Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Super Why Educational Activities

It is not a secret that I've always sort of credited Super Why with teaching Jack to read when he was four years old.

Part of his early reading, I think, has to do with the way his brain works, but his spontaneous (and untaught by me) reading coincided with rampant Super Why viewing. Jack is a very visual learner, and I think the show helped him "see" how to read. (I also don't think that all the reading and lap cuddling we did with him hurt.)

It turns out that I may not be so off base in my assertion about Super Why. It turns out that a couple of studies have shown that children reap tangible literacy benefits from Super Why. I'm not saying that you should park your kid in front of the TV and expect them to turn into brainiacs, but if your young child is going to watch TV, you could certainly do worse than this very fun show.

I went to a presentation a while back
featuring Angela Santomero, the creator, executive producer, and head writer of Super Why (she's also the woman behind Blue's Clues) and I was actually really surprised at the amount of thought that goes into making PBS Kids' shows. She walked us through the process that goes into each episode and how they consider a reading curriculum and how kids learn when they're putting together their stories. It was fascinating. And it inspired trust in me.

PBS sent us home from the presentation with a backpack full of goodies, including materials they use at five-day Super Why Reading Camps that local PBS stations host for kids. You can find all these materials if you scroll down a little on this website page. They're set up so you can have a few activities each day, resulting in some improved literacy skills by week's end.

My kids and I spent a day last week doing some of the activities, and we had a great time. All three of my kids were eager to participate, which is unusual for them. The activities are fun, and centered around Super Why's Three Little Pigs episode (also available on this page), but definitely reinforce reading skills related to specific sounds and letters.

I think our favorite was an activity that had my kids taping letters to things in the room that started with certain letters.

Jack had the cutting honors.

"I" was for, well, it was for "I".
And that Star Wars toy evidently starts with an "A". All three kids agreed.

"B" stands for Brain.
"B" also stands for Blurry, but I liked the concept, so you get the blurry photo.

There were many other activities and worksheets, all of which were fun and engaging.

We got a Super Why puzzle with hidden words inside it when we attended the presentation. Sam found all the words.

What I'm trying to say here is that if your kid is going to watch TV and you have access to PBS Kids, give Super Why a try. It's probably better for your kid than other, non-educational shows. For a little extra reinforcement, check out some of the online activities as well. Additional Super Why activities are available here.

Honesty Clause: When we left the Super Why presentation and luncheon, each attendee received a backpack filled with materials and some other fun stuff. Honestly though, mostly what I came away from that luncheon with was trust in the PBS Kids people.


Huriya said...

my son loves super why, however lately he gets over stimulated by it and gets very anxious..

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