Best literacy resources
Best for literacy event listings
Children's authors and illustrators can be amazingly generous with their time, offering draw-a-longs, reading their work online, launching creative challenges and running bookish chats.
It can be incredibly difficult to keep track of what's happening when, so Toppsta's daily bookish ideas schedule is a godsend. Check what's scheduled, find out what your child's favourite authors are organising and get book recommendations at the same time – and it's all free!
Best for free eBooks
Primary school reading scheme books are very useful when your child is learning to read, offering a story to follow and pictures to look at as well as a carefully selected mixture of words that your child will be able to decode easily, whatever reading stage they've reached.
Continue using readers at home with free access to Oxford Owl's extensive free eBooks collection, developed for children aged 3–11 years old. You'll find well-known characters like Biff, Chip and Kipper, as well as Project X Alien Adventures, Oxford Reading Tree and Read Write Inc. titles.
Free home education planning pack & resources
- Guidance, templates & advice
- Practical tips from experts and parents
- How to establish a routine and set goals
Best for reading and writing activities for every age group
Reading with an early years child, or an early teen (or an early years and an early teen?)? Access book lists, videos, audiobooks, apps, competitions and tips (about enjoying audiobooks as a family, building a reading den at home and more) on the Literacy Trust's Family Zone. There are learning activities and sheets aimed at children aged 0-4, 5-8, 9-12 and 13+.
Best for celebrating children's literature
Explore centuries of stories, poems and illustrations for kids with Discovering Children's Books, an online resource from the British Library and Seven Stories. Book-lovers of all ages will enjoy the fiction-inspired activities (why not learn how to draw a Gruffalo from Axel Scheffler himself, make a miniature tome of your own, prepare a story soundtrack or star in a fairy tale?). There are loads of themes to explore, from magic and fantasy to pop-up and moveable books – a treasure trove of literary worlds and characters.
Best for learning about Shakespeare
Learning about Shakespeare? The Royal Shakespeare Company's Shakespeare Learning Zone offers key facts about each of Shakespeare's plays, explains important scenes, highlights videos of actors and directors working on and performing the plays and explains everything you need to know about all the main characters and how they relate to each other.
Choose a play and enjoy the language, the story and the productions!
Best for banishing boredom with creativity
Home Time, BookTrust’s new digital hub to keep children entertained, reading and inspired from home, is packed with free books, videos, games, recipes, competitions and quizzes created by leading authors and illustrators including Waterstones Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell. Every day, Cressida reads a chapter of her best-seller How to Train Your Dragon from her writing shed at the bottom of her garden.
'I began writing about Vikings and dragons when I was nine years old, feeling bored on my summer holiday with seemingly nothing to do,' says Cressida. 'Every child out there will have fantastic ideas which could one day be the next How to Train Your Dragon. There is a world of creativity and imagination to discover from home that will bring inspiration over the coming weeks."
Best for author masterclasses
Authorfy is bursting with free literary inspiration: watch videos of hugely popular children's authors (like Anthony Horowitz, Michael Rosen, Katherine Rundell, Maz Evans, Michael Morpurgo, Andy Griffiths and lots more), read the extracts from their books and download resources based on their texts. Once you've signed up for a free account you'll have complete access and also be able to download literacy activity packs ranging from arts and crafts pages to book club questions and games, all aimed at boosting reading and writing for pleasure.
Best for creating comics
Create your own comic strips online for free with Make Belief Comix. There are Comic Starters to provide inspiration and it's easy to add characters, speech and thought balloons, backgrounds, objects and more.
You can print or email your strips, too – so why not chronicle your life in comic form or invent your own superhero world to describe?
Best for story starters
Every day, Pobble 365 offers teachers a weird, wonderful and interesting image. Can you have a discussion about what the image makes your child think about? What stories might be sparked by the picture? What will it inspire them to write? Every day there's a new image to talk about, with questions to answer and a suggested story starter to respond to.
Best for age-by-age online storytime
Wishing someone else could take over story-telling duties for a day? Consult the Books for Topics online Storytime listings for details of stories for every age group. QR codes and links take you directly to story readings on YouTube, and the book and extracts are all read aloud by their authors and illustrators. There are four selections to choose from: 3-5 years, 5-7 years, 7-9 years, 9-11 years.