Back to School Resources for Students, Families, and Teachers

By Emily S. RSS Mon, August 23, 2021

Many students, parents, caregivers, and teachers are wondering what the upcoming school year is going to look like. The Free Library is here to help you!

Back to School Basics

The first day of classes for Philadelphia School District students is Tuesday, August 31! The district is currently planning for in-person classes this year. Visit the Philadelphia School District website for live updates and details, registration information for Pre-K, and free back-to-school resources.

Move through back-to-school emotions with videos and resources from Free Library Early Learning. Want to share your knowledge? Learn more about becoming a teacher in Philadelphia!

Children who haven’t reached school age just yet can still start literacy learning! Sign up with Ready4K for free literacy tips for ages 0-5, sent right to your phone, or join a storytime with Read, Baby, Read.



The Literacy Enrichment Afterschool Program (LEAP) is a free, inclusive, and accessible safe space for students in grades K-12 to participate in hands-on, literacy-filled activities and learning games. This fall, LEAP will be returning for in-person programming at a neighborhood library near you.

If you or someone you know is interested in assisting young patrons as they adjust returning to school, apply to work as an Afterschool Leader today! Many libraries will also hire Teen Leadership Assistants (TLAs) to help with activities and offer near-peer mentoring. If you are a high school student who would like to work as a TLA, speak to a librarian at your neighborhood library.

This year, LEAP has lots of fun activities in the works, from the crowd favorite slime to storybook-themed breakout rooms, there is sure to be something for everyone! In the meantime, be sure to follow LEAP on Facebook and Instagram for resources, information, and activities you can do from home.


Virtual Learning

  • Need help with homework? Access Homework Help Online through! Tutors are available 7 days a week for school-aged children, teens, and adults, in English or Spanish, and can also help with essay-writing, test prep, GED courses, and citizenship tests.
  • Research school projects and essays the easy way with Kids InfoBits! The online database features kid-friendly resources for students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
  • Gale in Context provides support for middle-grade students working on papers and projects.
  • Gale OneFile offers high-quality content for high schoolers. Students can access magazines, journals, newspapers, multimedia, biographies, and primary sources on a multitude of topics.
  • Master test prep and learn vital career skills with the LearningExpress Library.
  • Explore our Digital Media portal for online access to the Free Library’s wide collection of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, music, and podcasts.


Virtual Classroom Visits

Did you know that librarians can visit your classroom virtually? Librarians can share a storytime or introduce school-aged students to the library’s digital resources. Educators interested in receiving a virtual visit should contact their neighborhood library.


Fall Reading Challenge

Join the Free Library’s online Fall Reading Challenge beginning on September 1! Track your reading progress and complete challenges to earn badges and points. Sign in to the Virtual Reading Challenges Homepage to participate in any of our fall reading and monthly activity adventures. Look out for a special family edition of Back-to-School Mindfulness, along with Virtual Field Trips, Alien Adventures, Writers’ Studio, as well as new, on-going literacy learning programs, DIY Literacy, and 1000 Books by Kindergarten.


Resources at Home

  • Find free resources and support for those who are pregnant, babies, and toddlers from the Department of Children and Families.
  • Apply for assistance, health coverage, SNAP, and other benefits through Compass.
  • If you are renting your home and need help to pay the rent or avoid eviction, you can find support and assistance at
  • Get a jump on winter and apply for LIHEAP to help cover heating costs.
  • Find mental health and coping with stress resources at
  • Check the City Of Philadelphia’s COVID-19 page for health updates about mask mandates, vaccinations, and more.
  • Looking for something else? Try the searchable collection of local community resources from Resource Connects!

Wishing you a safe and supported school year from Youth Services and the Free Library!

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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