Whether you are homeschooling your kids as part of your daily routine or because schools have closed, the NCBLA offers valuable resources to help you make the most of your at-home educational experiences. On this page, we have collected engaging resources from across both our websites—resources that require nothing more than your time, imagination, and sometimes paper and pencils.

Click on a category or scroll down to discover stories, activities, and more to help you get your kids reading and writing and entertained!

Homeschooling Powerhouse: The Exquisite Corpse Adventure
OurWhiteHouse.org: History and Civics Education
Readers Theater: All You Need to Read, Write, and Perform
WILLIAM AND THE MYSTERIOUS BRAME by Katherine Paterson: An Original Short Story and Activity Kit for Parents and Educators
Helpful Articles from Our Handbooks
Finding Books for Your Kids…Even When the Library Is Closed


Homeschooling Powerhouse:
The Exquisite Corpse Adventure

Online ECA Book Open
CLICK THIS IMAGE to read from the interactive, page-turner version of The Exquisite Corpse Adventure on Read.gov.

The Exquisite Corpse Adventure is an episodic story game that was written and illustrated by twenty award-winning authors and illustrators of young people’s literature as a national literacy project for young people. Fan favorites Kate DiCamillo, Jon Scieszka, Katherine Paterson, and James Ransome are among the contributors.

The complete story game is available free online in several formats for you to share with young people:

READ or LISTEN to all 27 episodes on Read.gov.
READ the interactive, page-turner version here.

To maximize the reading, writing, and artistic opportunities The Exquisite Corpse Adventure story game affords young people, the NCBLA has created a comprehensive Education Resource Center, which includes supplemental articles to inspire progressive storytelling and games, classroom activities, and art projects.

Be sure to have your kids test their imaginations by writing their own progressive stories and playing progressive story games. Check out Creating Your Own Exquisite Corpse Story Adventure for instructions.

In the below video, NCBLA Executive Director Mary Brigid Barrett introduces The Exquisite Corpse Adventure story game and what fun you will have reading and reacting to this exciting progressive story with your kids.


WILLIAM AND THE MYSTERIOUS BRAME by Katherine Paterson

An Original Short Story and Activity Kit for Families and Educators

William was bored. Really bored. Out of his skull bored. His best friend, Richie, was off to a fancy summer camp, while William was stuck at home with a long, hot summer stretching out before him and nobody to do stuff with.

He turned on the TV and flipped through all the channels, but there was nothing, nothing worth watching. He went to his game shelf, but there wasn’t any game you could really play by yourself. His dog, Webster, loved to chew puzzle pieces, so he was sure there were pieces missing from all the puzzles. He lay down in the middle of the living room floor and sighed so loudly that his mother could hear it from the kitchen.

“What’s the matter now, William?”

The way she said it didn’t sound as sympathetic as maybe she meant it to.
“I’m bored!”

— From WILLIAM AND THE MYSTERIOUS BRAME by Katherine Paterson

Award-winning author Katherine Paterson has penned a special short story for young readers everywhere, and the NCBLA is thrilled to include it on this website!

Accompanying the story are activities created to get kids reading and writing—whether they are isolated due to the pandemic, bored over the summer vacation, OR back at their school desks. We invite you to use these activities as you see fit and to be as creative with them as you desire. You are also invited to print the story and activities and share them as needed.

Click here to read the story and to discover all of the accompanying reading and writing activities.


OurWhiteHouse.org: History and Civics Education

The NCBLA’s companion educational website OurWhiteHouse.org abounds with articles, activities, and discussion questions related to presidential history, voting rights, campaigns, and elections, as well as presidential inaugurations. Visit the HISTORY & CIVICS page for direct access to dozens of articles focused on these topics.

Other highlights for homeschoolers include:


Readers Theater: All You Need to Read, Write, and Perform

Readers Theater offers a variety of reading, writing, and performance opportunities for kids at home. Similar to a radio play, Readers Theater is a dramatic presentation in which performers stand in place on stage—or in front of the sofa or picnic table!—reading their lines from a script and using their voices to heighten comedy and drama. Typically, costumes and sets are limited or nonexistent, but feel free to have your kids make their own.

The Readers Theater page on this website includes an Education Resource Guide with instructions for helping kids write and produce their own Readers Theater productions, as well as four scripts you and your kids can read from and perform at home. Available scripts were written by award-winning authors Susan Cooper, Grace Lin, and Katherine Paterson.

To inspire your kids to write and perform their own Readers Theater production, watch the video of the NCBLA’s “Literary Lights” Readers Theater presentation at the 2013 National Book Festival below. Participants included former National Ambassadors for Young People’s Literature Katherine Paterson and Jon Scieszka; Chairman Emeritus of Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) Lynda Johnson Robb as Cowboy; President and CEO Emeritus of RIF Carol Rasco as Octopus; award-winning authors Susan Cooper and Grace Lin; and NCBLA President and Executive Director Mary Brigid Barrett.

 


Helpful Articles from Our Handbooks

Our online Handbooks for Parents and Guardians, as well as for Teachers, offer a treasure trove of articles and activities you can do at home. Here are some favorites:


Finding Books For Your Kids…Even When the Library Is Closed

Author Nikki Grimes recommends Karma by Cathy Ostlere.

If only our public libraries were open 24/7, we could visit and check out books whenever our schedules allowed. To fill the gap, many libraries offer access to e-books from the comfort of our own homes just by entering a library card number. You can contact your local library for instructions.

The next time you are looking for book recommendations for your kids–whether to read as an e-book or a printed copy—be sure to check out all of the NCBLA’s  GREAT READS, a list of favorite books recommended by authors and illustrators of young people’s literature.

Also be sure to peruse our themed booklists to help navigate choices. Here is a sample of our booklists: