Educational Programs that Support Literacy


As a work-at-home mom sometimes I need time to get my work finished while my daughter is home. My goal each day is to try to finish my work while she is in school, but sometimes this doesn’t happen. Thankfully, there are many educational programs on TV that teach her interesting facts about the world around her, and give me a little time to get my work finished – mostly guilt-free!

kids watching educational TV programs

Research on Educational Programs

PBS Kids offers many wonderful educational programs and recently posted on its website a three-part report from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. The study researches the impact educational programming has on school readiness and early literacy skills, and its long-term benefits into adolescence. (Source: I like that this study can provide educators and producers of these educational programs with a more comprehensive understanding of what is needed in educational television to support the development of language and help increase literacy in children.

Educational programs that have been developed with the intention of instructing viewers have been found to successfully impart academic information and support a child’s school readiness and early literacy skills according to the report. (Source: Literacy is the ability to read and write. Many of us grew up with Sesame Street and other educational programs that helped develop these important skills; one of my favorite programs as a kid was The Electric Company!

The report goes on to explain that educational television for pre-school and early elementary aged children are most successful when the kids are interested in the topic. One of the programs we found really fun is the new show by PBS Kids, The Kratt Brothers, that showcases the brothers' adventures on land and in the sea. We had a chance to review the program prior to launch, and we must have watched it no less than 15 times in a week. It was the show my daughter requested every night prior to going to bed. She really responded to the interesting storyline and fun facts about sea creatures. My daughter also enjoyed watching the cartoon version of show where the brothers tried to help save a puffer fish.

As a mom, I feel good about these programs that provide interesting facts about the world around us and help with my daughter’s reading and writing skills. It is all about moderation of course, but to have these educational programs available that support learning and can be used in conjunction with other tools makes for a well-rounded learning experience, and the occasional break for moms!

What are some of the ways you teach the importance of literacy in your home?

References: PBS Kids website

Photo courtesy of Flickr

Melissa Northway, M.S., is a children's picture book author and mom to a feisty redhead who is her inspiration for most things. Her award-winning book Penelope the Purple Pirate teaches kids the importance of having adventures while at the same time treating others with respect and kindness. Melissa recently created a lifestyle website called dandelion moms that showcases women and their dreams and voices - along with recipes, beauty and fashion tips, and always a fun giveaway. You can read Melissa at and and follow her at @melissanorthway and @dandelionmoms.

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