Back to School Resources and Programs for Students

By Valerie S. RSS Tue, September 1, 2020

The new school year starts this week throughout Philadelphia and whether students will be attending school in-person and / or virtually, the Free Library is ready to help with resources and programs to help make the school year a success.

Here are some of the many ways the Free Library can help students soar into this September and succeed all year long:

LEAP (Literacy Enrichment Afterschool Program)
The Free Library’s Literacy Enrichment Afterschool Program (LEAP) will be a little different this school year. For the first half of the school year, LEAP will be sharing activities, DIY videos, homework help, and more via social media. With a digital binder full of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math activities, LEAP is ready to make sure children and teens throughout Philadelphia are inspired and curious to learn more about things that interest them! LEAP will also provide employment opportunities for nearly 60 teens who will work virtually as Teen Leadership Assistants (TLA). TLAs will continue to play a vital and vibrant part in the success of LEAP and their creative work will be highlighted throughout the year.

Homework Help Online
A favorite resource for this time of year is Homework Help Online through This resource is part of our Digital Learning portal and can be accessed from just about anywhere with a connection to the internet—you simply need your library card number and account PIN. Homework Help Online offers everything from live tutoring—in English and Spanish, from 10:00 a.m. to 12 midnight, seven days a week—to test prep and helping students' essays shine. Homework Help Online provides resources for elementary to college students, and even adult learners preparing for their G.E.D. or U.S. Citizenship test.

Fall Reading Challenge
Participate in our online reading and activity challenge, which begins September 7! Log minutes you spend reading and how many books you read, while collecting points and earning badges for participating in online activities.

Virtual Visits from Librarians
Educators interested in receiving a virtual visit from a librarian can submit a request through our website. Librarians can provide a storytime, introduce students to the library’s digital resources that can support school assignments, and digital media such as music, movies, magazines, and books.

There are many more online resources students and their families can access with your library card (and PIN). Check out all of the available databases or browse a few of the featured resources below from our Digital Learning Portal:

  • Gale in Context provides support for middle-grade students working on papers and projects. Students can access magazines, newspapers, multimedia, biographies, and primary sources on a multitude of topics.
  • Kids InfoBits features child-friendly content for students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Students will find news, biographies, books, magazines, pictures, and videos on a range of topics.
  • Gale OneFile offers high-quality content for high schoolers. Students can explore magazines, journals, newspapers, images, audio, and video on a diversity of topics.
  • LearningExpress Library provides access to practice tests, skill-building exercises, interactive tutorials, and ebooks for college prep and school success. Students can prepare for the PSAT, SAT, AP exams,  and more.
  • Mango Languages offers a fun and interactive way to learn over 70 world languages, including Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin, French, Russian, Korean, and Hindi.


Ready for a break from studying? We can help with that too! Check out some streaming entertainment via our Digital Media portal:

  • Watch Hoopla to stream movies, TV, music, and audiobooks.
  • With Kanopy you can stream four movies a month.
  • The Popular Music Library and Contemporary World Music databases are excellent sources for melodies, beats, and voices that can clear the mind or amp up a study session. 

Start Reading!
Students have endless opportunities to engage in that core library activity: enjoying a great book. The Free Library’s catalog includes 2.4 million titles, with 700,000 titles for younger readers!

Attendance Matters!
Good attendance at school helps students become stronger readers and do well in school. Find more information and family resources from Read by 4th to help students become attendance heroes. Read by 4th is a citywide campaign bringing together a coalition of partners working towards a shared vision that all children will be reading on grade level by the time they enter the 4th grade. Sign up to get free literacy tips sent to your phone for ages 0-5 from Ready4K. It's never too early to start building literacy skills and helping your child get ready for school!

Virtual Programming
Check out our virtual calendar of events for a full schedule with Back to School-related resources!

We wish all students, teachers, parents, and caregivers the best of luck for a wonderful new school year!

Have a question for Free Library staff? Please submit it to our Ask a Librarian page and receive a response within two business days.

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I wanted more information about the back to school learning.
Jade Pizzo - Philadelphia
Tuesday, November 17, 2020