Super Why!

by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Blue's Clues, Conferences, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, Super Why!

Join me Nov 2-5th at the world’s largest gathering of early childhood educators at the 2011 NAEYC Annual Conference & Expo, Orlando, FL. Sharpen your Playskool saw and come explore, connect, network and become energized.

If you’re not able to attend be sure to take advantage of this year’s newest online learning opportunity, the NAEYC Live Learning Center. This resource connects you with up to 50 hrs of selected sessions from the conferences allowing you to catch up on sessions you weren’t able to attend and experience twice the knowledge!

I will be a featured speaker on Nov 4th covering the topic of:  Connecting the Classroom to Educational, Interactive Children’s Media: Blues Clues, Super Why and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Come on over and say hello!

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by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Blue's Clues, Kids, Parenting, Super Why!

Let’s see your Child’s Halloween Photo!

Simply LIKE us on our Facebook fanpage and email a non-professional photo (of your 3 month to 8 yr old) to The winning photo will be chosen on Halloween – October 31st.

The winner will receive $50 worth of Super Why & Blue’s Clues merchandise and have their winning photo posted on the Angela’s Clues website (your contest entry will serve as permission to post the photo).

All decision making will be final & entirely up to the discretion of our Fearless Judges: Mr. Willy Wonka & Miss Veruca Salt:

by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Parenting, Research Parents Should Know About!, Super Why!

Parenting Challenge #1: I don’t care if Hannah Montana hates brussels sprouts, but what does make my child like or dislike a food? Sure, taste is a big factor, but there are so many other things at work. Our own tastes as parents, our childrens’ personal preferences as well as what their friends like, and, of course, what they see on television all affect the food decisions our children make. That’s why it incenses me when popular TV characters—role models for our children—shed a negative light on healthy foods. For instance, Hannah Montana says she hates Brussels sprouts in one of the shows’ episodes. Why is that funny?

WGBH, creators of Curious George on PBS Kids, receives many letters from parents saying that their kids love George and they eat so many bananas now because George does! But can George also eat broccoli?

They have a good point—those of us in the media have a responsibility to make sure that we model good choices. Messages like, “Try a new food, it might taste good!” are so important; they help get our little ones on the road to good, healthy habits!

When creating my television shows, my colleagues and I go to schools to talk to kids, teachers and parents to find out what concerns them, what interests them, and what they want in their programming. During these talks, parents often get around to talking about kids and their eating habits. A common complaint I hear: Many of their kids like to eat just one or two foods. Just like my daughter!  She’s in her pasta phase.  “Pasta pasta pasta pasta!”

In fact, my daughter inspired a whole new episode of Super Why, which will air this fall.

The story is about King Eddie who only wants to eat spaghetti. “Spaghetti, spaghetti, spaghetti!” In a light and humorous way, Super Why and the Super Readers introduce King Eddie to new foods. He tries them…and likes them! Now King Eddie is eating a well balanced diet with fruits, veggies, whole grains and protein. (Keep your eyes open; the show will air this fall!) Our only hope is that kids all over will be like King Eddie and try new foods!

In my own home, we’ve tried a few tricks to turn my daughters into the new King Eddie!

1 – Keep offering new foods. If he doesn’t like a food, don’t give up. Try again. It can take a long time to influence a palate. In fact, it might take as many as five tries before a child will accept a new food.

2 – Try all foods, especially veggies, in many different ways. A child may not like boiled vegetables (and really, who does?), but they may like roasted, baked, grilled or sautéed versions instead.

3 – Top new foods with a sprinkle. Sprinkling some sesame seeds, grated cheese, cinnamon or garlic salt on top of a new healthy food might make it more interesting and tasty for your child.

4 – Dip! Dipping makes everything more fun. Dip veggies in honey mustard or ranch dressing. Dip fruit in yogurt or applesauce. Dip turkey in a sweet and sour sauce. Be creative!

5 – Try sweet veggies. Sweet potatoes are a healthy, sweet option for kids. Cutting them up and roasting them to make “fries” is a great option or try mashing them; it makes a flavorful and nutritious mash.

6 – Everyone try something new! When parents make a big deal about trying something new, kids will be curious and more inclined to try! Test it out at your next meal.



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by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Blue's Clues, My Projects, Super Why!

Linda Simensky, Vice President of PBS Kids programming, is one of those people who has been inspiring creatives all of her life.  I first met her at Nick Jr where she gave me great advice when I was creating Blues Clues.  She talked with me and my co creators about our BIG meeting we were to have with the network.  She offered us pointers, tips and insight into our pilot.  There’s no doubt about it, Linda was instrumental in getting Blues Clues on the air.

12 Years later, when Blues Clues went on hiatus, Linda (now at PBS) asked me what project was next.  I talked with her about a reading show that had been my Masters Thesis.  I gave her a copy of the pitch materials.  Months later, as I was still contemplating my next career move, the phone rang…Linda.  She said that PBS wanted to do the literacy show.  Was I interested?  I literally dropped the phone on my toe.

It was comforting to hear Linda discuss her belief in our vision. Especially when my little Blue puppy was taking a little R&R.  She discussed that while it was important to her that we create a show that kids would want to watch, it was more important that we teach them to read & LOVE to read.

I was thrilled and inspired by Linda’s passion.  Linda has been a champion of developing educational shows with a sense of purpose, clever humor, great characters and interesting storylines.  She has been inspiring producers for a long time.  She has a gift and I’m honored to be a part of her circle.

Alright, enough of the love-in…check out my interview with The Linda Simensky on The Parent Show.

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Regardless of any SpongeBob controversy, I’ve always believed that TV is an uber powerful medium.  If created with intent to teach, we can use it to further develop reading skills, thinking skills, & positive socio emotional behavior.  But creating with intent to teach is not an easy thing to do.  My shows have a foundation in child development, an understanding of how kids think, of how kids learn & how they watch TV.  My colleagues and I know that when you model something on television, chances are that kids who watch will model it, too.  That’s why, in the midst of all the negative research onTV, I’ve always wanted to turn it around to the positive!

Yes, kids model what they see.  Kids want to be part of the action.  Kids want to help.  So, what if instead of slapstick comedy where characters fall down and hurt each other, we showed characters thinking, solving problems with REAL strategies, and asking kids at home to help?  Could that be interesting and actually fun for kids?  YES!

Blue’s Clues, Super Why and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood came from years of work perfecting the way we present stories and curriculum on television for kids so they laugh, learn, and grow.  We don’t just throw something up on the screen because it’s funny.  We don’t promise to teach something we don’t deliver on.  We don’t believe in over stimulating kids, or having them nervously scream at the television – just because we’re afraid they will turn our show off.

We believe in good storytelling.  We believe in great characters.  And we believe in kids.  If we give kids the important formal features of adequate pacing and a strong curriculum so they can think and learn, we know that we will be impacting millions of kids in a positive way.

They will learn to read

They will score better on kindergarten readiness skills.

They will know & practice important life skills.

Sometimes I feel that our shows are the newly ripened avocados of the children’s television world.  We sit there, like an avocado, full of vitamins and minerals.  We taste awesome, but we don’t have all this fancy packaging that screams out HEY!  We Are So Very COOL!.

No, we avocados just sit there and patiently wait while, one by one, they figure it out.  And soon enough, someone picks us up and says, “Wow, this avocado tastes great. And look, our brains are growing and we’re healthier too!”

And see, when you choose “avocado” everyone wins.  😉

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by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Super Why!

In celebration of Super WHY’s brand new episodes this week & to welcome in Whyatt’s new sidekick, Woofster, is giving away a Super WHY gift pack. In the gift pack you’ll find Super WHY & Princess Presto plush, a 4-book Super WHY library & a “Jack and the Beanstalk and other fairytale adventures” DVD.  But the contest ends Friday Sept  16, so click on over HERE if interested.

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by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Kids, Super Why!

If you’re in the tri-state area Sunday, August 21st from 11-1p, come meet Super Why! in Newark, NJ. You can also enjoy exciting events, craft & activities at the “Kidz Zone” and catch one of minor league baseball’s most successful teams, the Newark Bears,  take on the Quebec Capitals at 1p.  Kids Club 13 members get in FREE & sit along the 1st baseline! For more info go to K!ds Club 13

And just a reminder, NEW Super Why Episodes premiere Sept. 12th on PBS Kids!

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by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Good Use of Media, Parenting, Super Why!

iTunes/PBSKids release:

“PBS Kids Raising Readers program helps build reading skills all year long.  This summer they’re presenting 10 weeks of special programming with offline activities from your favorite PBS KIDS programs.  Download free PBS Kids TV episodes every week through August 15″

Via iTunes, simply go to:   iTunes Store > TV Shows > PBS KIDS Raising Readers

OR click on the PBS KIDS Raising Readers ad here

by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Kids, My Projects, Parenting, Super Why!

Taking place for the third consecutive summer, Super Why Reading Camps are interactive learning adventures that show children the power of reading and guide them as they play with letters, sounds, and words. Featuring a comprehensive curriculum developed by noted literacy experts, this year the program has been expanded from one to three weeks.  Each day the 4 to 5 year-old campers participate in a range of fun literacy lessons, games, crafts, exercise and music that will help them practice key strategies for reading success.

The first week is all about “ Super Why and The Three Little Pigs” and some of the reading-powered activities include a “Lickety Letters Craft Activity,” where participants find the letters of their name and make a colorful sign; “Letter ID Bingo;” and the entertaining and educational “Freeze Dance Rhyming Game.”  On the last day of the week, campers invite their caregivers to come join in the literacy fun! Watch the short video above, which illustrates the power and appeal of the Super Why Reading Camps in action.

We created the Super Why Reading Camps to bring the mission of the show one step further by working directly with preschoolers at a grassroots level to help them learn to read—and develop a lifelong love of books. As educators at heart, we were excited to find a way to bring our proven Super Why curriculum from the show and into classrooms. The amazing improvement in literacy skills we see from kids starting the program to when they leave is inspiring and uplifting for us. Kids get motivated, want to read, and truly learn!

Read the entire WGBH post

by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Blue's Clues, Super Why!

In honor of Father’s Day this weekend, the 1st 25 people to like the Angela’s Clues fan page will win Blue’s Clues or SuperWhy merchandise for their kids.

Happy Father’s Day!

Thanks to all that clicked away this weekend!  We’ll be contacting you within the next week (or 2) to send your little ones’ something fun.

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