Genre: Children's educational
Guide age recommendation: 4-7
Episode length: half-hour (for two stories)
Network: PBS KIDS GO
Martha Speaks - Overview
Based on the best-selling children's book series by Susan Meddaugh, Martha Speaks is a cartoon about a dog whose taste for alphabet soup has gone to her head. Instead of going to her tummy, the letters in the soup went to her brain, and now not only does she talk, but she is also quite a know-it-all, in a good way.
Martha lives with her human family, including 10-year-old Helen. Martha and Helen have all kinds of adventures with their friends, all of which involve a lot of vocabulary and a good dose of comedy. Many of their adventures also include tidbits about history and other things that come out through the creative stories. When a big word is said, it is often also spelled on the screen as Martha or one of her friends defines the word. The goal of the show is to entertain kids while expanding their vocabulary and encouraging a love of reading.
Martha Speaks - Guide Review for Parents
Martha Speaks is one of the few shows (most of them are on PBS) that provide a bridge for kids who are ready to give up shows for preschoolers, but are not sure what to watch next. If you've ever had a five-year-old give up Dora, you probably know the sad feeling that comes with knowing your little on is growing up, and wondering what the heck she can watch now that won't fry her brain. Martha Speaks, and a very few other shows, provide programming for 4-7 year-olds that is entertaining but still educational.
Kids are drawn to Martha Speaks because of the characters and comedy. While the show is simply animated and contains a lot of overt educational content, it still manages to capture and hold kids' attention. Kids love dogs, and Martha's ability to speak and her outspoken personality provide for some funny moments.
The show does a great job incorporating vocabulary words and concepts into the story, and I love that kids also get other little lessons through the theme of the episode or the interaction between the characters. Another big bonus for parents, is that the kids on the show are generally positive and polite. They have fun together and serve as good role model personalities for viewing kids.*Visit the PBS KIDS website for games, videos and more info about Martha Speaks and other educational shows for kids.