Education Stories of Impact

SuperWhy! in the Classroom


Head Start teacher Cecelia Mintz thought kids’ shows were just kids’ shows until she saw how the children in her classroom responded to the PBS KIDS early literacy series SUPER WHY! As one of more than 60 teachers in Illinois Public Media’s Book Mentor Project, Mintz watches episodes of SUPER WHY! with her classroom and integrates concepts and activities from the show into her curriculum.

Mintz says the children really relate to the characters in the show, and it motivates them to pay attention to letters and sounds. “They (the kids) can really do what the characters do and it shows that they do learn from it, and it is a useful tool in education.” Research supports Mintz’s observations. A study by the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania found that viewing SUPER WHY! helps children acquire early literacy skills. Children who watched as few as two episodes of SUPER WHY! scored 46 percent higher on standardized tests than those who did not watch the show. Since the Book Mentor Project began in 2004, Illinois Public Media has provided training, resources and ongoing support for more than 400 Head Start and early childhood teachers in central Illinois.