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Classroom/Lesson Ideas for Using eBooks

Audiobook Library

Ask students and parents to donate audiobooks that they have listened to and create an audiobook library for a class or school. The use of audio text with print text has been found to increase learning by 38%. If student have created their own audiobooks, place the student created audiobooks as MP3 files onto the school or class web site for download. This will allow students to download the class books in audio format to listen to on their MP3 players.

Author Study

Visit the online resources such as to explore the book selection. Type in the name of an author or title of a book to find more information about the author/book. Analyze the number and kinds of books he/she has written.

Class Audiobook or Podcast

Have students break up into small groups and using a public domain eBook create their own audiobook. Each student could read aloud into a computer using a recording program to create an audio file of a chapter. This way a whole book could be made in just a few days. Transfer the audio files to a CD and make the CD available to classes reading the book. Another option would be to have students read a  chapter each week from a public domain novel that the class uses. Each week podcast a new chapter from that reading using either the class website or a blogging tool.

Class Play

Download a play from an online library such as Readers Theater or Project Gutenberg. Open the play with a word processor and then print out student sheets to read from. The play can be edited to make it easier for the students, such as using the word processors find and replace tool to change the script names to student names.

Class Reader

Use the text-to-speech option to allow a student’s or other author’s story to be read aloud to the class. Have the students vote on voice options and speed of reading.

Diagram a Sentence

Using an eBook reader program, such as MS Reader, have students highlight parts of a sentence in different colors to represent the different parts of the sentence. For example verbs could be in red, subject in green, and nouns in blue.

Digital Big Book

Use an eBook with a video projector to display your eBook as a Big Book on a screen in the front of the room.

Digital Storybook Center

Ask parents for old storybook devices and cartridges, such as from LeapFrog, that children have outgrown, uses these devices to create a reading center in the school library or classroom and for checkout to younger students.

Digital Reading List

Take your current reading list and search to find what books are available for free as eBooks, also search for the authors, incase other works that they did are available for students who might want to read more. Publish a set of hyperlinks on a class web page so students can assess the list from home or school.

eBook Mapping (Geography)

Read a book from the International Children’s Digital Library (or at least look at the pictures) and then mark on a world map or globe the location of where the book originated.

Foreign Languages

Read books or stories in the target foreign language. Have students visit foreign language or international online libraries and read from the books, articles, and stories that are available. Students who are just learning a new language can visit children’s story collections and read texts that are written at a simpler level.

Home-School Interaction

Develop reading relationships between home and school. Place selected eBook or links to online books on the school, library, or class web site. Students read the books from home or school.

Illustrated books

Download a public domain or other released text and open with a word processor. Divide the text into smaller passages, with each passage on a separate page. Print the pages and give them to your students to create illustrations for each passage – making a class picture book.

Inaugural Addresses

Download presidential inaugural addresses, from locations such as, and have students analyze them for what people considered important when they were given. Place these important points onto a timeline posted in class. For a fun side note, use the MS Word tools to run a readability analysis of the speeches to find out what the grade levels the speeches were written.

Literature Circle

Use eBooks as the reading topic or book selection option for a literature circle activity. Have one circle group use eBooks as their book's format. For more on literature circles with technology visit the technology enhanced literature circle section.

Local Translation

Using a book in a foreign language from the International Children’s Digital Library have a guest reader who can read in the book’s language come in and read to the students a translation and explain the culture.

One Chapter Preview

Copy the first chapter of a public domain or other released eBooks story, and place the text in a word processor. At the end of the chapter add the web address or other location that the rest of the story, in eBooks form, can be found. Print out the chapter and a make a cover for the chapter. The cover should have an image and a brief description on the back. Staple the book chapter and cover together. Now place this chapter book in the classroom library for students to browse and select from.

Personalized eBook

You can personalize a public domain eBook for a student in your class by downloading a text or word processor version of an eBook and then changing character names in the book to class student names. For example using the find and replace tool of a word processor you could change the text of Tarzan so that every time the word “Tarzan” appeared in the text it would be changed to “James.” Don’t forget to change the other characters to other students.

Presentation Through eBook

Presentation programs, like PowerPoint, are not the only tools that can be used to create a digital presentation. Students use a web editor program to create a digital presentation, then convert it to an eBook, and then use the eBook with a video projector as their visual presentation tool.

Reading assessment

From an eBook select reading passages that you would like to use as a reading assessment (up to 200 words). Copy the passage and go to OPAKI site ( to create a curriculum based reading probe. Have the student read the analyzed paged aloud for 1 minute to find the number of words read correct per minute. This is a highly reliable measure of general reading achievement.

Reading Corner

Put a surplus computer with eBooks or links to eBooks connections in the reading corner. Have the computer set to either a web based eBook library or have the computer already running a program like MS Reader with the My Library page open.

Readers Theater

Download a pre-made readers theater script or convert a section of an eBook into the readers theater format with a word processor. Then have the student read the script to the class. As an additional option, use a computer to record the students "radio play" for podcasting or placing on the class web site.

Research Center

Set up a computer in a classroom which has access to online research eBooks such as atlases, thesaurus, dictionaries, and encyclopedias. Encourage students to use them whenever they need to look something up.

Student Work/Publication

Don’t just create print copies of collections of student works, such as poetry or the student news. Also create digital copies that can be shared further with less cost.

Upper/Lower Grades Stories Sharing

Have upper grade students write stories along a theme. Transfer the stories to a word processor and then use an eBooks creation program to change the documents into eBooks. Now have the students take the eBooks to classes or student partners in lower grades and read them their stories.

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Copyright © 2006 Drs.Cavanaugh  Last modified: March 06, 2008