CHILDREN across the country will be able to access books online for free during school closures.

Oak National Academy, a Government-backed virtual school, is launching a virtual library so pupils can read books from popular children's authors digitally during the latest lockdown.

The library, formed with The National Literacy Trust, has been launched after measures were taken to close schools in England to the majority of pupils until February half-term.

Children will be provided with a free-to-access book every week from the library's author of the week.

Sue Sanderson, cabinet member for schools and learning at Cumbria County Council, said: "Any access to any books or information to help with learning is important, particularly for the students that don't have access to books at home.

"This will all help support schools as they are doing both remote learning and running the school for the children who still need to be in."

The initiative aims to increase access to e-books and audiobooks for the most disadvantaged young readers during closures and support the literacy of children most affected by Covid-19.

The launch of the library came as 4.1 million pupils accessed the Oak National Academy in the past fortnight - and more than 28 million lessons have been provided since the start of the new school term on January 4.

Jonathan Douglas, chief executive of the National Literacy Trust, said: "We are entering another extremely difficult time and Oak Academy's infrastructure and reach is essential for allowing as many children as possible to access a world of great literature."

To visit the library, go to