PBS Kids Show Martha Speaks Teaches Kids Vocabulary Words

PBS Kids Martha Speaks
©PBS Kids

Disclosure: In honor of  Martha Speaketh Weeketh on PBS Kids I received a family prize pack (stickers, ABC Mouse subscription, tattoos, books, shoelaces, Chuck E Cheese gift card, etc.). Any opinions are my own and no cash compensation is being received for this post.

We love PBS Kids television shows and games in our house. Since Gavin has begun watching television and been old enough to use use the iPad, there has always been a PBS Kids show in his rotation. Currently it’s Peg + Cat, but favorites have been Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Dinosaur Train, Super Why!, Curious George and Wild Kratts.

I’m blessed to have a bright child with a phenomenal vocabulary, he wows me with a new word almost everyday. To be honest my favorite words though are the ones that he mixes up. For the longest time when we drove by one of those pop-up local carnivals he called it a “carnivore.” Umbrellas and propellors are “hum-brellas and hum-pellors.” Some days I correct him, some days I just can’t, but I don’t reinforce them either. It’s not like I’ve decided to rename every carnival, and call it a carnivore?

As children grow developmentally, many parents hold onto possessions like baby bottles and toys.  Gavin’s “vocabulary mishaps” are these days some of the only glimmers of my baby. So while I may just hold onto those a little longer, he’s still only 4 and I have enough faith that his teachers will help him sort it out in time.

I work almost everyday in an urban, low income school system with a large percentage of children mainly learning English as their second language. One of the biggest issues our students have when they are learning English as a second language is their vocabulary. Then, we ask them to take a lot of standardized tests that are bursting at the seams with vocabulary words even traditional english language speakers have a hard time using.

While I may let Gavin get away with a little mis-pronunciation every now and then, I don’t have the same expectation for my students. My role there is to reinforce the correct vocabulary word every time, because it’s another opportunity for them to learn in the moment.

25 years ago I remember having to memorize vocabulary words and their definitions, but I had no fun or visual context to help me remember the words long-term. I certainly credit the hard work of many children’s media professionals and organizations like PBS Kids who are enlisting the help of educators and working tirelessly to infuse otherwise boring curriculum into fun, educational shows, apps and games. Due to continued fundraising efforts and grants I am so thankful that the majority of this content today is still FREE.

Starting next week, June 16th 2014, it’s Martha Speaketh Weeketh, and PBS Kids will air 6 new episodes.  Each episode has at least 5 different vocabulary words they are explicitly teaching children around a certain theme. some examples of the words taught include: confirm, comprehend, digress, edit, recap, image, convey, and deny.

Now that summer is here, if you are looking for something  to do with your kids that’s a little educational, but still fun, the Martha Speaks website is  full of online games and activities to help children learn different vocabulary words. Head over to PBSKidsLab.org where you can also search for fun games and activities featuring upon your child’s favorite PBS characters.

Disclosure: In honor of  Martha Speaketh Weeketh on PBS Kids I received a family prize pack (stickers, ABC Mouse subscription, tattoos, books, shoelaces, etc.). Any opinions are my own and no cash compensation is being received for this post.

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