OverDrive Education offers the industry’s largest catalog of ebooks, audiobooks, for over 55,000 K-12 schools

OverDrive Education, a division of OverDrive, offers the industry’s largest catalog of ebooks, audiobooks, digital magazines and other content for over 55,000 K-12 schools and millions of students worldwide. The company's student reading app, Sora, provides every student with access to the right books. Supporting the need to read required curriculum titles, class sets and pleasure reading digital books, Sora’s powerful learning tools and insights help meet the needs of students and educators. Sora was named one of TIME’s Best Inventions of 2019. TeachingBooks.net, acquired in 2021, complements Sora with one of the largest catalogs of original and curated literary resources. Founded in 1986, OverDrive – the leading digital reading platform for libraries – and OverDrive Education are in Cleveland, Ohio USA. www.overdrive.com/schools

What do they do?

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Product Overview.

HeadteacherChat’s Review of OverDrive’s SORA

Read the full review below...

How does OverDrive describe their product?

Sora is a primary-secondary school app designed around the modern reading experience that empowers students and teachers with access to the most extensive and diverse catalogue of ebooks and audiobooks.

Whether students are reading for class or fun, Sora offers powerful learning tools paired with essential titles so that students gain 24/7 access to the titles they want and the support they need.

In addition, if schools are looking for pre-built and cost-effective collections of ebooks and audiobooks, we also offer Ebooks NOW. With Ebooks NOW, schools have access to a quality, handpicked collection of digital books shared among participating primary and secondary schools in the UK and accessible through the Sora app.

Sora solves the challenge of getting students access to the ebooks and audiobooks they want and need. Through Sora’s extensive catalogue, including access to additional formats like audiobooks and Read-Alongs, content meets the individual learning needs of all students. Every student learns differently and a “one size fits all” approach is not appropriate when it comes to reading. Sora ensures every student has a format that works for them.

For schools, Sora solves an accessibility challenge with providing online and offline use and in the classroom or at home access to a hand-picked catalogue. Sora offers cost-effective pre-built collections to make sure they fit the budget of any school.

What does it enable you to do?

Sora provides schools with a digital school library, but OverDrive is very clear that it is intended to supplement a paper library, not replace it. Sora has a massive catalogue of books available including best-sellers and classics, as well as the most popular, and latest, titles. During the pandemic, Sora was invaluable to schools and pupils when access to paper copies of books was impossible for many learners. It is this huge increase in accessibility that is the biggest benefit of Sora.

Books can be used 24/7, on any device, in any location, meaning that a physical book does not have to be carried and remembered. Learners can personalise their reading experience by changing the font, text size, line spacing, weight of text and lighting to suit their own needs. Other features include the ability to check definitions of words and export highlighted notes made by the learner. Audiobooks, Read-Alongs, magazines, graphic novels and books in a number of other languages create even greater accessibility and accommodate numerous learning styles.

Once a book has been borrowed from the digital library, it opens immediately and when the loan period expires, access to the book is automatically taken away from the pupil. This removes the problems associated with learners being charged for late book returns and books being lost, damaged or stolen.

Digital class sets of books provide a flexible rental option.  Schools no longer have to store multiple copies of books and using Sora ensures that teachers have the latest editions of books. As well as individual reading books and class sets, there are books available in the library to support the curriculum and teachers’ CPD.

OneDrive have a number of different lending models to match different school contexts and Account Managers in the UK are available to discuss the most suitable of these.

Benefits of using SORA?

  • Curate your own collections of ebooks and audiobooks by age, subject and themes or use pre-built collections
  • Available 24/7 online or offline and across devices
  • Reading activity enhancements including notes, highlights and defined
    words — all exportable to PDF, CSV and Google Drive
  • Reading data and personalisation – Books read, total reading time, average time per book/session, achievements, avatars and more
  • Special Education Needs support– Audiobooks, dyslexic font, enlarged text and Read-Alongs




https://www.overdrive.com/discoversora  (OverDrive Home page)

https://www.overdrive.com/discoversora/about  (About Sora)

In summary, HeadteacherChat recommends Sora because there is an amazing selection of books to choose from in many different languages and genres. They are easy to access on any device, at any time and place, and can be tailored to the reader’s individual needs by changing the style and weight of the font, the text and line spacing.

We also like the fact that children can check the meaning of words and make notes about their reading.

Lucy Coy December 2022. CEO, HeadteacherChat.