In June I was invited to sit on a special presentation by the great folks at PBS Kids on how they make their show Super Why!. For those of you not in the know, Super Why! is a show that teaches reading concepts suitable for children three and over. As a mom, I am always interested in learning more about what my child watches on television. As the wife of a television producer and having lived on the production side of things, I love hearing television professionals talk about their shows. However, most important to me was my career background I brought to the event. I am a reading intervention specialist. Day in and day out I deal with students who struggle to read and figure out ways we can combat those struggles.
The Super Why! discussion was led by the show's executive producer. I was very pleased to learn that the producers at PBS Kids approach creating and producing television shows much like I (or any teacher) prepares his or her curriculum. First they identify what is to be taught in the show (reading skills, science, etc.). Second, they research the specific skills or topics that need to be taught by the program. In the case of Super Why!, the show focuses on the very basic building blocks children need in order to become readers--letter-sound identification, understanding of text direction, etc. All good reading intervention uses research-based teaching methods and strategies to teach, and Super Why! is no exception.
As a mom, I think Super Why! is a great show. As a reading intervention teacher, I know that the skills taught by Super Why! are those that all children need in order to become readers and those that are often missing in the children I work with.
Super Why! airs Monday through Friday on your local PBS station.