Storybooks Canada

Frequently Asked Questions

Why read stories from Africa?

While the stories in Storybooks Canada have their origins in Africa, the content is universal in theme. Reading stories from the Global South promotes cultural understanding and provides the opportunity for students to become global citizens and learn about other cultures.

Why are all of the stories from the African Storybook?

The African Storybook initiative makes hundreds of stories freely available under the Creative Commons license, providing picture storybooks for children’s literacy, enjoyment and imagination. We are grateful to the South African organization, Saide, for making these wonderful stories freely available under an open license.

What makes Storybooks Canada unique?

Storybooks Canada is unique in that it offers stories in a large number of languages with both text and audio. Audio stories help children to learn to read, because they connect sound to symbol. The website also allows users to toggle between two languages so readers can easily see the translation one page at a time.

How can teachers use Storybooks Canada to improve reading fluency?

The only limit is your imagination! For example, teachers can assign stories that all students can read regardless of their reading ability, or primary language. Storybooks Canada offers stories in both text and audio format so students can listen and read simultaneously, and/or toggle between two languages. One story can be used for as many languages as are present in a given classroom.

How can teachers use Storybooks Canada as a homework resource?

Teachers can send home both reading and writing assignments centred around stories that both parents and children can read and understand. Research shows not only that parent involvement in schools contributes to children’s academic success, but also that parent involvement with homework makes a difference in children’s lives.

How can parents use Storybooks Canada?

Storybooks Canada is a useful tool for home that values and celebrates linguistic and cultural diversity. This affords the opportunity for parents of all language backgrounds to read together with their children who might otherwise not have been able to follow a story with English-only text.

Can more stories be added to Storybooks Canada?

Storybooks Canada is designed to be a carefully curated collection of 40 interlinked stories with text and audio. Other websites, like Scribjab, Storyweaver and African Storybook, offer more multilingual stories. Click here to learn more about translating or writing your own stories.

How are Reading Levels assigned within Storybooks Canada?

LevelDescriptionWords per story
Level 1One or two short, simple sentences per pageUp to 75 words
Level 2A few sentences per page76–250 words
Level 3A short paragraph per page251–500 words
Level 4One paragraph per page501–799 words
Level 5A long paragraph per page800 words or more