Super WHY! TV Poster Image

Super WHY!



Young heroes' adventures build reading skills.
Parents recommend

What parents need to know

Educational value

The series introduces preschoolers to early literacy skills like letter identification, letter sounds, simple spelling, and word recognition.

Positive messages

The series emphasizes the importance of problem solving, teamwork, communication, and compassion -- as well as learning literacy skills.

Positive role models

The four main characters are a diverse group who work well together as a team, respect each other, and are always willing to help others.

Violence & scariness

Some extremely mild suspense/peril as the heroes go about their adventures.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable

Some limited merchandise including a partnership with Post Alpha Bits cereal.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there's no objectionable content in this animated educational series, which focuses on building preschoolers' early literacy skills. It teaches kids lessons in friendship, teamwork, and respect, as well as how to identify words and letters. Young viewers are encouraged to interact with the lively characters, whose travels through classic storybooks like The Three Little Pigs builds on kids' familiarity with popular stories.

What's the story?

When problems arise in Storybrook Village, it's up to the Super Readers -- Red (of Little Red Riding Hood fame), Littlest Pig (The Three Little Pigs), Princess Pea (The Princess and the Pea) and Whyatt Beanstalk (Jack's little-known younger brother) -- to don superhero attire and save the day. Once transformed into their alter egos, they leap into the pages of books to gather lessons that will help them solve problems. Each Reader is equipped with a special reading-based skill that helps the team overcome obstacles. Whether it's the ability to transform objects by changing a letter in their name (\"wall\" to \"ball,\" for instance) or the power to replace words in the story with synonyms or antonyms, each team member lends his or her individual talent to the group's work.

Is it any good?


Not only does this inviting animated series encourage preschoolers to expand their early literacy skills through interactive reading, word games, and spelling challenges, it also draws comparisons between the lessons in classic tales like The Three Little Pigs and real-world troubles that kids will easily relate to. The stories' morals also remind youngsters that many problems can be resolved by communication and compassion.

Kids are sure to enjoy Super WHY! for its energetic characters and vibrant illustrations. And parents will love the series' strong educational angle and the positive messages it sends kids about reading and learning in general.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about letters, letter sounds, and other reading skills. Kids: What letters do you know? What sounds do they make? What letters are in your name? How do letter sounds combine to make a word?

  • Parents can reinforce what preschoolers learn from this show by reading to them, practicing the alphabet, and pointing out simple words they see everyday.

TV details

Premiere date:September 3, 2007
Cast:Nicholas Castel Vanderburgh, Siera Florindo, Zachary Bloch
Network:PBS Kids
Topics:Superheroes, Friendship, Numbers and letters
Character strengths:Communication, Compassion, Curiosity, Teamwork
TV rating:TV-Y
Available on:DVD

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What parents and kids say

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Educator and Parent Written byjohncb81 July 24, 2013

Super Why - Promotes whining and other inappropriate/undesirable behaviors

Are parent's actually watching this show? I'm dumbfounded by the amount of reviews that praise Super Why for providing positive role models to children. Because my 2 year old loves this show, I've been unfortunate enough to be able to watch every episode aired on Kids Sprout at least 2 times. The show is simple (which it should be) and follows the same plot formula for each episode. The show can be broken down as follows: one of the main characters has a simple problem (e.g. not wanting to share a large basket full of apples with another friend; getting yelled at by mom for running a pot of boiling water and not knowing why - which has nothing to do with the fact that it's not really safe for a small child to boil water in the first place). The main character with the simple problem typically whines about it (poor role modelling) before telling the rest of the super readers - seeking their help. Princess Pea uses her nifty wand and finds a book that holds the "super story answer". When the super readers take a look in the book, they discover a character that has a somewhat related problem that they are whining about (again, poor role modelling). Once the problem in the book is discovered, Super Why himself uses his magical pen to change the actual story around so that the whiny character can get what they want - oh and reinforcing their whiny behavior. So let's see what my child has learned up to this point of the show: If you have a simple problem then whine or cry about it and then someone will fix it for you. Let's break this down in very simple behavioral terms: If a child engages X behavior and that behavior is reinforced then X behavior is more likely to occur in the future. In this case, it's whining that is reinforced. I honestly think this show has great educational value to it. For instance, my daughter has started to ID some of the letters for the super story answers. She has also been able to label some letters based on the sound that they make. The show helps to generalize skills that my wife and I have been teaching her. Unfortunately, it has also been teaching her how to whine as evidenced by her behavior while watching a DVR'd episode earlier today. During the scene when one of the super readers whines, she began to whine. She ran back and forth whining away. She immediately stopped whining when the super reader character stopped. It's very unfortunate because Super Why provides educational value for my child but at the same time it promotes whining behavior by modeling it in almost every episode.
Parent of a 2 and 5 year old Written byJennrleigh April 16, 2011

Very Educational

Great role models- kids who love to learn, teach others & work together to solve problems! Very educational & interactive- viewers are asked to find & identify letters, spell words, etc. Both of my kids love to watch SuperWhy. My younger one is learning her alphabet while my older one is learning to spell & read and they really encourage each other!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 10 years old August 24, 2011


Super Why is a nice show, really: encouraging kids to read and write, but compared to the Backyardagins, this show is about as good as Barny (which I hate and give 1 star). The other thing about this show that is not a highlight is how 1 of the Superreaders is always the person who has the problem, and the little kids might be confused: the hero is now the one who needs to be saved?
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages


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