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7 TV Shows That Teach Literacy Skills

There is constant debate about screen time for children.  Some say no screen time, some say a little is okay.  If you are allowing your children to watch television, why not let it be educational?
Here are seven television shows your children can watch while learning to read.

1. Wally Kazaam  
Wally Kazaam is a fairly new show in Nick Jr. that made its broadcast debut early 2014.   The program is centered around a young troll named Wally Trollman.  Wally uses his magic stick to turn words into physical objects or occurrences.  The show goes over phonics and letter recognition.  Visit the Nick Jr. website for full episodes. 

    2. Super Why! 
    Each of the four main characters in Super Why have a literacy “power” that helps them solve a problem in every episode.  Princess Presto has spelling power, Wonder Red has word power (rhyming), Pig has letter power and Whyatt has the power to read.  Whyatt usually does sentence completion activities and changes the outcome of popular folk tales and stories.  This show is excellent for beginning readers as it covers letter recognition, phonics and spelling in a fun and entertaining way.


    3. Word World
    This 3-D animated series turns each character and object into a word.  You can see the spelling of each character and object in their design.  This show also covers both spelling and phonics.  When characters in the show want to have something, for example a pie, they search for the letters to “build a word” and once they have all the letters, they put them together and the object appears.  Most of the words that are built are spelled out. However the show also emphasizes on phonics.  One episode for example, focused on the “sh” sound, and centered around a shark who had a hard time making friends.  

    4. Electric Company 
    I mentioned this show in my post about classic TV shows that are streaming on Hulu and Amazon.  However there is also a new modern version that is currently airing on television.  The current version of The Electric Company has the same focus and goals.  The entertainment is geared toward a crowd older than Sesame Street that needs a boost in phonics.  One of my favorite clips is the song about silent “e.”

    5. Word Girl
    Word Girl, as implied by it’s title focuses on words and vocabulary.  Word Girl, who is an alien with super word powers was born on the fictional planet Lexicon.  Each segment begins with instructions for the viewers to listen for key words that will be used through the episode.  Words such as “diversion,” “cumbersome,” and “idolize” are introduced, defined and applied throughout the episode.   Although this show is geared towards children ages 6-9 older and younger children can appreciate it as well.

    6. Martha Speaks
    Martha Speaks is based on a children's book about a talking dog named Martha. This show focuses on tacking children vocabulary, and each episode has a theme that illustrates key words. Check out this short clip where the vocabulary focus is on the "characteristics."

    7. Sesame Street
    No children's show list would be complete without this classic.  Parents who watched the show as children probably remember that each episode was “brought to you by the letter "E" and the number "3”  now in addition to letters and numbers, they also have a segment called the “Word on the Street” that helps children define more complicated vocabulary words.   Always current, fun and entertaining, Sesame Street continues to be the standard in educational television.  

    Also do not forget, when you child is watching any TV show or movie, turn on closed captions, this aids in reading skills.  

    Do your children watch any of these shows?  Are there other educational shows that you watch that are not listed here? Please share.

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