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tbGuy Do you wish we offered storytimes 24/7? Are you looking for books for beginning and reluctant readers? Sometimes a little technology goes a long way for kids learning to read, and you may not know that we offer TumbleBooks, a great resource for this very purpose! For those of you who are aware of TumbleBooks, but are not sure of exactly how it works, this is the post for you…


TumbleBooks is an excellent tool for helping kids learn to read and develop their vocabulary. It provides children with the opportunity to follow along with narrated versions of books, play associated word games, and watch educational videos. The potential age range is much wider than you might have guessed, with picture books for the very young, easy chapter books for beginning readers, and classic novels for more advanced middle school readers. In fact, even adults might find something helpful here, especially those learning English, or even another language like Spanish or French. Wherever you are within this database, you will be able to access six main categories that will help you navigate.

1. Storybooks: These picture books for young children are narrated aloud and can run in a mode with automatic page turning. Tablets like iPads are perfect devices to use with this feature, given you are willing to let your kids handle expensive gadgets. Find favorite stories like Robert Munsch’s Paper Bag Princess and recognizable characters like Caillou. The upper menu in this category has options like Tumble TV (an animated TV show with host Tommy Tumble), links to categories like new books and early readers, and unit plans which group a set of books around specific topics like “A New Spin on the Weather,” “Getting Started at School,” and “Halloween.”

2. Read-Alongs: This is the term used within the database for chapter books, and as I mentioned, they represent a wide variety of reading levels. These are also narrated, and have a manual mode to allow readers to move at their own pace. Sentences are highlighted as they are read, and users can click on individual words to have them sounded out several times in certain books.

3. Videos: There is a small collection of educational videos on a variety of topics, from mosquitoes to the Wisconsin Circus World Museum. Most are very short, around 2 minutes long.

4. Puzzles & Games: The creators of this database do a great job in this section by creating words games to accompany certain books. Kids can complete puzzles, play a memory game, and do word searches. Matching sentences to pictures in Match the Sentence will help kids relate to stories. They’ll also learn to spell when playing Word Catch (the piece of paper mascot has to scramble to catch correctly spelled words as they fall from the sky).

5. Language Learning: Listen to books read aloud in languages like Spanish, French, Russian, or Chinese. There are bi-lingual sets (called playlists) you can choose from, but unfortunately each book is read in a single language. If read back-to-back though, they might have a positive impact on language learning.

6. Nonfiction: The nonfiction section has books on topics like animals, the human body, math, and ecology. Check out playlists on specific topics such as World Traveling, which includes books like Zoe Sophia’s Scrapbook and Postcards from New York City.


It’s my understanding that patrons will need to log in to this database if accessing it from home, but it’s a good rule of thumb to always log in anyway, because you will be able to highlight your favorite books and even create your own handmade playlists of titles of interest.

Click on “Index” on the main grey menu bar to see a comprehensive list of all titles in the database, along with information about what categories they are in (game, read-along, etc). Just by browsing through I discovered Best Excuse Coloring Book, a kind of interactive online coloring book that wasn’t readily visible to me when looking in the general six categories.

Within the record for each item you can get important information about the book’s difficulty such as Grade, Lexile, and Accelerated Reader level. Most of these values are hyperlinked so that you can find other items that are similar. You can also sort all of the books in a category by reading level (ascending or descending), and this sort preference can be saved if your are logged in to your account.

Check the right hand side of the TumbleBooks homepage to see the News section. Learn about new books that have just been added and discover hidden gems.

Category: Library

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