Super Why Iphone / Ipad app helps kids practice reading skills through story adventures. Kids play along with each of the four main characters: Alpha Pig, Princess Presto, Wonder Red, and, of course, Super Why, while practicing the alphabet, rhyming, spelling, writing and reading.
Super Why premiered in September 2007 on PBS Kids in the PBS Kids Block (it’s the must see tv block of PBS for kids). Super Why was actually my Masters Thesis from Teachers College, Columbia University. I wrote my thesis on my approach to creating a television show that would bridge the gap between reading and television. The statistics alarmed me – I knew that reading was correlated to later academic success but when I realized that kids who watch television are reading less – I wanted to figure out a way to use the influential nature of television and get kids to feel like reading was power and to show the adventures inside books!
What is it about? Super Why is an interactive reading adventure series for kids, aged 3-6. Each character has a reading super power that helps to save the day.
- Alpha Pig (who, in his alter ego is the the littlest pig from the Three Little Pigs) has alphabet power! He has his own version of the alphabet song and asks kids at home to point to letters of the alphabet to help save the day.
- Wonder Red (who is Little Red Riding Hood) has word power! Through rhyming and word families, Wonder Red raps/rhymes and builds words (she can turn a wall into a ball for example!)
- Princess Presto (who is the daughter of the original Princess from Princess and the Pea) has Spelling Power! She helps kids at home practice letter sounds to spell out words to make things appear. (she spells “dress” for Cinderella to help her have a dress to go to the ball!)
- Super Why (he is the only without a storybook identity – his older brother is Jack from Jack in the Beanstalk and is the heart-throb of Storybrook Village where they live) has Reading Power! Super Why is the one who puts it all together and can read. He uses his vocabulary skills to change the story and save the day. The Big Bad Wolf is being so big and bad. Why? Because it says so in his story. Super Why changes the sentence so it reads, “The small good wolf”. The wolf, now “good” bursts into tears and is sorry for blowing down the pigs houses in the Three Little Pigs Story.
Stats: We have produced 65 episodes and we are currently producing 15 more episodes, lots of books, an amazing SUPER WHY Website , SUPER WHY Reading App and the Super Why Paint App are consistently in the top of all kids educational apps (sooo proud!) and SUPER WHY Products.
SUPER WHY TEACHES KIDS TO READ!: Research from Dr. Deb Linebarger from University of Pennsylvania at Annenburg proved that kids who watched Super Why scored better on standardized literacy tests than kids who did not watch Super Why. And, really, this is why I do what I do.
SUPER WHY offers fun, interactive twists on classic fairytales, many of which preschoolers already know and love. We created the Super Readers to be positive role models– by imitating Super Why and his friends, young children practice their alphabet, rhyming, spelling and reading skills–all while helping to save the day! Really, what better way to empower kids to read than by giving a superhero awesome literacy powers? Moreover, given that most of the superhero characters today target older kids, we felt strongly that it was important to introduce safe, age-appropriate heroes for smaller children.
Meet the imaginative powerhouse behind the über hit Blue’s Clues and the new sensation Super Why!
One day a fellow nursery school dad told me that one of the creators and writers of Blue’s Clues, Angela Santomero, lives in Greenwich. (The town appears to be a magnet for kids’ TV geniuses: Muppets creator Jim Henson, so essential to Sesame Street’s success, lived here from 1964 to 1971, and Barney and Friends creator Sheryl Leach lives here now.) The Santomero family — Angela and Greg and their daughters Hope and Ella — moved from Manhattan in 2006, a pivotal time in Angela’s career: Blue’s Clues had just ended production; she had started her own company, Out of the Blue Enterprises, with former Nickelodeon executive Samantha Freeman Alpert, and the two dynamos were readying Angela’s new creation, Super Why!, for its September 2007 debut on PBS Kids.
By the spring of 2009, Super Why! appeared to be on the brink of catching fire — an improbable second lightning strike for Angela. Who is this remarkable woman? What sorcery does she work on millions of littlekids? In order to find out, I went off to Out of the Blue in midtown Manhattan. The day was cloudy, but up on the company’s fourteenth floor offices, where the walls are painted sky-blue, light poured in anyway, as if the place radiated some sort of invincible kid energy. An assistant apologized: Executives from Hasbro, the toy company, were sequestered in the conference room and the meeting was running long. Presently Angela emerged, an attractive blonde with a light gold tan and a blazing smile.
Four towns poured into Northern Valley Regional High School in Old Tappan New Jersey. There couldn’t have been more than 5,000 people in each town. Harrington Park was one of them- a sleepy little area in Bergen County that I called home. It’s the type of town where everyone knows one another with a single elementary school encompassing kindergarten through eighth grade. I fondly remember two sisters who lived in Harrington Park: Jennifer and Angela. They were kind and sweet and the type that you’d want your own daughters to befriend.
And now, thanks to Facebook, I have learned that they still are. Angela is not only kind and sweet- she is hugely successful. Your children may want to hug her for co-creating, producing and writing Nick Jr.’s Blue’s Clues and PBS KIDS Super WHY! You may want to kiss her for educating and entertaining your kids while you take a much need break!
Amongst her many accomplishments, Angela led the production and development of the Emmy nominated Blue’s Big Musical Movie, wrote two Blue’s Clues’ theatrical productions that played in venues across the nation and co-founded Out of the Blue Enterprises. As a pioneer in interactive children’s programming, Angela continues to educate and captivate our kids with Super WHY! And all the while, she raises two beautiful daughters. In an exclusive interview with Butterfly, Angela shares her innovative approach to children’s programming and parenting.
Samantha Freeman and Angela Santomero of Out of the Blue Enterprises weigh in on their new line of educational programming, toys and books for children.
You know how some people die to see their favorite singer or band? Well, when I heard that I may get the opportunity to meet the creator of the PBS children’s show Super Why, Angelo Santomero, I was super excited. Trust me, no exaggeration here. I am pretty involved in my children’s education, especially in a house of early readers, you would need to be. What I love about mommy blogging events is that at times you get to take your kids along.
Well other than the PBS guys providing childcare and lunch for the kids (and us) the kids were also entertained by the Curious George and Martha (from Martha Speaks) characters who popped in to surprise the kids. While we settled ourselves to a roundtable discussion and presentation I waited anxiously to see this woman who was behind the wonder of Super Why.
A little about Super Why is that it starts with a real problem (that a kid might typically have) and then the team of Why – or Whyatt (brother of Jack from Jack and The Beanstalk), Red (Red Riding Hood), Pig (The 3 Little Pigs) and Princess Presto (The daughter of Princess from Princess and the Pea). They meet in the library to decide to solve the problem, and then transform (capes and all) and head out on the Y-Flyers to get into a story to seek the answer through a familiar character in a story (with a similar predicament). Along the way they collect “super letters” and that creates the answer to the problem. I know that you are reading a blog post because time is of the essence so I will try and condense this posts (even though there is so much to say).
Hit Emmy Nominated PBS KIDS® TV Series Super WHY Visits the NYSE on the Heels of National Toy Line Debut
“Super Why,” from “Blue’s Clues” originator Angela Santomero, is an animated adventure about a 9-year-old boy who lives behind the books in the library, and, with his Super Reader friends, dives into the books to solve problems and answer questions, adopting his secret identity of Super Why. His superpower? He can read – which, Santomero explained, preschool viewers will learn is “the key that opens everything up.”
Her chief inspiration for the show’s low-key, interactive approach, she said, was “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” host Fred Rogers.
“Mister Rogers was a huge inspiration to me,” she said. “He was the first to talk directly to the kids at home and empower them.”