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)