Millions of kids will have access to a free book every week while schools remain closed

MILLIONS of kids will have access to a free book every week while schools remain closed.

Bestsellers by children’s authors are available from today in a virtual library at an online school.

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It comes after ministers decided to close schools to the majority of pupils until at least February half-term. The initiative aims to increase access to ebooks and audiobooks for disadvantaged kids who are most affected by Covid.

Dame Jacqueline Wilson’s popular The Story of Tracy Beaker can be accessed from the library for seven days. She said: “I think it’s vitally important that every child should have an opportunity to access books. As most schools, and their libraries, are closed at the moment, the free online library is needed now more than ever.”

The library is part of the Oak National Academy virtual school, set up as a response to the pandemic and accessed by more than four million pupils in the past fortnight.

Praising the move, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Reading is hugely beneficial not only for children’s literacy skills, but also their mental health and wellbeing.”

More than 4 million pupils accessed the virtual school in the past fortnight with 28 million lessons provided since the start of the new school term.

Further titles to be accessed include Cookie and the Most Annoying Boy in the World by ex-Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq.

Nearly half of all children said they had read new books during lockdown and 14 per cent had re-read books found at home, The National Literacy Trust found.

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