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Super Why

Outreach Extensions contracted with Out of the Blue, creators of SUPER WHY!, to represent the series from 2007 to 2009. The Emmy-nominated SUPER WHY! is the only preschool property designed to help kids learn the fundamentals of reading through interactive storybook adventures.

Community Engagement Activities

SUPER WHY! Station Outreach Toolkit – The Station Outreach Toolkit provided public television stations with all the resources they needed to participate in the community engagement campaign. The Toolkit informed stations about the series and supported their use of SUPER WHY! resources in outreach settings. It offered creative outreach ideas and strategies for activities in collaboration with community partners – updated in 2008 to reflect station activities and ideas from 2007.

SUPER WHY! Outreach Launch Projects (2007)
To support the Labor Day launch of SUPER WHY!, ten stations helped to build awareness about the series as well as motivate community interest in literacy and reading skills. Stations engaged a range of local partners to create at least one high impact event that featured a SUPER WHY! costume character and episode clips; engaged kids, parents/ caregivers, and educators, especially those in low-income neighborhoods, in hands-on literacy based activities.

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SUPER WHY! Big Event Projects (2008)
Nine stations conducted Big Event outreach projects to build on kids’ enthusiasm for this innovative reading series for 3- to 6-year-old children and its heightened brand activities to advance children’s reading and literacy learning. Projects highlighted SUPER WHY! as the premier children’s television series for reading and literacy. As part of their projects, stations were encouraged to introduce educators to this important new reading resource as well as to collaborate with partners already working with at-risk children in low-income neighborhoods.

SUPER WHY! Reading Camps
Preschoolers around the country will transform into Super Readers through special SUPER WHY! Reading Camps that will bring the literacy-powered animated series’ signature approach to teaching preschoolers important reading skills far beyond the television screen. The brand-new SUPER WHY! Reading Camps are five-day interactive learning adventures that show children the power of reading and motivate them to play with letters, sounds and words through a comprehensive curriculum developed by noted literacy experts.

Inside SUPER WHY! Reading Camps

The SUPER WHY! Reading Camps are an extension of the breakthrough children’s educational entertainment property, which features innovative education content and engaging literacy-powered superheroes. SUPER WHY! focuses on the adventures of four best friends, who transform into the Super Readers - and use their special reading abilities to solve everyday preschool challenges and “save the day.” The four superhero friends include Alpha Pig with Alphabet Power (Letter Identification), Wonder Red with Word Power (Rhyming/Decoding), Princess Presto with Spelling Power (Spelling/Encoding), Super Why with the Power to Read (Reading/Reading Comprehension) and Super YOU, the home viewer, with the Power to Help. Each day, young attendees of the SUPER WHY! Reading Camps “transform” into a different Super Reader and participate in informative and fun SUPER WHY! reading games, crafts, movement exercises and extended learning. The Reading Camps were made possible by a Ready to Learn Grant from the U.S. Department of Education and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Because all children learn differently, to achieve maximum results the SUPER WHY! Reading Camps incorporate multimodal activities, provide a community of learners, and feature the guidance of a teacher who facilitates participation. The curriculum integrates interactive play created around the key criteria needed for reading success as recommended by the National Reading Panel: letter identification, letter sounds, decoding words, encoding words and reading comprehension.

Since learning to read takes a lot of practice, activities reinforce knowledge through repetition and multiple modes of learning – art, music, movement, dance and games. Campers will get a truly hands-on, structured summer experience where they can practice the skills they’ll need when they go to school in the fall. For example, they will play Letter Sounds Basketball, Freeze Dance Rhyming, Pin the Tail on the Word, Letter Identification Bingo and much more. Day Five is “Super You Day,” when parents, grandparents and caregivers will be on hand to help celebrate the week of literacy fun. The children will model literacy skills that the visiting adults can then incorporate into their daily routines. And every participant will be awarded a special certificate that shows he or she is now a Super Reader!

Local instructors who lead the Reading Camp at each site are given comprehensive lesson plans, a daily syllabus with a brief description of all activities, a comprehensive materials list, DVDs and CDs. SUPER WHY! worksheets and literacy tip sheets in English and Spanish are provided to caregivers so they can reinforce and encourage their child’s continued learning at home.

In order to understand the impact of the SUPER WHY! Reading Camps, all campers will be individually assessed both before and after instruction to determine the level of skills learned through the various contexts and modes. Last year, during a series of prototype Reading Camps, participants showed improvement at the 95% significance level within each literacy skill set taught.

Over the course of three years, 2007 – 2009, designated stations conducted SUPER WHY Reading Camps in collaboration with local partners such as those already serving at-risk children in low-income neighborhoods.

  • 2007: 5 test sites: San Antonio, TX; San Diego, CA; Oakland, CA; Baltimore, MD; and Toledo, OH. Based on enrolled children’s pre and post test results, the SUPER WHY Reading Camps successfully built children’s literacy skills.
  • 2008: A larger roll-out of the Reading Camps engaged 19 PBS stations. In partnership with the stations in each market, 33 camps were led by local teachers and took place at schools, day care and Head Start Centers. Communities participating in the 2008 program included: Tempe, AZ; Nashville, TN; Baton Rouge, LA; Baltimore, MD; Dyersburg, TN; San Diego, CA; Tallahassee, FL; San Antonio, TX; Toledo, OH; Washington, DC; Johnston, IA; Charleston, WV; Birmingham, AL; San Francisco, CA; Buffalo, NY; Carbondale, IL; Jackson, MS; Lewiston, PA; and Norfolk, VA.
  • 2009: Number of stations and camps TBD.