Remote and hybrid learning leads to exceptional growth in reading through Sora reading app



CLEVELAND – December 1, 2020 – In a year riddled with challenges, the move to remote and hybrid learning has accelerated the adoption of ebooks and audiobooks in the classroom. As a result, OverDrive Education, the leading digital reading platform for schools worldwide, reports a record number of K-12 schools have made the digital shift in 2020.

Now, 38,000 schools in 71 countries – an increase of 80 percent over last year – allow students to borrow and read their school’s ebooks and audiobooks through the Sora student reading app. Tens of millions of books have been borrowed by students through Sora in 2020, nearly triple the total in 2019. Digital adoption has steadily increased for several years but it has accelerated significantly this year because of the pandemic.

“During the past five and a half years, Napa Valley USD has circulated over 97,000 digital materials from OverDrive Education and the Sora app,” said Kate MacMillan, Coordinator Library Services at Napa Valley USD in California. “Of that amazing number, 24 percent of these circulations occurred during the last eight months. Watching these numbers escalate gave my office a clear idea of the collection map and the foresight to increase our digital budget to meet the needs of our students during this pandemic.”

Margaret Gaudino, School Library Media Programs Coordinator at Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland, added, “Our district’s Library Media Centers began leveraging online resources from the very beginning of the pandemic and these digital resources continue to be vital during distance learning. With the one-to-one implementation of student devices in our district, along with the increased purchase of ebooks, we can say with certainty that all of our students have equitable access to high quality reading materials. A bonus result is the students’ opportunity to leverage accessibility tools within Sora.”

Data shows that students read more with Sora. In addition to easy 24/7 access to assigned readings and other digital materials, students can also use the app’s built-in feature to connect Sora to their local public library’s digital book collection. Ebook and audiobook checkouts increased over 460 percent when students connected Sora to their local public library, compared to the same period in 2019. This integrated feature expands students’ access to more digital books, providing additional age-appropriate choice reading options for students.

“School demand for digital books has surged along with the pandemic, and our teams have put forth tremendous effort to meet this need,” stated Angela Arnold, General Manager of OverDrive Education. “We realize what a critical time this is for educators and students. The good news is we are all beginning to understand how digital reading can make a powerful impact on student engagement. With Sora, teachers have more insight about how students read than they would have with print.”

The top five titles borrowed from K-12 schools in 2020:

  1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
  2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
  3. The Ninjabread Man by Katrina Charman
  4. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
  5. From the Top by Lincoln Peirce

The top five fiction subjects (ebooks & audiobooks) borrowed from K-12 schools in 2020:

  1. Comic and Graphic Books/Humor
  2. Fantasy
  3. Picture Book Fiction
  4. Historical Fiction
  5. Mystery

The top five nonfiction subjects (ebooks & audiobooks) borrowed from K-12 schools

in 2020:

  1. Biography & Autobiography
  2. History
  3. Sociology
  4. Nature/Science
  5. Reference

To learn how schools are leveraging Sora to raise test scores and reading rates with digital books, engage teen readers, boost digital book usage and more, visit Sessions on these topics and beyond are being presented at the ISTE20 Live virtual conference from November 29-December 5, 2020. Recordings of each session will be available to view for six months.

Learn more information about Sora and get started here.



About OverDrive Education – a division of OverDrive

OverDrive Education is the leading digital reading platform for K-12 schools, offering the industry’s largest catalog of ebooks, audiobooks and streaming video. As a 100% digital company serving over 30,000 schools worldwide, OverDrive combines technology with content to support learning and reading in the K-12 classroom, library and home on all major devices. Sora, the student reading app, was named one of TIME’s Best Inventions of 2019. Founded in 1986, OverDrive – the leading digital reading platform for libraries and schools worldwide – and OverDrive Education are based in Cleveland, Ohio USA. OverDrive was acquired by funds affiliated with global investment firm KKR in 2020.

David Burleigh
Director of Brand Marketing & Communications