Tuesday, July 8, 2008

An Online Reading Treasure Trove for Young Readers

I ran across this site and it is, indeed, a treasure trove of good reading for younger readers. The site is called The Baldwin Online Children's Literature Project. http://www.mainlesson.com/displaybooksbytitle.php Following is their statement of purpose, so you can judge for yourself what type of site it is. So far they have 509 classical children's works available for free online, and you are allowed to print out copies for your own use. I've been having a ball reading some works I've never read before--definitely works that will appeal to younger readers and to the adults who may be reading along.

The Baldwin Project seeks to make available online a comprehensive collection of resources for parents and teachers of children. Our focus, initially, is on literature for children that is in the public domain in the United States. This includes all works first published before 1923. The period from 1880 or so until 1922 offers a wealth of material in all categories, including: Nursery Rhymes, Fables, Folk Tales, Myths, Legends and Hero Stories, Literary Fairy Tales, Bible Stories, Nature Stories, Biography, History, Fiction, Poetry, Storytelling, Games, and Craft Activities.
We offer these resources at no charge and grant permission to individuals to print copies for personal and educational uses. The texts are formatted so that attractive copies can be printed easily, in larger type for younger readers and smaller type for older ones, with illustrations included where possible. Teachers and parents can make use of the readers that are already available, or they can construct their own readers by selecting stories from the existing pool.
We hope that by offering these online texts that more of today's children will become familiar with the works of Padraic Colum, Howard Pyle, Andrew Lang, and James Baldwin, that were read so widely just a few generations ago.
To guide parents and teachers in their selection of stories for particular children, we plan to include suggested age ranges for each of the stories, both the age at which children first enjoy hearing the story read to them and the age when they can typically read the story to themselves. In addition we look forward to compiling anthologies of stories and lists of books suitable for each age.
The Baldwin Project is named in honor of James Baldwin (1841-1925). In the Acknowledgments included in his The Book of Virtues, William J. Bennett declares his indebtedness to James Baldwin among others: "The editor also gratefully acknowledges the endeavors of scholars and collectors such as James Baldwin, Jesse Lyman Hurlbut, and Andrew Lang, who in a past age devoted their energies to preserving some of the best of our heritage, and whose works have supplied this volume with many truly great stories."
We seek to accomplish in the online arena at the beginning of this century what James Baldwin achieved in the world of print at the beginning of the last century: bringing yesterday's classics to today's children.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the link.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this site. The great thing is that you can download and print everything they offer. I hate reading off the computer. Limits where and when you can read. For me a good book is something you can curl up with in bed, not exactly something you can do with a computer.

Anonymous said...

You just helped to expand our home library by hundreds of books--thank you!