone: Engaging website where children across ages can read discussions of popular books, leave reviews on books they have read or take part in activitiesThe Reading Realm: The Reading Realm have lots of really detailed and engaging reading activities on their website based on both modern day popular and classic children's books and are also streaming free lessons from their Facebook pageTom Palmer: Children's author Tom Palmer's website is a great educational resource, with newly added free readings, colouring and literacy resources for children learning at homeWriter's HQ: Writer's HQ are running an online 'Write a Novel in 60 Minutes' programme aimed at children age 7-11 weekly on Wednesdays. Children need to register in advance to join one of the sessionsAudible: Audible have posted up free audio books for children while schools are closedHarry Potter at Home Hub: Videos, fun articles, quizzes, puzzles and plenty more related to Harry Potter books. You just need to make a login to access thesePuffin Books: Publisher Puffin Books have posted up teaching resources, reading lists, inspiring ideas and reading resources during coronavirusWalker Books: Walker Books have been posting videos from their authors and illustrators, downloadable activity sheets, teachers' notes and discussion guides, all collected together on this pageBooks for Topics: This website lists children's book recommendations for when you're stuck thinking about what's next on the reading list!The Royal Shakespeare Company: Explore the Royal Shakespeare Company's list of resources relating to Shakespeare playsAuthorfy: Authorfy are running a 10 minute daily writing challenge, each time hosted by a different authorElmer: The Elmer website has a host of fun things to do, with colouring in sheets, puzzles, birthday cards, as well as more guided learning activities to get children excited about Elmer, the much-loved multicolour elephant!

Age 12+

Borrowbox: Free downloads of e-books and e-audio books. You can now borrow e-books and e-audio books without a Manchester Libraries card. You just need to register then use the temporary library number you are given to log into their sitePenguin Random House: List of daily 'virtual events' hosted by publisher Penguin Random HouseHatchette: Activity sheets related to Hatchette's published booksReading Zone: Age-tailored competitions and activitiesUsborne Books: In depth teacher's resource packs related to Usborne published booksBarrington Stoke: Young editors scheme allows young readers to read and feedback on unpublished manuscriptsBook Trust: List of activities and sessions being led by Book Trust to encourage reading as well as links to more resourcesLoveReading4Kids Kidzone: Engaging website where children across ages can read discussions of popular books, leave reviews on books they have read or take part in activitiesThe Reading Realm: The Reading Realm have lots of really detailed and engaging reading activities on their website based on both modern day popular and classic children's books and are also streaming free lessons from their Facebook pageAudible: Audible have posted up free audio books for children while schools are closedHarry Potter at Home Hub: Videos, fun articles, quizzes, puzzles and plenty more related to Harry Potter books. You just need to make a login to access theseStute's Theatre Common Lore: Stute Theatre has announced a live stream of its award-winning gig-theatre show Common Lore. A fusion of spoken word, digital projection, live-looped music and physical theatre Common Lore touches on issues that many young people today face, such as homelessness, family life, poverty, education and unemployment. This highly visual and impressive one-person show written and performed by Sophia Hatfield will live stream at 7pm on Saturday 25 April and then be available to watch for two weeks from that datePuffin Books: Publisher Puffin Books have posted up teaching resources, reading lists, inspiring ideas and reading resources during coronavirusThe Royal Shakespeare Company: Explore the Royal Shakespeare Company's list of resources relating to Shakespeare playsArts Emergency: Arts Emergency have put together free resources to help teens and young people to work on their mental health at home, with guides on writing a positive journal, writing a letter to your future self and many moreThe National Theatre: Every Thursday at 7pm, The National Theatre are uploading a new play onto their YouTube channel which then remains available to stream for one week!

Thank you for visiting this page. Read Manchester will continue to update this as we learn of new resources. If you have any comments about this page or any resources you think we should add, please email rosa.methol@manchester.gov.uk

Find out more about Read Manchester here. Find out more about Manchester Libraries here.