HANCOCK COUNTY — Under a new initiative from the Indiana Department of Education, all students can access a free library of e-books wherever and whenever they’d like.
The program, called myON Books, provides unlimited access to more than 5,000 e-books spanning a wide range of genres, from graphic novels to historical nonfiction. Family members also can access the database.
It’s part of the Department of Education’s Hoosier Family of Readers program, which is designed to spark lifelong interest in reading by encouraging families to read together.
Educators say the program, which is available through the end of 2016, will appeal to the latest generation of students, many of whom are accustomed to reading on computers. All four Hancock County school districts now have varying technology programs that provide computers most students can take to and from school.
By simplifying the process through which students have access to books, Lucy Gellert, director of library services for Greenfield-Central schools, said the new program could encourage students to read wherever they are, whether it’s at home or during a school break.
Books are available to students and families from anywhere they have access to an Internet connection. If students don’t have Wi-Fi at home, they can download books from the website while at school or anywhere else with Web access, then read them later.
Alyson Zelencik, media specialist at Mt. Vernon High School, said she’s noticed a shift in recent years; while many students used to prefer holding a physical copy of a book, most of the students she sees now favor the immediacy that online books provide.
“We’re coming up with this generation of students who love to have instant access,” she said. “This fits right in with that.”
Zelencik said she’s working to make teachers aware of the new program. While all classes stand to benefit, the online library could be particularly useful for language arts and English courses, she said.
Teachers could refer students to the website to find titles that appeal to their individual interests, she said. And the software is interactive; a tool on the site allows students to annotate and take notes as they read.
Stacy Ford, whose fourth-grade son attends Mt. Comfort Elementary, hopes the new program will help keep her son engaged when he’s out of the classroom.
“Especially during the summer, I could see this giving him another way to access books when he’s not able to get to the school library,” Ford said. “It’ll keep him motivated to stay active in his academics.”
To access the website, visit myon.com/school/hoosier.
1. Go to myon.com/school/hoosier
2. Enter “Hoosier Family of Readers” as school name
3. Enter username “read” and password “read”
4. Click the green “sign in” button.