1. Parenting
Carey Bryson

Research Proves Super Why! Teaches Kids to Read

By May 7, 2009

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Children adore the PBS series for preschoolers Super Why!, and new research shows that the series actually does accomplish its educational goal of helping children learn reading skills. According to the Department of Education, two new studies on the series prove that children, especially those from low-income families, are learning core early literacy skills from the TV series and its educational support materials.

The first study, conducted by the Annenberg School for Communication, at the University of Pennsylvania and headed by Dr. Deborah L. Linebarger, assessed the TV series' abilities to help boost preschoolers early literacy skills ranging from knowledge of the alphabet to letter sounds and reading comprehension. One group of preschoolers watched 20 episodes of Super Why!, while the control group watched a science program. The study concluded that viewing Super Why! can indeed play a major role in the acquisition of early literacy abilities. In fact, Dr. Linebarger states that "An impressive indicator of the power of Super WHY! is that meaningful changes in preschoolers' early literacy skills were found with exposure to as few as two or three episodes."

So, it is possible for TV to be beneficial for children! Kids really do love the characters and stories on Super Why!, so it is fantastic that they can enjoy the show and learn something in the process. Especially if kids are already in the process of learning reading skills at home or in school, why not use educational programming like Super Why! to reinforce their learning and make TV time productive? To find out more about how Super Why! teaches children reading skills, you can view the Super Why! press release, which contains a list of findings from both studies.

(Photo © PBS KIDS)
May 7, 2009 at 9:30 am
(1) Maisey says:

My 21/2 year old is truly learning from Super Why — of course, we do stuff after the show to reinforce what was on the TV.

May 7, 2009 at 10:11 am
(2) melissa says:

My 3 year old son was an early reader before he started watching Super Why about a year ago, but it has only increased his reading, spelling and vocabulary skills. He is obsessed with the show.

May 12, 2009 at 12:18 pm
(3) tripletmom04 says:

My 4 1/2 year old triplets love Super Why! I had heard about it but didn’t get it in our area until the first of the year with the new channel line up. My kids love it! The learn more than reading, letters, etc. They learn from the story lines, what comes next, etc. It’s great! Would love a line of their DVDs if they ever get one.

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