A number of children’s book publishers have partnered with YouTube Kids for #ReadAlong month, a global campaign aimed at promoting early literacy skills and a lifelong love of reading. Throughout the month of June, participating children’s publishers have contributed digital content in the form of exclusive videos and playlists for the YouTube Kids app, which draws more than eight million weekly active viewers.
The #ReadAlong campaign also features content from Universal Studios’ Despicable Me franchise and a special Daddy Daughter Story Time playlist from NFL star Martellus Bennett. The global campaign spans the United States, Canada, the U.K., Australia, India, Ghana, Singapore, and more. Many of the initiatives will continue beyond this month.
Hema Bajaj, strategic programming manager at YouTube Family and Learning, told PW, “Last year we embarked on a mission to get young viewers excited about reading. This year, the YouTube Kids #ReadAlong program is bigger and better: global, in three languages [Spanish, English, and Portuguese], and with a dedicated Reading Tab, where kids and families can go to find their favorite reading-related videos.”
Four shows on the YouTube Kids app aim at fostering early literacy. Word Play by Pinkfong teaches everyday words and phrases through songs and games. Toycantando will host a series of animated episodes, putting a new spin on classic children’s stories. The series is available exclusively on the YouTube Kids app in both English and Spanish. ChuChu TV’s Learning English is Fun features 40 episodes focused on teaching the English alphabet through song. And Learning Street with Bob, a spinoff series of Bob the Train, features 3D animation, original songs, and interactive games with an emphasis on phonics. The YouTube Kids app is available for free on Google Play and the App store.
Four major children’s book publishers have also signed on to contribute content. Penguin Random House has created several picture book read-along videos on the YouTube Kids app and its Brightly Kids YouTube channel, while HMH’s Curious World channel is releasing one fairytale video a day as part of its 30 Fairytales and Fables #ReadAlong playlist. The videos integrate text and voiceover narration, allowing kids to read along simultaneously. HarperCollins has created a new Kid Critic series, which features book reviews for kids, by kids. The house is also hosting a series in which kids and parents guess what books are about from the front and back covers. National Geographic Kids will highlight nonfiction books for early readers, through videos about animals, nature, and more.