Educational Resources for Families

Literacy & Art Activities

IRW has compiled a list of virtual, literacy-centered activities for families and caregivers who are home with children the pandemic. This post will be updated continually throughout the coming weeks. Happy reading!

Listen to IRW's Podcast, Foreword

Interviews with children's book authors and illustrators, educators, librarians and more! New episodes each Wednesday.

IRW Summer Booklist

Our wonderful volunteer readers rounded up 30 great reads for your summer! From picture books, chapter books, graphic novels, middle-grade novels and young adult, there's something for everyone. Check out the list here!

Part 4: Observing and Illustrating with Annette LeBlanc Cate

Follow along with Annette as she observes the chipping sparrow in her yard, looks up details in her field guides, then illustrates!

Part 3: Drawing Birds with Annette LeBlanc Cate

Author/ illustrator and birder Annette LeBlanc Cate spots a house finch outside her window and shows us how she illustrates what she observes. (Scroll down for videos one and two.)

IRW's Little Lit Lessons

Introducing IRW's Little Lit Lessons! Designed for parents and caregivers, these short guides will help you engage the child in your life with books. No teaching experience or books necessary! You have everything you need to do these activities right at home.

Island Readers & Writers Activity Sheets

IRW has custom-designed activity sheets for 34 authors and 53 books that you may have in your home library. If your school is an IRW partner school, your child will have some of these titles at home now! The activity sheets feature offline suggestions as well as art activities and more resources to engage with the book.

Public Internet Access

Click here for a list of libraries in Hancock and Washington counties that have free Internet access available to the public from outside the building.

Community Learning for ME

IRW is excited to be a part of Community Learning for ME, a collaborative online resource led by Rural Aspirations that connects teachers and parents with educational and social services across the state. With the onset of COVID-19, teaching and learning have entered our homes and virtual platforms in unprecedented ways, and with that comes an expanded opportunity to connect and support students together, utilizing Maine resources to support Maine teachers and families.

IRW Director of School Programs Alison Johnson is leading free, book-related workshops for teachers and families on engaging children with picture books. For more info on the sessions, click here.

How to Begin Writing with Lauren Wolk

Lauren Wolk, Newbery Honor-winning author of Wolf Hollow, Beyond the Bright Sea and Echo Mountain shares inspiring words to help kids start writing, plus find more writing tips on her YouTube channel!

Part 2: Look Up! with Annette LeBlanc Cate

Finding and sketching the elusive mourning dove!

Part 1: Look Up! with Annette LeBlanc Cate

Take a bird-watching journey through your own backyard with this video created just for IRW!

Eric Carle reads The Very Hungry Caterpillar

A classic story read by the author/ illustrator.

Child Mind Institute Resources for Parents

Caregivers, this website is just for you! Practicing mindfulness, managing anxiety, and daily tips for parenting during the Covid-19 crisis.

Stimola Live

Live drawing lessons -- including with Maine illustrator Matt Tavares -- read alouds and more! Click here for a schedule.

Draw Every Day with JJK

Author/ illustrator Jarret Krosoczka of National Book Award-winner Hey Kiddo is offering drawing lessons for all ages each day at 2 p.m. EST.

Coloring Page Download

MDI artist Jennifer Judd-McGee created coloring pages available for free download to keep kids and adults occupied and creative. Click here to download this page and many more!

Cobscook TREE Bedtime Stories

From Sunday-Thursday at 7 p.m., join Cobscook TREE on Facebook Live for virtual bedtime stories! 

Summer Festival of the Arts Virtual Art Classes

This MDI nonprofit is offering virtual art, music and dance classes for all ages! Check the schedule here.

Barbara Bush Foundation Educational Toolkit

Digital classrooms, video story time and more!

Google Arts & Culture

Take virtual tours of hundreds of museum exhibitions, learn about famous paintings and more with this neat interactive tool.

Scholastic Learn at Home

Educational resources for all ages.

Story Time from Space

Watch real astronauts read space-themed books from space with Story Time from Space, an initiative by the Global Space Education Foundation. There are dozens of stories from which to choose.

Virtual Story Time with Chris Van Dusen

Join author/ illustrator Chris Van Dusen on his YouTube channel for daily story time, when he will read from one of his books.

Anica Mrose Rissi Story Time

Author Anica Mrose Rissi reads from her newest picture book, Love, Sophia on the Moon. 

Write to an Anica!

Live Drawing with Russ Cox

Author/ illustrator Russ Cox will lead a live drawing lesson every Friday on Facebook at 10 a.m. EST and has a free activity page available for download.

Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems

Each day at 1 p.m. EST, author/ illustrator Mo Willems will lead an art workshop and discussion about his work and process.

Sophie Blackall Reads Ivy & Bean

Follow along with author/ illustrator Sophie Blackall as she reads chapter one of Ivy & Bean, One Big Happy Family.