What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this entertaining animated series introduces grade-schoolers to the pronunciations and definitions of advanced vocabulary words like "temptation," "gigantic," and "vegetarian." There's a little bit of cartoon violence, but that pales in comparison to the fact that kid viewers will unknowingly expand their literary repertoire while enjoying the empowered young superheroine's adventures.
What's the story?
In WORDGIRL, a heroic grade-schooler uses her proficiency with the English language to rid her hometown of nefarious intruders. To any onlooker, spunky girl next door Becky Botsford (voiced by Dannah Feinglass) seems no different from her fifth-grade peers. But when trouble strikes, Becky's caped alter ego WordGirl zooms off her monkey sidekick, Captain Huggy Face, to oust the bad guys with her double whammy of brawns and brain. Though she does employ her super strength at times (after all, what else is a girl with a leveling left hook to do?), WordGirl relies more on her grasp of the English language to outwit her vocabulary-challenged opponents.
Is it any good?
WordGirl mimics the well-trodden path of most superhero cartoons. But the notable difference here is that, instead of firepower, WordGirl's most trusted weapons are entries on advanced vocabulary lists, which she uses to trip up her enemies. She'll often befuddle them with challenges to name synonyms or definitions for the words she uses, or they'll get distracted by their unfamiliarity with her word choice. Not only will her zany adventures entertain young viewers, but they'll also increase kids' vocabulary skills and improve their reading comprehension.
Engaging and well crafted, WordGirl combines fun stories, zany characters, and important literacy skills into a 30-minute package that kids will love and parents will applaud. As superhero stories go, this one comes up short on violence (what little there is is of the exaggerated WHAM! BANG! variety). Even better, it revolves around a brainy, well-spoken female heroine. All in all, WordGirl is an excellent (superb, first-rate, stupendous, etc.) choice for young grade-schoolers.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about literacy skills. Kids: How does being familiar with more words help you in school? Does not knowing a particular word ever trip you up? What do you do then? Parents can also talk to kids about the power of words. What types of words can hurt other people? What types can help? Is it possible to resolve differences with words alone?
Talk about Word Girl. Do you think she's a good role model? Are there other powerful and positive girl characters on TV and in the movies? Who are your favorites?