Here’s the story of how one woman went from a school teacher to a multimillionaire YouTuber in just three years.
For those with children under the age of four, it is likely that Ms. Rachel, the YouTube sensation, has integrated herself into your family. The star of “Songs For Littles” has swept the internet and given kids—and parents—the best educational songs designed to aid in speech development.
Rachel Griffin Accurso – or Ms. Rachel – has gained fame for her low-tech, educational shows for babies and toddlers that is being praised by educators and speech experts alike, making her a celebrity to toddlers and a hero to millions of parents.
Her videos on YouTube and Tiktok have gained mass popularity in a short period of time, and the numbers are the biggest proof of this. Currently, the star has over 2.57 million subscribers and videos with view counts as high as 217 million.
But there’s more to the YouTube star’s rise to fame.
Who’s Ms. Rachel?
New York City preschool teacher turned YouTube and TikTok star Ms. Rachel, produces videos for kids. But beyond that, the superstar YouTuber is having a real life impact on millions of children worldwide.
She began producing the videos when her own son Thomas started having speech difficulties.
“I needed experts to help me,” she told NBC News.
“I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if there was a show that really encouraged language development and worked on these important milestones and was slow-paced and a real person and very interactive?’”
But despite her best efforts, Accurso was unable to locate a programme that would aid Thomas in developing his speech, so she took matters into her own hands.
“As a parent you want to do anything you can to help them and it’s not our fault when our child has a speech delay. A lot of things I teach are things I wish I had known for my son,” she added.
“For a long time, I’ve wanted to make free music education videos for little ones who don’t have access to that. Then when the pandemic hit, I saw other needs being unmet due to children being home from school, such as preschool videos and speech practice videos,” Ms. Rachel told Buzzfeed.
Rise to fame
Alongside her Broadway composer husband Aron Accurso, Ms. Rachel co-founded “Songs For Littles,” a YouTube channel with more than 2.5 million subscribers and more than one billion views.
Parents can expect “toddler learning videos and baby learning videos that help children learn to talk, learn letters, numbers, colours, animal sounds and more,” according to the YouTube description of the channel.
However, what makes Ms. Rachel’s videos super unique and helpful is simplicity.
Accurso employs some of the same strategies that speech therapists use to aid in language development, such as sign language, pauses, repetition, and “parentese,” which uses tone and tempo to maintain an infant or child’s attention and encourage speech.
Additionally, Ms. Rachel enunciates her words clearly while speaking slowly and animatedly, as seen in videos of her mouth in close-up. She operates out of a studio apartment in Brooklyn, and has now became a multimillionaire.
According to some sources, Ms. Rachel’s Songs for Littles YouTube channel brings in between $27.9K and $445.6K per month in ad revenue as a result of its high view counts, giving her an alleged net worth of $10 million.
Speech therapist approved
After Ms. Rachel’s rise to popularity, speech therapists from around the world have praised her videos, stating that her tactics can have a massive benefit in a child’s speech development.
“She uses all the right techniques,” one expert said in a TikTok video stitching, Ms. Rachel. “This is as good as screen time’s gonna get.”
Parents have also rushed to praise her videos, each with their own story about how her videos have greatly aided their kids’ speech journey.
One mother on TikTok claimed that her son had a speech delay as a result of being exposed to rival YouTube channel, Cocomelon’s lack of dialogue for an excessively long period of time.
However, when she stopped exposing her son to cartoons during his most impressionable developmental years and started watching Ms. Rachel’s YouTube videos instead, her son not only began to speak more words but also stopped throwing temper tantrums.
One element that makes Rachel’s videos unique is her strong use of lip movements in a way that is easier for kids to follow, a factor that scientists have found is just as important as being able to hear language.
To her young audiences, Ms. Rachel also asks questions like, “Can you say this?” and “Can you do this?” thereby increasing the level of involvement a young viewer has while spending time in front of a screen.
Crucially, she also promotes participation by saying rewarding phrases like “good job” out loud.
“I was actually looking for videos like ours for my son, and when I couldn’t find them, I realised, ‘Oh, I have to make them!’” Ms. Rachel said in the Buzzfeed interview.
“I saw the benefits of music classes and simple songs to my son’s development, but I knew these classes can be really expensive! So I figured I’d make some on YouTube for everyone could participate in.”
Accurso studied early childhood education and holds a master’s degree in music education from New York University. She is currently working toward a second master’s degree in early childhood education.
“Anything that’s gonna help a young child succeed is hidden in the videos,” she said.