Welcome back to Best Case Parenting and to another one of our reviews. Today we are reviewing Vooks, a new streaming service for children that is booming in popularity!
What is Vooks?
Vooks is an online book streaming service designed for children. Most of our reading as adults is going online through ebooks and apps such as Kindle, and services such as Vooks want to do the same for children’s reading.
Vooks has books that are suitable for both preschool and elementary age children. Each book is basically made into a lightly animated video which is narrated or voiced over. These videos also include the words from the books inside the animated video.
You can access the Vooks platform using their web-based platform on a computer or through their various apps. They have apps for Android, Apple, Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV.
Why is Vooks Useful for Parents?
I have been talking a lot recently about building a love of books before trying to teach reading. If you read my Children Learning Reading or 4 Weeks to Read reviews, you will know what I mean. An app like Vooks gives you another option when it comes to how your children access books. As well as having physical books, you can also add online digital books to this too.
If parents don’t always have the time to read a bedtime story to their children, Vooks can also help with this. Although I personally feel an adult should still share the joy of the story with the child in these situations. But, if you are a busy parent, it takes some of the load off if someone else is effectively reading the story for you. After a busy day at the office, even if your energy is low you can still enjoy a story with your child.
Although I want to make it clear that Vooks is not designed to help children read, more to help build a love of books. The words on screen will build exposure to words, but it won’t really support learning to read.
How Much is Vooks?
Subscribing to Vooks costs a flat $4.99 a month or $49.99 a year at the time of writing. This seems like an excellent deal if you consider the cost of real books. One board book would often cost $8-15 on its own, for example.
This is also helped by the fact that Vooks also comes with a full 30-day free trial, allowing you to really try out the service before fully committing.
What Do We Like About Vooks?
Design and Quality
I have to say that I absolutely love the design of the animated videos that make up this service. They give the impression of a professional level service, and I can’t find anywhere that they skimped on quality. Voiceovers and animations are all well done and of high quality, making these story videos really pop for your children.
When I first tried this service, I wasn’t even expecting many animations, as most services just have a static page with voiceovers and maybe slightly animated text. Not Vooks, they go the whole hog with full on animations and text that looks and feels like it was from the original book. This all adds to the magic for the children using this service.
Vooks is accessible in many ways, from computer to mobile devices. This makes it a very flexible service, very handy for parents. Imagine you are going on holiday and can’t take many physical books! Not to worry, Vooks can fill the gaps. Imagine you live in a country that is not English speaking and struggle to find story books! Not to worry, Vooks can fill the gaps here too.
Add to this the fact that Vooks comes with many ready-made playlists for you to choose from, as well as a ‘my list’ feature to save any books you like, and you really have an excellent service for children’s books 🙂
I am really impressed with the price of $4.99 a month, all things considered. For the price of a Caramel Frappuccino, you can get a month’s worth of story content for your child. Even if you are a light user of this service, it is still totally worth it in my opinion for such a low price. And $50 for a year is a real steal if you can pay so far in advance.
What Don’t We Like About Vooks?
I feel like Vooks have missed a trick here when it comes to using languages outside of English. I think their service would become even more popular if they could offer a wider range of languages. For example, the children I currently teach (yes, I am a teacher!) are also learning Mandarin alongside English. I know a lot of my parents would jump at a chance for their child to get both English and Mandarin stories in one place.
Hopefully, as they establish themselves more, they will look into this option.
Books Don’t Last Forever
Unfortunately, I found out that books don’t always last on here forever. I had some favorite stories that simply disappeared one day. This can be slightly traumatic if your child has books on Vooks that they really like. On the plus side, this means they can constantly add new stories to the mix which should help to ease the pain 🙂
More Interaction From Children
Although the stories are brilliantly animated and all, the Vooks app doesn’t really offer much interactivity for the children using it. Yes, they do offer lesson plans for parents to help them do more around the stories on the service, but how many parents will actually use them?
In reality, I think a lot of parents will simply give their child an iPad or tablet and let them use the service independently. This will lead to a lot of one sided entertainment for these children, which is not really stimulating their learning.
As a teacher, when I read a book I often pause at key moments to ask the children questions and such like. If Vooks could find a way to smoothly add these kinds of functions into their book app, the value of the service would turn more to education rather than entertainment.
Should You Subscribe to Vooks?
As you might have gathered earlier in this review, I really like Vooks. I love the high quality animated videos that can really bring stories to life for young children.
In its current state, I do think it would be a great buy for most parents, especially if you don’t have a lot of space for books right now.
Just be aware that Vooks is not an interactive service and is less educational than you may think. I would encourage you to not just let your child sit with a tablet for extended periods cycling through the stories. This would be fine for 10-20 minutes a day, with some of the time being accompanied by an adult so they can help extend the child’s thinking.
If used correctly, $4.99 a month is not a lot to pay for such a valuable service. Just don’t use it as a baby-sitting service 🙂
I think this service would fit perfectly alongside a subscription to LillyPost, a physical book subscription service for children. Both together would give you a perfect fit of online and offline books to share with your child.
If you are interested in joining Vooks after reading this review, click HERE to take your 30-day free trial.
If you have any of your own experiences of Vooks, we would love to hear all about them in the comments section below.