By: Tiffany Wincek, Product Liaison

The last six months brought many exciting updates to Sora, the student reading app. If you’re looking for a refresher, check out the list of highlights below. These new features and offerings go beyond just ebooks and audiobooks, making Sora an exceptional tool for helping students read more and achieve success in the classroom and beyond.

1. Variable lending periods

Tucked into the new All Settings section of Sora’s main menu is the option to adjust preferred lending periods. Sora automatically uses the preset default lending period you set in Marketplace, but if you enable multiple options, you can allow students to pick the timeframe that best matches their reading needs. For example, I zip through audiobooks, but I take a lot longer to read an ebook, so I increased my ebook lending period to three weeks and kept audiobooks and magazines at two. This also helps to keep books moving on to new readers, which improves hold times!

Pro-tip: Click here to learn more about how to set up lending period options in Marketplace.

2. Checkout limits

Sora’s main menu now shows students how many books they’ve checked out or have on hold from their main school collection. Even better, the menu also shows how many books they can check out or have on hold at a time. Point your voracious readers to this information when they worry they might reach their checkout limit.

Pro-tip: If a lot of your readers mention regularly hitting their limits, consider increasing them in Marketplace.

3. Unlocking books

You may not have noticed the new [+] button in the top right-hand corner of Sora’s home screen, but that tiny icon has a lot of power behind it. Have you ever wished you could set aside specific books in your collection so they could be accessed only by the students or staff who really needed them? Now you can! In Marketplace, you can reserve and bundle titles (or even individual copies of titles) to meet your specific needs—maybe a book club, professional development collection, classroom library, or something else. When teachers claim these bundles, they receive a special access code to share with the students who need the titles. Every time I unlock a bundle, I get the magical feeling of stumbling upon a special hidden shelf in the library!

Pro-tip: Register for our upcoming webinar to learn even more about how you and your students can benefit from reserving and bundling content.

4. Magazines

Once upon a time, I didn’t believe I’d ever be an ebook reader—only print books for me, thank you very much. Here I am, years later, working for OverDrive, devouring ebooks and audiobooks, and living my best reading life. Surely, I’d draw the line at magazines, though…right? There’s nothing quite like that glossy paper in your hands, the colorful graphics…well, turns out I like magazines even more in the digital format. I can scroll through a magazine until an article catches my eye, use the Zoom tool to see all the details in a picture or infographic, and even use the “article view” when I just want to dive into a specific article. No more flipping through pages of ads to find the rest of a column! Learn more about magazines here.

Pro-tip: Magazines don’t count towards checkout limits!

5. Sora Extras

Did you know that the SAT is about to become digital? What better time to check out Method Learning, a test prep service available through Sora Extras. Brand new this month, Sora Extras are services that can expand your students’ world of digital learning. Method Learning and DOGOnews* are the first two offerings in this new category of learning tools. Method Learning helps students learn new tricks, strategies, and techniques to raise ACT and SAT scores—up to 3 and 150 points, respectively. DOGOnews provides thousands of ELA, science, and social studies articles in both English and Spanish. Students can use DOGOnews to learn about current events through materials appropriate for their reading levels, and they can even play vocabulary games and take quizzes. We’re excited to hear how partners are using these tools to meet their curricular needs.

*DOGOnews is available only to U.S. partners.

Have questions about these updates or want to learn more about Sora Extras, magazines, or content bundles? Reach out to your Account Manager today!

About the Author:

Tiffany Wincek, the Product Liaison for OverDrive Education, taught in New York public schools for 10 years prior to joining Team OverDrive. She holds degrees in English, education, and literacy and loves making authentic connections with and providing solutions for OverDrive partners. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, baking, lifting heavy things, and listening to nothing but Nothing But Thieves.