Android/iOS: My six-year-old has started reading YouTube videos, and I’m cool with it. She’s using a free children’s reading app called Rivet, which was just released. Rivet has a digital library of more than 2,000 books, ranging from a mythical tale about Pegasus to a guide to clouds.
There’s also a collection of “YouTube books,” which caught my attention: Rivet has teamed up with several popular kid and family YouTubers to turn their videos into books.
Here’s one based on a video by the GEM Sisters.
As a parent, my first reaction was, “Holy heck, what is this?” These are the types of YouTube videos I’ve made my daughter stop watching—the ones where people narrate the imaginary lives of baby dolls or play with glitter slime for hours. They’re annoying, and I think they do weird things to her brain. But after clicking through a few of the “books,” I’ve realized that when the videos are stripped down to just images and text, they’re fine. Sure, the content isn’t precisely Caldecott-level literature, but it’s comparable to what you’d find in another simple “learn to read” title. There are no links to the videos themselves.
From what I’ve seen. If a YouTube book collection immerses your kids in words and stories, I’d say let them go at it, as long as you keep reading lots of physical books together, too. Rivet has a clean, playful interface and keeps kids engaged by rewarding them with points and badges. Kids can read the words aloud, and if they stumble, an assistant will offer support (this feature is available on Android and coming to iOS soon). They can also tap on words they get stuck on, learn the definitions of each term and receive personalized recommendations for further reading based on their interests and skill level.
The creators write that “protecting user data, and especially data from children, is core to our mission,” noting that the app closely follows COPPA best practices and does not store children’s voice data. Rivet will add content for a broader range of reading levels (right now, the focus is on kindergarten to second grade) and introduce classroom features. If you’re planning to attend a kid’s birthday party, or if Christmas is around the corner, you may need to start thinking about finding the best gifts for age-appropriate kids. Below we have listed a summary of the two best gift ideas for kids aged between one and eight years old to take a lot of the hard work out of the selection process.