Thursday, August 16, 2018

YouTube Kids Taps Dolly Parton, JoJo Siwa and More for #ReadAlong Child Literacy Initiative

Childhood literacy has long been one of the causes closest to Dolly Parton’s heart, and this August, she’s pitching in to help YouTube Kids with its Reading Month.

In honor of YouTube Kids’ second annual Reading Month initiative, the platform has tapped iconic country crooner Dolly Parton and 15-year-old dancer and digital star JoJo Siwa to help foster a love of reading and unlock literacy among children across the nation.

The month-long initiative, through August, will feature a special playlist helmed by Parton, who has been a literacy advocate for decades — and founded a book gifting program called the Imagination Library — inspired by her father’s inability to read or write. The Tennessee native started the literacy program in 1995, and it’s gone on to send millions of free books to kids all over the world, from the time they’re born until they reach age five. YouTube has also tapped Nick Cannon, Jimmy Fallon, Viola Davis, Kristen Bell, and Ludacris to read their favorite children’s books in videos, which are available via a #ReadAlong playlist.

In addition to recording a new intro video for the video platform, the country superstar has also curated her own #ReadAlong playlist that includes lyric videos from her recent children’s album, namely the title track, “I Believe in You,” and the re-recording of her classic, “Coat of Many Colors.”

The playlist features titles like The Little Engine That Could which are part of Dolly’s Imagination Library.

For Siwa's part — who has an overall deal with Nickelodeon — is headlining a playlist comprising clips inspired by the famed kids’ channel.

In addition to the aforementioned celebs, YouTube Kids is also introducing a ‘Word Of The Day’ tile in the ‘Recommended’ section of the app, which will teach young viewers new words via explainer videos.

YouTube Kids launched its Reading Month initiative in June 2017 — though National Reading Month is technically held in March — alongside top publishers HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and National Geographic Kids.

Check out Nickelodeon's Reading Month playlist, introduced by JoJo Siwa and featuring videos inspired by SpongeBob SquarePants and The Loud House and featuring YouTube stars such as Merrell Twins, Max & Harvey, Chloe Lukasiak, Baily Ballinger and more below!:

For more information about Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library initiative, please visit

JoJo Siwa is a Nickelodeon and Social Media superstar, with over 1.2 billion views on her YouTube channel alone. In addition to her co-hosting duties on Lip Sync Battle Shorties, she recently performed at Kids’ Choice Awards 2018 in March and the first ever SLIMEFEST U.S. in Chicago in June, and regularly collaborates on an extensive global consumer products range including her eponymous bows, a newly launched magazine series, apparel (including the newly launched JoJo's Closet), accessories, home, toys, party and publishing. On air, Siwa has had guest roles in Nickelodeon hit shows School of Rock and Henry Danger, her own docu-style special JoJo Siwa: My World and was seen alongside Jace Norman in TV movie Blurt!. Lip Sync Battle Shorties season two begins this Fall on Nickelodeon.

More Nick: JoJo Siwa Unveils First-Look At Her New Nickelodeon Animated Digital Series 'The JoJo & BowBow Show Show'!

Sources: Tubefilter, ABC Radio (via Beatrice News Central and WIN 98.5).
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