There are very few new kids’ television shows that I let my own kids get excited about. And the sad thing is that even goes for PBS. Maybe my own standards would be considered too high, but I have a hard time approving cartoons that promote violence to solve problems…especially when much of society today is complaining about how children are too violent and disrespectful. And the argument that it’s okay because the show is cute and teaches reading and writing, doesn’t hold much water for me. There is no amount of “fluff” and “learning” that can make up for promoting inappropriate behavior.
So it’s a rare find when a show is fun, teaches something useful and one that I approve of. “Super Why” is one such show playing now on PBS. It targets young children, preschool and kindergarten age, and using child loved fairy tales and fables, teaches letter recognition, spelling, reading and problem solving. All without violence, whining or other inappropriate behavior. Admittedly at first, I wasn’t sure how I felt about them taking my favorite stories and changing them a bit to solve the problem. I’m typically a hard core fan of the “originals”, so it took me a little bit of time before I could completely agree with this show. Another plus is that the characters aren’t overly annoying. Being the parent of 6 young children, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with annoying characters of one type or another. One can only handle Barney and Barbie for so long before nerves become raw and brain cells begin to misfire.
But my biggest rave about this kids show is how much my now 2yo has learned. Before he was even 2, he could recognize and name all the uppercase letters! Now he can also name all the lowercase letters, most of the letter sounds, and even read a few simple words. His desire to learn and love of knowledge has become an integral part of who he is. Of course, that quality doesn’t always mix well with a 2yo, but it’s progress in the right direction. And at least he’s not mindlessly staring at a box all day long (not that I’d let my kids watch tv all day anyways).