Saturday, October 17, 2009

Time to Turn on the Electric Company

In the last five years that I have been a reading intervention teacher, I have worked to find ways to make reading accessible to older children. When a child is in fourth and fifth grade, if he or she has not yet grasped the basic concepts of reading, it is very difficult to provide the student with content and lessons that are appropriate for their particular age. They don't want to read about kittens and trips to the store; they want to read about skateboarding and movies. They need to be interested in the content.

I am so very pleased that the Electric Company is back and providing these very valuable lessons to children. Geared toward the interests of children in third grade and high, the electric company has combined eye-catching graphics with music and popular culture in order to teach very basic reading concepts (first and second grade level). The skills they teach are the very same skills that I fight to teach my struggling fourth and fifth grade students. The show is interesting, funny, and filled with celebrity guest spots. The lessons are straight and to the point and provide students with easy ways to remember basic concepts that most students with educational gaps lack. Specifically, the show aims to fill the following gaps that older struggling readers often exhibit:

  • Decoding: Children increase their ability to manipulate sounds in spoken words and map those words to print. The most basic and vital skill for readers.
  • Vocabulary: Children expand the amount of words (vocabulary) that they use and understand.
  • Comprehension of Connected Text: Children learn strategies that good readers use to understand connected text (phrases and sentences).
  • Motivation: Children are motivated to read connected text and express themselves using text.
The executive producers of the show are dedicated to providing children with high quality entertainment rich with opportunities to learn. I am thankful for this program and plan on recommending it to my intervention students' parents this school year. And not only do I recommend encouraging students to watch the show, but I also encourage students (and parents) to follow up on the concepts presented on the show by logging onto the show's website at http://pbskids.org/electriccompany to check out the games, videos, and more. I plan on keeping up to date on the parents and educators section of the site at http://www.pbs.org/parents/electriccompany.


Suz Broughton said...

I used to LOVE the Electric Company! I'm glad it's back. Thanks for the heads up :)

Aracely--Daytrippingmom said...

Thanks for letting us know that the Electric Company is back on. I did not know that. By the way I know I have said this to you already but this site is fantastic! My children have learned so much from educational programs and to have a place where this can be discussed is a great resource for parents. Can't wait to read additional posts!

Shannon R said...

I homeschool my kids and they usually get to watch tv after school. One show I'd never ever seen until recently was the Electric Company and I was quite pleased with the attention my children were giving it. My oldest is in third grade and not a great speller and my middle is a kindergartner and new reader. I felt like the concepts they presented in that one particular episode was great and it was "cool" enough to hold their attention instead of hoping to watch Hannah Montana or iCarly which are purely entertainment and not education. I was very pleased and feel like if they continue to watch it both girls will benefit even with such a big reading level difference.