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Featured Website of the Month (Jan.) - Vooks

Books, books, books…there are so many different kinds of books in the world. Children’s books, mystery books, the Bible, devotional books, magazines, educational books...the list could go on and on. A while back, I featured a website that was an online collection of stories read by famous people. Check out that post here. This month, I’m featuring a similar website called Vooks.

On facebook and instagram, there have been several ads floating around for this website. And to make the ad even more enticing, Vooks is offering a ONE YEAR free subscription for teachers. That’s right?! ONE YEAR! I love getting long trials like this because then I can get a better grasp on what a website is all about. A week long trial doesn’t always cut it. So what is Vooks all about?

Vooks is an online collection of stories for children. It is advertised as an “ever-growing streaming library of animated children’s storybooks.” In other words, it takes children’s stories and animates them. Vooks also advertises as being a “library filled with stories and songs created specifically for children. No ads, no in-app purchases, and guaranteed kid-friendly”. Now, it is important to note that everyone’s definition of “kid-friendly” varies. For example, there is the occasional story about monsters or mythical creatures that some may want to avoid. Like any website, parents and teachers should preview the stories prior to showing them to their children. Then use discretion and discernment to decide if a book is appropriate for your child and instills the values you want your child to learn.

Now let’s get into what the website looks like and contains. The layout has stories broken down into categories such as “Recently Added”, “Seasonal”, “Dream Big”, or “Vehicles” stories. Scroll through the thumbnails to find a story that interests you. When you find a story, simply click on it and it will bring you to the story page. Click play to start the story. 

Each story is animated with moving pictures and read aloud by someone. The text is written along the bottom of the screen. In addition, the words are highlighted as the reader tells the story. This is a nice feature so students can follow along, word by word. If you would like to save a video to watch later, click on the symbol in the top right corner of the book thumbnail. This will add the story to something called, “My List”. This is a place where you can find stories you would like to view later.

Parents could use Vooks as part of their bedtime routine. They could use Vooks during storytime throughout the day. Teachers could add Vooks as part of their Guided Reading routines. I have a friend who uses Vooks as part of her Listening Center. Students gather around the iPads to listen to a preselected story. Afterwards they fill out a simple book report. They write down the title, author, problem and solution, and draw a picture.

Teachers could also use this as a way to change up storytime. Sometimes a teacher needs a break from reading the story, so having a story video might help! Or a teacher could use Vooks during snack time, so the students can listen to a story while they eat. There are a variety of ways that Vooks could be used at home or at school. 

This website is not meant to be a replacement of adults reading with their children! Nothing can replace snuggling up on the couch with your child or reading to a group of students in a circle on the floor. Too much screen time is not healthy for little minds either. But it is a great tool to have in your toolbelt to pull out when you could use a little variety in your routine. Can you think of any other ways you might be able to use this website?

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