#GivingTuesday is the first Tuesday after Black Friday and Cyber Monday and gets us back to the point of the season–giving, not getting or taking. It is meant to inspire us all to give during the holiday season. To celebrate this year, ustyme and Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) are teaming up to give away over a billion classic e-books to families across the nation.
As of this morning, families can visit BillioneBookGift.org and sign-up to receive their 50 free e-books. There is no purchase necessary, but a valid e-mail address is required, and you will need to download the ustyme app to your smart device to read the books that way (there is also a Chrome app for families without a smart device).
One of the added benefits of using the ustyme app is that you only need to download one set of books, and then everyone you share with via ustyme can access your library as well. Ustyme also does in-app video chat. Think of it as Facetime plus screenshare. This gives families the opportunity to do shared reading time even if they aren’t in the same room.
I’ll admit that when I first heard about the free e-book giveaway I was a little skeptical, but, after getting a preview of some of the books, I’m very happy and excited about them. They are all beautifully illustrated, and, along with plenty of classic books like Hansel and Gretel, The Ugly Duckling, and Goldilocks and the Three Bears, there are also Spanish-language editions, ABC books, and illustrated nursery rhymes and songs, like Bingo, The Itsy Bitsy Spider, and The Wheels on the Bus. This is a great collection of high-quality e-books for all children. Many of the books also include a back page of “talking points” to further reading comprehension and retention skills.
In addition to being a vehicle for reading your free books, ustyme also has games, graphic novels, and more books available for purchase. I didn’t get a chance to look through any of the paid content, but it’s there for you to explore.
We’ve been reading to our son since before he was born, and reading has been a part of every single day of his life. He even spends a little time every day flipping through books and “reading” them alone (he’s only two). It’s hard to imagine that there are kids out there who do not have access to books or someone with time or ability to read to them, but we know it’s true. Reading Is Fundamental is a great organization helping to get more books to more children, and this program they are doing with ustyme is simply amazing. If, like our family, you believe that reading is important, grab a set of free e-books for your own family, share the link with families you think need it, and even think about donating to RIF to help them in their mission. Happy #GivingTuesday!