Angela Farmer

DR. ANGELA FARMER

One of the best ways for students to improve their reading levels, word comprehension, and fluency is to read, and frequently. One of the easiest ways to nurture this skill regularly is to visit one’s local library. Unfortunately, with the world of COVID it may be difficult to schedule these visit the library or the local bookstore with the frequency previously afforded. Furthermore, it is expensive to frequently purchase books for children’s reading leisure. Fortunately, there are a variety of other options, many of which may be unfamiliar to a number of consumers.

In addition to accessing e-books from one’s local library, there are hundreds of free access books available if the family subscribes to Amazon Prime. Typically, a subscription allows the reader to check out up to 10 titles, which can be downloaded to a Kindle, a tablet, a computer, or even a smartphone. However, there are a number of other options which are less well-known sources for readers. The website BookLending.com, for instance, allows lenders and borrowers of Kindle eBooks to share books with each other without having to go through a third party. There is also a PDF Search Engine as well as Lendle that will help users find eBooks with ease. eBookFling is another novel (pun intended) way to find new reads as it allows book lending, borrowing, or renting, with the eBooks are automatically returned to the owner after 14 days.

For those readers who really prefer to hold that paperbound book in their hands, there are also some inexpensive options. First and foremost, there are always a number of places to search for used books. The closest and easiest place to find young reading may very well be within the confines of one of the many book nooks located in and around many small towns across the nation. They offer unmitigated access to free titles, asking only that one returns them and adds others along the way, if possible. The secondhand market still affords readers that same quality narrative, albeit with a little more loved cover and binding. The good news is those titles can typically be purchased for pennies on the dollar when compared to new book prices. Many towns offer sources for used books as well.

If going out and searching the titles is not on the agenda, there are a few sites for purchasing actual books on the cheap. Thriftbooks.com is a good source. Millions of books can be found there, many starting at less than five dollars a copy. According to whatnerd.com, some of the best sites for used books (or really reasonably priced new books) include AbeBooks.com, Half Brice Books, Alibris, and the Book Depository. While each of these sites puts its own spin on the price and delivery of its merchandise, they all aspire to serve the literary needs of thousands of passionate book enthusiasts. Readers can conduct searches within these sites to find books based on genre and/or age range to find novels or biographies or action adventure tales to suit the tastes of even the most discriminating young readers.

Regardless of where one gains access to new reading materials – through the local library, online sources, or secondhand stores – the focus must remain on encouraging and supporting young readers’ intellectual curiosity. For books and reading are truly just tools to empower future generations to become more literate, articulate citizens. In times of stress, rather it’s a pandemic or just a really bad day, books also provide students with a much-needed escape from the confines of reality, to a place or time where the world is defined only by the boundaries of their imaginations.

DR. ANGELA FARMER is a lifelong educator, an author, and a syndicated columnist. She serves Mississippi State University as an Assistant Clinical Professor of Honors Education for the Shackouls Honors College where she can be reached at afarmer@honors.msstate.edu

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