Sunday, January 20, 2019

Storyline Online and a FREEBIE

Storyline Online is one of the best sites for viewing children's book read alouds. Let me share some details you might not know yet, and I'll throw in a helpful Freebie you'll use again and again.

If you've looked on YouTube for kids books being read aloud you've found thousands of them. Any given children's book title usually has several different uploaded read aloud videos to choose from and there is a wide range in quality. I found Storyline Online this very way, while looking through all the YouTube videos for read alouds.

Storyline Online is made possible by the Screen Actors Guild Foundation, SAG-AFTRA. It is absolutely free to use. As I write this they have over fifty children's picture book read aloud videos available. Here's a sample.

Each video starts with the actor, or actors, holding the book and giving a book introduction before beginning to read.

The camera zooms in on the illustrations, where often little parts of the pictures become animated. Throughout the story you go back and forth between seeing the illustrations and the actor reading the book, so kids never forget they are being read to. 

Fully animated video movies of children's books are great, to be sure, but it is easy to forget those cartoons come from books. I think when kids watch books being read by live people there is added value and emphasis on reading.

Because I had always viewed the Storyline Online videos directly on YouTube, I didn't realize that there are activity guides written for each story, which you can only get on the Storyline Online site.


The activity guides, written for teachers mostly, but some with activity guides specifically for parents, are chockfull of ideas– some suggest before, during and after the story discussion points, themes, writing ideas, art, movement, even cooking activities... all sorts of things to choose from. You can find them by going directly to under the All Books tab.

You can watch the Storyline Online read aloud videos on YouTube, but when watching on YouTube it is pretty easy to get to other videos and ads, some of which you wouldn't want your kids to view. You can also watch Storyline Online videos directly on, with options of watching via YouTube or SchoolTube, with SchoolTube being the safer option.

Either way you choose to watch on the Storyline Online site, when you get to the end of the video, other Storyline Online videos will pop up. That isn't a bad thing, unless you want kids to only watch one particular story, or you want other kids to use the same device and watch that one particular story.  So to keep kids on the correct story I created QR codes for the stories through Safe YouTube.

Click to download Safe YouTube QR Code cards for Storyline Online videos

Safe YouTube is better than safe mode on YouTube, and it takes away all those many buttons and videos that cause distractions and allow kids to click and end up anywhere on YouTube. No online connection is completely safe and kids seem to find a way to other things no matter what, so always keep an eye on what they are watching.

I created one for each story on Storyline Online, currently fifty three in total. You can print out the QR Code cards in color, or they come out crisp and clean if you choose to print in black and white. Laminate, cut apart, and you'll have a set of cards for kids to use on any device with a QR Code reader. It will take them to that story and no other. These work great in classrooms as centers, Daily 5 and Readers Workshop stations, and independent reading choices. If you're a parent you'll find them useful at home or on the road with devices.

To get this Freebie just click on the picture of QR code cards above. There are six pages in all. I will update as I see new stories appear on Storyline Online. Be sure to Pin this post so you can get to updated pages.

I suggest you cruise by to see the full list of read aloud titles. I found many good books there, books I hadn't heard of before. I like to have actual copies of the books the kids are going to listen to, and I like to read the book to my students first, so I can make the most out of that read aloud– focusing on vocabulary, story problem, characters, etc.  But if I'm low on cash, Storyline Online is a way to let my kidpeople hear quality books at no cost to me. Many of my favorite Flashlight Press books are there, too, and if you are a regular reader you know how I love Flashlight Press. (News Flash– I'll be giving away another Flashlight Book soon!!) Storyline Online has won lots of awards and that is for very good reason. Good book selections, VERY well read!

Hope you found this post about Storyline Online and the activity guides helpful. And I hope you'll download the QR Code cards and find them useful with your kids. I am not being paid or getting any perk for telling you about Storyline Online. I just wanted to share a great resource.

See you next time!


  1. I'm a huge fan of Storyline Online. We just watched Oprah reading the Hula Hoop book. I never knew about the story activity guides ~ thanks for sharing that tidbit! Happy MLK Jr. Day!


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