School’s Out… Or Is It?

The recent concern around coronavirus has led to school closures in several US states and more than 30 different countries. Even when there aren’t any epidemics in progress, anything from power outages and snow days to full-blown natural disasters can shut down a school, interrupting the learning process and leaving bored children with time to fill.

The Internet Archive’s mission is Universal Access to All Knowledge, and that includes making it possible for anyone to receive a quality education, anytime, anywhere. School closures are a perfect time to take advantage of online learning—any student with an internet connection can enjoy a huge variety of books on virtually any subject, even accessing the collections of other schools and public libraries.

Alexis Rossi, Director of Collections here at the Internet Archive, has curated a list of resources that can help children continue their education outside of the classroom. If you’re facing a school closure, here’s a handy guide to help you find educational materials on a few popular subjects. And if you need resources for a topic that isn’t on this list, feel free to search the archive and spend the closure diving in to our collections!


The oldest stories in the world still tell thrilling tales. If you’re fascinated by Isis and Osiris or want to know who first stole fire, check out this collection of books on myths and legends !

Outer Space

Did you know that it sometimes snows on Mars? Or that a day on Venus is longer than a year? This collection of books and multimedia about the cosmos contains plenty of fun facts to inspire budding astronomers.

Children’s Literature

A few years ago The New York Public Library published a list of the top 100 children’s books from the previous 100 years, a “who’s who” of childhood favorites—from Dr. Seuss to JK Rowling, from Goodnight Moon to Esperanza Rising. The best part is that most of these books are on the Internet Archive and can be checked out for free!

The American Revolution

Calling all history buffs! If you want to learn about the writers who called for independence, the spies who gathered information, the women who joined the war effort, or the everyday citizens who survived a world-changing revolution, this is the place.

1000 Black Girl Books

When 11-year-old Marley Dias noticed that her school reading list was mostly stories about “white boys and dogs”, she decided to take matters into her own hands. Marley curated a collection of 1000 books that featured black girls as the protagonists, and the Internet Archive is working hard to digitize them all so that everyone can read them. Check out the books we have so far!


Who doesn’t love learning about dinosaurs? Run with velociraptors, fly with pteranodons, and swim with ichthyosaurs with this collection of Jurassic gems!


Widely considered one of the greatest writers in the English language, William Shakespeare’s works have been read by generations of schoolchildren. Since all his works are in the public domain, you can read multiple editions of them online—along with helpful notes, commentaries, and study guides!

Study Breaks

Can you make it to the Willamette Valley without dying of dysentery? Or beat Bobby Fischer in a game of chess? The Internet Archive is home to a variety of fun and educational computer games from years past, including “The Oregon Trail”, “Spellevator”, “Number Munchers”, “Grammar Gobble”, “Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess”, and “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego”.

If you prefer analog activities, we also have a range of puzzles and games, coloring books, sudoku grids, and other activity books that kids of all ages can enjoy. Feel free to print and play!

Other Resources

Looking for more formal educational resources? The Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education has produced a series of lesson plans on a huge variety of subjects, from the history of Yugoslavia to the principles of economics to the basics of haiku. Take a look!

Outside of the Internet Archive, other useful educational resources include Khan Academy,, and your local library’s websites (here’s the San Francisco Public Library’s kids portal).

Whether you’re facing a school closure or not, the Internet Archive is a great resource for children’s educational materials. If you want to support our mission of Universal Access To All Knowledge, click here to donate. And if you have any other suggestions for items in our collections that could be useful, leave them in the comments!

17 thoughts on “School’s Out… Or Is It?

  1. Pingback: North Carolina High School Newspapers, Johnson Publishing Photography Archive, Google Lens, More: Thursday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, March 12, 2020 | Business Marketing Journal

  2. Ficri

    Hello, I’m Ficri from Indonesia.
    Responding to the coronavirus problem, almost all schools were closed and several companies began to implement work at home, we hope that this problem is quickly resolved so that everyone can get back to their normal activities.

  3. Marian B.

    What a sensible and smart idea to present this multitude of information and subjects to study, when many of us are in quarantine at home now. This is a beautiful way to make the best of a bad thing, using internet as a source for study and entertainment. For children and adults. Parents can now dedicate quality time to their kids.
    I’m quite curious about some of the subjects presented here. Much work is done by people who created such a collection of choices, thank you!

  4. G. Fisher

    What a *wonderful* way to utilize the tremendous resources of the Archive! Thank you, IA!

  5. M. J. Balcaen

    Forget kids! I’m 62 and thrilled with this! There’s so much here I wanted to read at the “right” age, or more often only found out about long after I was supposed to be reading more “mature” books. Example: I was forced to watch “The Secret of Nimh” by some youngsters about 30 years ago. I liked the movie, much to my surprise, decided to get the book, and have read it several times. A few years ago, I had to pass my copy on to my nephew’S 10-year-old son, visiting for only a few hours, who was drawn in by the first 2 pages. I’ve missed it since and never seem to remember to get another copy, but as it’s one of your featured selections I know where to find it anytime. There’s lots of new things here, too – can’t wait to try some of those old games. (It’s not comparable in subject matter, but I first played “Leisure Suit Larry 1” when Larry was a whole 2 x 8 pixels, so a lack of resolution won’t be a problem.) Thanks so much for this. I’m in the “bullseye” cohort for Covid-19 so won’t be going out much for awhile – Internet Archive, you’re my saviour! (again)
    Jean B.
    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

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  8. Tania Garcia-Pena

    Excelente material, muchas gracias por compartir. Lo uso en mi clase de Dual Language en Richmond, claro ahora clase a distancia con mis estudiantes de Tercer Grado. Gracias.

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