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Wilbur - TV Show Review

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating


Photo © EKA Productions
TV Rating: TV-Y
Genre: Childrens educational
Age Range: Preschoolers
Network: Discovery Kids (check local listings for times)

Wilbur - Overview

When Wilbur gets the wiggles, his animal friends know that an exciting story is on the way. Wilbur the 8-year-old calf helps his friends - Ray the rooster, Dasha the duck, and Libby the lamb - solve everyday problems through reading a book and relating the story to their own situation or dilemma. Wilbur and his colorful puppet friends show kids that reading can be fun and informational. Their lively, fun, entertaining and educational shows take place in and around their beloved red barn home.[/p

Wilbur airs on Discovery Kids during the "Ready Set Learn!" programming block for preschoolers. The show was conceived by three moms, Jill Luedtke, Kim Anton and Tracey Hornbuckle, who saw a need for programming that inspires kids and helps them learn to love reading. The show is filmed using Shadowmation, where puppets are integrated into a CG world, and the curriculum focuses on problem solving and music in addition to the strong emphasis on reading.

Wilbur - Episode Outline

Each episode of Wilbur contains two complete stories wherein Wilbur and his friends have a great time learning as they read from a book. Each story starts out with Wilbur and his barnyard buddies playing in or around the barn. Upon encountering a situation or problem that needs further exploration, Wilbur predictabley gets the wiggles, telling everyone a story book is on the way.

Wilber reads a book to the other animals, at times using his hoof to follow along with the words as he reads. Animated pictures in the book come to life, and children at home can see how reading works as the pages of the book turn to reveal more of the story. At the end of the story, Wilbur wonders how the story in the book can be related to their current situation. The show cuts to children who offer to help find the answer. The children read a large portion of the book again and point out the ways in which the story can be applied to real life. Wilbur, Dasha, Ray and Libby then happily solve their problem in a fun and musical way.

Wilbur - Guide Review

If I were taking a Likert scale survey about Wilbr, I would have to rate the show a 5 for being new and different. The effective way in which the show uses books to solve problems and illustrate reading basics is both unique and impressive. Through watching the show, kids learn that books are made up of words which tell a story, that the words are read from left to right, that pages are turned in the same direction, and many more early literacy concepts. In addition, the characters' example of relating the story to real life teaches children cognitive skills that are so much more important than just learning facts and figures by memorization.

In addition to being educational, Wilbur is adorable, musical and fun for kids. What preschooler doesn't enjoy loveable animals, bright colors and upbeat songs? Wilbur has it all; in a word, it's "Moovelous."

Wilbur - Expand Upon the Curriculum

  • Everyone knows that it is important to read, read, read to your children, but experts say that it is also helpful to sometimes use your finger to follow along as you read. This helps kids to learn the most basic mechanics of how reading works. Soon, you will see them using their fingers and turning pages as they pretend to read, which is an important first step in the reading process!
  • After reading a story, talk with your child about the lesson taught in the book, have him or her recount some of the story, or discuss a favorite character or part. Talking about stories helps kids learn reading retention and other important thinking skills that will come in very handy when they are asked to write book reports and discuss reading assignments later in their school years.
  • About.com's guide to Childrens Books offers "10 Resolutions for Parents" who want to help kids learn to love reading from the very start.
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