Hats Off To You, PBS!

***Just a warning. This post is really long. It’s good information, but it’s really long.***

Hats off to you PBS! It seems that you didn’t need to listen my criticisms, but you definitely listened to someone. Perhaps, it was the years of complaints from parents, grandparents and guardians because of the poor quality shows that did not promote early education like they used to years ago. At any rate, the quality is on an upward trend- it’s definitely improving.

wordworld-pbs1.jpgFirst, there’s the upcoming WordWorld, which is an excellent program. I got a chance to preview it with my daughter and was pleasantly surprised.

Now, there is the upcoming SUPER WHY!, which debuts September 3, 2007 also. It, too, is a great show. Here’s a summary directly from the website:

Super Why…to the rescue!
Welcome to SUPER WHY, a breakthrough preschool series designed to help kids ages 3 to 6 with the critical skills that they need to learn to read (and love to read!) as recommended by the National Reading Panel (alphabet skills, word families, spelling, comprehension and vocabulary). SUPER WHY is the first original program from Out of the Blue Enterprises, an innovator in interactive children’s entertainment led by Angela C. Santomero, an Emmy-nominated co-creator of Blue’s Clues, and Samantha Freeman Alpert, a veteran in children’s entertainment. SUPER WHY makes reading an empowering adventure by using interactive literacy games that need YOU to play. In SUPER WHY reading is power!

SUPER WHY is an interactive reading adventure!
We begin each 24-minute reading adventure in Storybrook Village, a magical 3-D world hidden behind the bookshelves in a children’s library. The Storybrook Village is the home of your child’s favorite fairytale characters. Immediately, you’ll meet the four best friends who anchor each episode: Red, from Little Red Riding Hood; Pig from The Three Little Pigs, Princess from The Princess and The Pea, and Whyatt, the curious younger brother of Jack from Jack and The Beanstalk who discovers he has the power to fly inside books to find answers to his questions. Each of these characters is re-imagined as an everyday kid, not unlike your child’s own friends: Red rides roller blades; Pig drives a trike; Princess loves tea parties and dress-up; and Whyatt is the group’s natural leader.

Each episode starts with a preschool relatable problem.
In every episode, one of the friends encounters a problem with another Storybrook Village character (For instance, Jill from the Jack and Jill rhyme is not being nice). As in real life, the problems require preschool social skills to resolve. And that’s when SUPER WHY gets super-powered! Whyatt calls his fairy tale friends to their secret clubhouse, named “The Book Club,” where they transform themselves from mere mortals into literacy-powered super heroes: Alpha Pig with “Alphabet Power,” Wonder Red with “Word Power,” Princess Presto with “Spelling Power,” Super Why with the “Power to Read,” and your child-Super You, with the “Power to Help.” Using their super powers, these Super Readers literally fly inside books. The adventure begins as the Super Readers find out how famous fictional characters handled similar situations (Why is the big bad wolf so big and bad?). This adventure inside a book helps the Super Readers figure out the answers to their own problems. Be prepared to hear: Super Why and the Super Readers.to the rescue!

The Super Readers can solve any obstacle with their literacy powers!
“Inside” each book the Super Readers lead the viewer on an engaging reading adventure. They talk to fictional characters from the story, play reading games and activities to overcome obstacles, search for Super Letters, and practice such key skills as letter identification, word decoding, spelling, vocabulary and comprehension. Super Why, who has the Power to Read can even change a story ending.and save the day! (For example: He can change the big bad wolf to a small good wolf!) What’s unique about this approach is that while kids are learning and practicing the ABC’s of reading, they’re also thinking about what they’re reading, applying reasoning skills to see the story in a real-life context and experiencing books in a powerful new way.

Hip Hip Hurray! The Super Readers save the day!
As soon as the Super Readers solve the fictional problem and gather all the Super Letters they need, they fly back in their Why Flyers to the Book Club. There, they decode the Super Story Answer, or theme, on the Super Duper Computer and reveal how to realistically resolve their own problem. (The big bad wolf is acting bad because he was so sad. He has no friends.) The episode ends with the characters modeling the behavior so kids can actually see the problem being fixed. Finally, with a song you’ll find yourself singing, a dance you’ll quickly pick up, and a hip, hip, hooray! The Super Readers—and Super You—save the day!

Super Why…with the Power to Read!Whyatt, is a curious and clever 9-year old, who invites viewers into each episode and leads them into making the connection between the real world problem and the book of the day. He also happens to be the younger brother of Jack, of Jack and the Beanstalk. Whyatt’s curiosity and active imagination lead him to constantly ask questions: who, what, where, when, how, and, of course, WHY!Whyatt transforms into Super Why, the ultimate preschool superhero with the “Power to Read!” As the leader of the Super Readers team, he flies into books to find answers to questions. Wearing his signature super hero costume and wielding his powerful Why Writer, Super Why transforms words and sentences to change the story. For example, he might use his Why Writer to zap the words “big” and “bad” to change the Big Bad Wolf into a Small Good Wolf. Super Why also carries his Super Duper Computer, which he uses to collect Super Letters after each game that form the Super Story Answer (the solution to the problem). Putting together all of the reading skills of the Super Readers, Super Why’s “power to read” helps teach literacy concepts, vocabulary, sentence structure, fluency, and word identification. Of course, whenever Super Why demonstrates his powers, he enlists the help of the kids at home every step of the way. With Super Why, kids at home get to experience the sheer power and joy of reading and help save the day!
Alpha Pig…with Alphabet Power!Pig is a sweet, bashful and slightly timid preschooler. He’s the youngest member of The Three Little Pigs’ family, who (naturally) live in the sturdiest house on the block – right next door to the Big Bad Wolf & family. Pig is always ready to pitch in and help others, although, like many shy kids, he often needs a little encouragement.Pig transforms into the amazing super hero Alpha Pig. Wearing his signature costume and tool belt, and carrying his trusty toolbox, Alpha Pig comes in to the rescue. As a very young reader, Alpha Pig’s focus is on the alphabet, which forms the building blocks of words. He asks the home viewer to help play alphabet games such as singing his version of the ABC song to make letters appear and identifying individual letters. He relies on his Amazing Alphabet tools, including his Mega Magnifying Glass and Lucky Letter Lasso, to help fix a situation. For example, using these alphabet tools, Alpha Pig might fix a sign that tells us which way the Wolf went, lasso letters from a tree to show us the way on our adventure, or build alphabet stairs to climb a beanstalk. Whenever Alpha Pig accomplishes a task he says a celebratory, “Lickety Letters, we did it! Let’s give ourselves a big thumbs up!”
Princess Presto…with Spelling Power!Quirky and slightly clumsy Princess Pea, the daughter of Prince Charming and Princess Priscilla of The Princess and the Pea, is a princess in training. She carries a pretend wand, travels in a rhinestone-studded coach, and takes dance classes with such royalty as Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. Although known to be a bit of a “drama queen,” Pea has a good heart and always speaks her mind. And, yes, Princess Pea loves to eat Peas!Princess Pea transforms into the spectacular Princess Presto. Dressed in her beautiful ball gown and sparkling crown, she twirls in, to the rescue! Waving her Magic Spelling wand, she helps kids write letters to spell words and make objects magically appear. For example, Princess Presto might spell “dress” to get Cinderella ready for the ball or spell the word “open” to make a drawbridge open the door to the giant’s castle. She also asks viewers to identify sounds that a letter makes before writing it. Although a bit clumsy at times, Princess Presto has a great sense of humor. And, when it comes to spelling and writing, with the assistance of the home viewer, Princess Presto can help save the day!
Wonder Red…with Word Power!Red, from Little Red Riding Hood, developed a newfound craving for action and excitement after rescuing her grandmother from that pesky wolf. She’s clever, bold, acrobatic, and energetic – in fact she’s “ready to roll” on any adventure wearing her roller skates. Quick on her feet and with a well-stocked wicker basket in hand, Red is tough to keep up with.Red transforms into Wonder Red. Wearing her super sonic skates, signature superhero swimsuit costume and carrying her Wonder Words Basket, she uses word decoding, rhyming and blending skills to overcome obstacles. When she reads a word that needs changing, she sings her catchy rhyming song to release words from her basket. With the help of the home viewer, she uses word families to solve problems. For example, if the Super Readers are stuck behind a WALL, she might choose the word BALL so she can roll away the obstacle. Wonder Red is daring and adventurous, racing ahead to meet the wolf, climb the beanstalk, or get to the next chapter of our story adventure. With her high-energy style and sassy personality, Wonder Red keeps the story moving forward, while helping kids practice with word families…and off to Grandma’s she goes!
Super You.with the Power to Help!The home viewer transforms into a super hero too — Super You! As Super You, she can jump into classic books and go on reading adventures with the Super Readers. She can actively participate in the game play and use her alphabet, rhyming, spelling or vocabulary skills to overcome story obstacles, meet characters from her favorite stories and create new story endings! Super You also identifies Super Letters across the episode and decodes the Super Story Answer to solve the problem of the day. Reading is power. And Super Why, the Super Readers and Super You have it!Even though all the information is here, there may be more that you will want to see. Here’s the direct link: http://pbskids.org/superwhy/parentsteachers/program/characters.htmlCheck this out. It’s well worth it!