Speakaboos

 
(i)

 

Lots to do on storytelling site; best content will cost you.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Stressing storytelling and educational activities, the site can help kids feel that learning is fun.

Violence & scariness

The usual fairy and folk tale villains are on hand: somewhat scary characters such as mean stepmothers and witches with gingerbread homes.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

The site offers a monthly subscription, plus an iPad app. Visitors can get access to limited content without registering or purchasing a membership.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Some privacy issues. To join with full access, users need to supply a name, an email address, and billing information. The site's privacy policy discloses the use of cookies and beacons to track users' online behavior.

 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that a paid subscription is needed to view much of the Speakaboos content. Users can sign up for a subscription, where they are asked to provide a name and credit card information. There is no free account, but users can access limited free content without signing up for anything and subscribe to a free newsletter for additional free content. 

Kids say

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What's it about?

The SPEAKABOOS site lets kids listen to stories -- ranging from traditional fairy tales to ones about popular characters such as Arthur -- read by celebrities including Nick Cannon. Kids also can sing along to well-known tunes such as "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" and play matching and other games. The site offers worksheets on topics such as arts-and-crafts activities, coloring pages, and kid-friendly recipes. Because words accompany the narration, the storybook section gives kids a fun way to practice reading skills. Each story also includes suggested reading and grade levels and lists relevant themes such as fairness and honesty.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Speakboos certainly offers kids plenty to do; in addition to stories and songs, its worksheets provide dozens of activity ideas and projects. A nice variety of actors and actresses read tales (Chazz Palminteri's "Jack and the Beanstalk," anyone?), and design is colorful and accessible. The only catch: The site's free content is fairly limited. To access most of the activities and stories, you'll have to shell out a monthly fee. It offers paid monthly and annual subscriptions. Without signing up for a subscription, you can access five free stories (and the accompanying app also offers some content). Visitors also can get access to limited content by subscribing to the free Speakaboos newsletter.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the importance of reading together. Read our article "Reading Rainbow Signs Off" for more on keeping reading alive.

  • Is it better to visit a website to learn about reading, or should you just pick up a book? Can there be a balance between online time and offline reading? What limits should parents set on computer time?

  • Fairy tales can be fun to read -- but many also involve a lesson, such as treating others with respect or being honest. What did the characters in some of the stories you watched and listened to on the site learn? What can you learn from their experiences?

  • If you enjoyed the stories on the site, could you write your own? Families can discuss the creative process it takes to write a story, from thinking of something to write about to finishing and sharing the story.

Website details

Genre:Educational
Pricing structure:Free

This review of Speakaboos was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 1 and 3 year old Written byjmo444 October 31, 2009
 

if you need 5 to sweep or do the dishes

i love this site! my only issue is it is fairly new so the content is a little sparse right now but hopefuly will expand soon...
Adult Written byGoldenElephant February 10, 2014
 

Pricing has updated, lots more options and stories

The top review says that you only get a 14-day trial, but this has since changed. Now when you sign up for a free account, you get five free stories online. I'm not sure what the app's coverage is at this time but it's a great way for kids to stay busy for a few minutes while I'm trying to quickly answer the phone or something. The stories are all divided by category, so my 4-year-old girl can watch what she likes. Worth the subscription for sure too.
What other families should know
Great messages
Parent of a 6 year old Written bymadsmooney1214 June 1, 2012
 

speakaboos

If you enjoyed the stories on the site, could you write your own? Families can discuss the creative process it takes to write a story -- from thinking of something to write about to finishing and sharing the story.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much consumerism
Safety and privacy concerns

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