YOTO: The Future of Reading
By Emma Regan, Hayley Gray, Jordan Maxwell Ridgway and Laura Ingate
One of the biggest trends the publishing world has only recently started to embrace is audiobooks. Audiobooks keep you company on your commute, help you sleep at night, or relax after a hard day’s work without you having to lift a finger to turn a page. They have made books become even more accessible to those with visual impairments and made those who were never interested in reading pick up several books at a time. Over 71,000 audiobooks were published in 2020 and the global market is expected to expand by 26.4% by 2030. In 2021, The National Literacy Trust recorded that one in four children were listening to audiobooks, and this could be on the rise with products like Yoto.
Founded in 2015 by two parents concerned about excessive screen time and its disruption of children’s sleep patterns, Yoto is a screen-free audio player which specialises in audiobooks. It works by using physical cards to insert and is aimed at children aged three and over. It offers hours of free stories, a daily podcast, family radio stations, sleep sounds, as well as educational audio too. Some of the physical cards you can purchase include Paddington by Michael Bond, The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Wonder by R. J. Palacio.
Currently, you can purchase an original Yoto Player for £89.99, or a Yoto Mini which is a smaller, more portable version of the product for £59.99. Both devices are camera, microphone and ad free, ensuring that children can explore this brand-new world of audio safely. As the devices are made of small parts such as the audiobook cards, it is not recommended for children under the age of three as this can be a choking hazard.
The original Player can have kids happily listening for ten hours at full charge. Rather than a screen, a pixel display appears showing a unique icon which helps indicate content and chapter changes. Kids can either plug in a pair of headphones to listen or the Yoto Player can be used as a Bluetooth speaker. It even has a nightlight and clock, which coupled with its archive of sleep friendly sounds, has made it a real asset for many bedtime routines. Children can even make their own playable stories using the app!
In a world where more and more children are turning to the internet and all its risks for their daily content, every aspect of the Yoto Player is designed to be used intuitively by children, with children’s safety in mind.
Ultimately, Yoto provides children from all ages and backgrounds with the freedom to explore things that inspire and interest them through an independent and interactive learning experience. Through a carefully connected screen-free speaker, Yoto highlights the power of words as a form of fun and education as children can listen, engage, learn and use their imagination within a safe environment.
Yoto is beneficial for children of all ages and learning abilities as – like adult audiobooks – listening to an audio file of a text is an accessible means of learning for those with learning difficulties (for example, dyslexia and ADHD), visual impairments and those who are reluctant to read. There is also an active online Yoto community that helps each other with any issues, or handy tips, that they come across while they use the device with their children.
The device can also be used without Wi-Fi which makes the device portable, accessible and easy to use for children on the go. Additionally, Yoto is environmentally friendly with their packaging – all orders arrive in FSC approved recyclable cardboard, with no plastic in sight!
As Yoto continue to update their software and release new features based on customer feedback, the device is becoming a global phenomenon for children, and their parents, everywhere!
Since their launch in 2015, Yoto has quickly found a home whether that’s on playmats, kitchen counters or bedside tables. Parents no longer have to worry about the increasing amount of time children spend behind screens with their practical, compact and interactive audiobook player. Parents and children can choose from over 1,000 stories to listen to from some of the world’s best creators, publishers and labels including household names like LEGO, Disney, Marvel and Peppa Pig.
Yoto Players and Yoto audiobook cards can be bought directly from Yoto’s website, and they are also available from other retailers including Amazon and WHSmith. On average, one audiobook card is £7.99 but there are opportunities to purchase audiobook bundles such as The Beatrix Potter: The Complete Tales collection which is £29.99 for five cards.
Yoto’s unique offering is inspiring the next generation of independent, creative minds through the art of listening with its easy to use, child-friendly set up. Yoto is ultimately reinventing story-time.