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HEY YOU GUYS! I Miss The Electric Company

HEY YOU GUYS! I miss the Electric CompanyThe TV is on a little more often in the summer time. It’s true.

While the rule that it doesn’t come on until 4 PM stays the same, it’s the morning routine that has the kids lingering on the couch a little longer. We’ll put the TV on so my wife and I can have a quiet coffee before getting on with the day, and without an early school bell to get us in gear, the kids end up in their PJs for an extra hour a day and it’s usually spent in front of the tube. #parentfail

But while this has been happening, I’ve been lamenting the lack of any real educational programming on the kids tv channels.  Sure, Jake and Daniel Tiger and Octonauts have educational elements and teach problem solving or etiquette, but they don’t teach literacy like they did back in the day.

Go ahead and fire up your Netflix and you can find dozens of vintage Sesame Street episodes. Numbers, letters, reading were all mixed into little vignettes between grumpy Oscar, clumsy Grover, and cuddly Big Bird. Real life lessons were taught, but our kids also learned literacy skills.

The best of the vintage programs at this was The Electric Company. Bill Cosby, Morgan Freeman, and Rita Moreno bring some serious acting and brand name chops to the shows that still stand up some 40 years later.

“From top to bottom, left to right, reading stuff is outta sight!”

It is all about literacy. The songs, skits, and cartoons all focus on one aspect of grammar and language each episode. The sound an “e” makes at the end of a word, what happens when letters like “sh” go together, etc.

I’ve downloaded a full season from iTunes and slapped it into their iPads and removed the movies. If they want to have some iPad time they’re going to either play a literacy game, or watch a literacy show. My son starts grade 1 this fall and while he’s starting to come around with the idea of learning to read and practicing, he hasn’t been all that eager.I’m hoping a different presentation in his TV time will bring him around.

We stuff cauliflower into mac and cheese, and beets into chocolate cake, why can’t we squeeze literacy into kids’ TV programming?

Which shows do your kids watch? Do they learn anything or is it just brain numbing entertainment?

Image via Wikipedia

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