SUHSD purchases new reading app, creates digital library

Prior+to+COVID-19%2C+students+fill+the+Bonita+Vista+High+library+on+a+school+day.+Students+will+now+have+access+to+library+content+online.+

Lucia Rivera

Prior to COVID-19, students fill the Bonita Vista High library on a school day. Students will now have access to library content online.

Grace Na , Staff writer

On March 10th, Bonita Vista High (BVH) librarian Mary Aruil sent out an email to students informing them that they would have access to the latest software purchased by the district, an application called Sora

According to the Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD), “The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was approved by the board of trustees on December 14, 2020, Board Agenda Item G-7. The MOU will provide access to Sora, a student reading app by OverDrive that will be accessible to all SUHSD students.” 

Sora is a reading platform that allows students to obtain access to electronic books (e-books), electronic versions of textbooks, audiobooks online. Students would be able to bookmark, take notes, highlight, and adjust font type including dyslexic font. The platform also allows students to sync between devices so they can pick up right where they left off.

According to SUHSD,district librarians can customize their school’s digital library with purchased titles to support curriculum and independent reading goals. Then, the librarians can start purchasing e- books and titles.

“[Sora is administered] through the company Overdrive. I sent out a Jupiter email to all students and I’m inviting everyone to join,” Aruil said.

According to Aruil, Sora requires its users to make a purchase before gaining access to it. However, the company gave out opportunities for schools to use the platform.

It’s expensive, but because of COVID-19, Overdrive actually offered it for free to schools.”

— BVH librarian Mary Aruil

“It’s expensive, but because of COVID-19, Overdrive actually offered it for free to schools,” Aruil said. “It took some time for The [Sweetwater] Board to approve it.”

Aruil stated that being able to use the platform was approved approximately late January, early February this year. Aruil then added how students are able to access the e-books, which would be through the use of students’ district credentials. 

“[Once you are on the site,] click on “sweetwater”. Then you’re going to sign on with your district credentials. It knows immediately by your district credentials, which school you belong to,” Aruil said.“[Sora is] super easy [to use], so I’m really excited about this.”

BVH Assistant Principal Carlos Siragusa and SUHSD Assistant Superintendent Ana Maria Alvarez, Ed.D did not make themselves available for an interview.