I mentioned before that we had the amazing opportunity to visit PBS Headquarters in Virginia last week with some other DC Metro Moms, and I finally have a second to share what we learned.
First of all, let me say, it was awesome. It’s not every day that you are greeted by Clifford the Big Red Dog when you walk in the door.
We actually sat down (yes, at a nice, big conference table with a catered lunch!) and chatted with the good people at PBS while our kiddos were cared for, fed, and entertained in the other room. Mine didn’t want to leave and have been talking about the huuuuge juices they got to drink to anyone who would listen for the last few days.
Okay, here’s the skinny from our meeting and just a few reasons why we should all totally heart PBS:
We sat down with Super WHY! Creator and Executive Producer, Angela Santomero and PBS’s Senior Vice President of Children’s Media, Lesli Rotenberg. We also got to meet a number of other super-cool people from PBS who have been so awesome about answering our many questions and follow-up emails…
We learned some incredibly interesting things about one of our favorite shows, Super WHY!. Here are some reasons we should chat this show up with our pals:
- Super WHY! is the only preschool property created to help children learn the fundamentals of reading through interactive storybook adventures.
- Super WHY! incorporates the literacy skills identified by the National Reading Panel Report as most crucial to learning to read in every episode: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.
- The show’s characters were specifically created with the NRP’s recommendation: Alpha Pig has Alphabet Power and he focuses on letter identification; Wonder Red (the sporty gal) has Word Power and focuses on decoding; Princess Presto (Woo-hoo! Not another blue-eyed, blonde-haired princess!) has Spelling Power and deals with letter sounds, spelling, and handwriting; and Super WHY! has the power to bring all the skills together and read! (He makes reading look cool–because it is!)
- Two recent studies have proven that Super WHY! and its educational support materials has helped children, especially those from low-income families, learn core early literacy skills. No joke. Check the press release for yourself.
- The time, effort, and energy the team of writers and researchers puts into each episode of Super WHY! amazed me; they’ve got these rich characters (every kid can connect with one of them) who look to actual fairy tales or familiar stories to help solve their problem. And along the way, important early literacy skills are introduced, played with, and practiced by the characters and your kids.
- PBS has actually created 5-day camps that use Super WHY! episodes and supplemental resources to help kids tackle all of those principles that the NRP deems necessary for reading acquisition. Giant strides are made in those five days by these little learners. It’s awesome. (See press release above for more info. . . )
- Many of the components of a strong classroom lesson are present in each show. Clear Objective? Check. Scaffolding? Check. Wait time? They’ve got it. Guided Practice? Yes. Repetition? Yep. I could go on and on. . .
But instead of going on and on, what I’ll do this week is try the week-long curriculum that PBS provided to us so that we can try it out on our own kids. Here’s a bit about the program. I’ll share what I have here, and I’ll let you know how it goes–what I like and what I think could be “tweaked”. Pick and choose what you want to use, and share your ideas here–they’ll go straight to PBS!