Sora app users can read and listen to digital items recently purchased by the District. Checked-out materials are available across multiple devices such as Chromebooks, tablets, laptops, desktops, and smartphones.
“This is an exciting opportunity for secondary students and staff to have access to so many books online,” said Board of Education President Maresa Manzione. “I hope the convenience and variety will be appreciated and used by everyone.”
Stansbury High and Tooele Junior High Schools have been using the student reading app created by OverDrive for the past few years, but with the District’s buy-in, the resources are now available for all junior high and high school students as well as employees.
“Before OverDrive’s Sora app, a student might only have access to a library once a week or once a month, but now students can have access to audio and eBooks anytime from anywhere,” said Aimee Perry, TCSD Curriculum director.
“Having readily available access to these items expands a reader’s options and empowers them to read even more. It’s like Netflix for books,” said Perry.
Students and staff members can get the free app by downloading it from the Apple Store, or via Google Play. They can also get access by visiting, https://soraapp.com.
To sign in, users will select Tooele County School District as their school and use the username and password associated with their @tooeleschools.org email address. For those who need assistance retrieving their Tooele Schools email information, contact the District Technology Help Desk at 435-884-7799 or email, email@example.com.
Currently, the District’s digital bookshelf offers more than 700 titles, including 551 eBooks, and 163 audiobooks on 66 different subjects. Most items fall under the categories of Young Adult or Juvenile in both fiction and nonfiction genres.
If a Sora app user has an active library account with the Stansbury Park, Tooele or Grantsville city libraries, they can connect their library account to the app as well. This will allow users to borrow books from the public library’s eBook and audio collection. However, the Sora app will limit items to the Juvenile and Young Adult categories.
Although the Sora app is currently limited to 7th through 12th-grade students and staff members, Perry said options for elementary students will be looked at in the future.
Auto return and holds - App users can check out two items at a time for a period of 14 days. Once the time is up, the book is automatically returned so there are never any late fees. Readers can choose to renew their books before they are due and if no one else has the book on hold, they can use the book for another 14 days. If a user finishes their book early or decides they don’t want to read or listen to the material further, they can return it at any time and pick something else. If a book is currently checked out, a hold can be placed on the book so when it gets returned, a student can be next in line to check it out.
Bookmarks, annotations and font selection - The app allows users to add bookmarks, notes and highlights whether they are listening to an audiobook or reading an eBook. The notations can be synced across devices and can also be exported to PDF, CSV, Google Drive and Canvas – a learning management system. Readers can choose to enlarge text, select a dyslexic font, (specific fonts are shown to help some dyslexic readers), or choose a read-along option where text changes color one word at a time. Users can adjust the background lighting in most books too.
Built-in dictionary function - If a user comes across a word they are unfamiliar with, the app has a define feature so users can learn the meaning of the word and what it may translate to in another language.
Achievement badges - The app comes with digital achievement award badges and avatars to engage readers. It also keeps track of reading stats. Readers can see how many books they have read, their total reading time, average time per book and more.
Teacher functions - While students can use the app for leisure reading, teachers can also use the app to make reading assignments. The OverDrive Resource Center offers teachers specialized training to learn more about using the app in their classroom.
For more information about using Sora visit: https://help.soraapp.com/