Common Sense Media says

Young heroes' adventures build reading skills.

Users say

(out of 123 reviews)
age 4+
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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

Hero?

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
Parent Written bymom&teacher January 29, 2012

more than just a time waster!

I'm a teacher who specializes in literacy and I applaud the use of differentiation in teaching early reading skills that I find in "Super Why!" -If you understand that my 16 month old daughter believes that the people are talking directly to you, you understand the slow, even tones of the characters (consider how you speak to a child when you want them to understand). When the characters talk to the camera (for lack of a better way of saying it) they provide enough wait time for a toddler. This may seem excruciating for an adult, but it isn't designed for an adult! -The lessons are simple, easy, and revisited throughout. Again, it's not written for grown ups and I believe the plot line is secondary to the literacy skills. -The episodes are somewhat repetitive, but remember that toddlers like patterns and regular procedure works as a framework for learning. -The princess with her wand ("wands up!") engages the kinesthetic (those who need to do things with their hands in order to remember it) when she encourages them to spell out letters. This is one of the premises upon which Montessori education is built. - They have many songs. Do I really need to explain how songs help kids learn? - Interacting with a text as the characters do in each episode (using it to solve their own problems & literally climbing into the book) encourages higher order metacognitive strategies that mere phonics lessons will ignore. -And yeah, she's a princess, but at least this princess isn't selling anything but a "can do" attitude. My little girl will be bombarded with "the princesses" soon enough so maybe I can give her a positive archetype with which to compare. ***Though we don't watch a lot of TV around my house, it's something I don't mind my 16 month old watching while I cook dinner, for example. And when she comes in singing "A,B,C,D,?,?,?" (everything past "D" sounds good, but unlike the correct letter) I don't second guess my decision.***
What other families should know
Educational value
Parent of a 2 and 4 year old Written byadb November 5, 2009

super why is a terrible show

this show is stupid. The plot cosists of deconstructing common stories till they make no sense. for instance they might make hupty dumpty easy to put back togrether again, or change the big bad wolf into a teacher or librarian. Alpha pig's symbol is the greek letter delta. They never go t o a library, they go to a "book club" thank you barnes and noble!
Teen, 16 years old Written byEntertaimentCritic88 December 1, 2013

This is not how I do fairy tales.

This show is insulting fairytales. I take it that the creators had something against fairytales and made fun of them. The music is bland and the CGI is poorly done. This show SUCKS.
Parent of a 3 year old Written byjanetgdc January 30, 2010

great for a kid who wants to read

Teen, 16 years old Written byfunkyrooster707 April 2, 2013

stoopid

this encourages kids to watch tv instead read a book
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much consumerism
Parent of a 1 year old Written byStephmitchell February 20, 2012

Great show!

My daughter loves this show! It's one of the few that will keep her attention for almost an entire episode. I like that it promotes different aspects of reading: letter recognition, letter sounds, pronunciation, synonyms/antonyms, and rhyming. It's also one of the least annoying we've watched. We'll be keeping this one around :)
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of an infant and 3 year old Written byrlm10706 October 1, 2010

Love it!

My 3 year old loves this show! It's educational, fun, we have no complaints. :)
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 17 years old Written byILoveTacoBell September 19, 2013

Not good.

I don't like this show at all. The music is too heroic and all they do is take classic fairy-tales and doing them differently. Creators, not everyone is used to doing fairy tales that way. If you want to show little kids fairy tales, why not have the "super readers" read the fairy tales to the kids? I don't get this show at all.
Teen, 16 years old Written byndrwcd November 18, 2012

super bland

super why?more like super boring if you ask me
Parent of a 5 year old Written byBPBury1970 January 21, 2011

For small kids only

There are some shows my son watches that I will enjoy and get into, to. He gets more out of them, but I can honestly say that I find them entertaining. Charlie and Lola and The Backyardigans are good examples. But Super Why! is all him. There is so much that I don't like about the show that has nothing to do with its suitability for my son. I think the characters are poorly drawn (they seem to be both bow-legged and bow-armed), they show little personality, and they are voiced with a dull monotone. Finally, I think the morals are overly simplistic. They go through a whole episode to come up with "Take turns." I know it's supposed to be for small children, but my 5 year old son could have come up with that in less than a minute. The whole thing just seems like a lifeless, stale concept that was overproduced by a committee of adults who don't know what fun is.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Parent of an infant and 2 year old Written bysgm12345 October 31, 2009

Not recommended for kids of any age under 8

My two year old daughter cried the first time she saw Super Why because they were ruining all of her favorite stories. I for one do not think it is teaching the children nothing but if something isn't going the way you want, you can change it even if it's messing things up for other people. I do not recommend Super Why.
Teen, 13 years old Written byTheEssayPeasant June 24, 2016

Disgusting

OK, so when I went to babysit my sisters, they asked for the TV on. A bit wouldn't hurt, right? So when I sat down to see what the heck they were seeing I was immediately disgusted. The whole show was basically about a town of badly animated CGI figures who have stupid little problems and in order to solve them them they go to the super duper hangout where they consult books for answers for those stupid little problems. In 20 minutes of exploring the book they consulted, in the end they CHANGE the story just so everyone gets a happy ending. After realizing how to solve the problem in thier real life they transport out of the book and solve their problem. The biggest issue I have found in this show is teaching children that 1. plagerism is ok and 2. you need to always have your way. And for a children's show, this is degrading for a child's character. Oh yeah, they teach literacy, too.
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Teen, 15 years old Written byGregoryMccormick123 June 24, 2014

Epic fail.

This is a horrible insult to fairytales. The plots are just disgraceful, the music is annoying, the CGI is choppy and bland, and it's hardly educational.
Kid, 9 years old July 1, 2013

Dumb

This show is cute, but dumb. So there's these kids in basically what is Toontown from Roger Rabbit but for fairy tale characters. There's 3 kids, one who is apparently the younger brother of Jack, a princess, Little Red Riding Hood and a pig. But each episode it's THE SAME THING. Someone has a problem, they go to a secret club and display it on a giant macbook and then they go superhero, like how Danny Phantom goes ghost. Jack's brother is a green superman, Red is a roller skater wearing a swimsuit, Pea is just.... a princess and Pig turns into Bob the Builder and a pig's lovechild. They go into a book. Usually it was fairytales like the ones in Disney, but recently they started making up stories. They changed it to be kid friendly though, which is dumb. For example, Cinderella had to go home at midnight, but here she just stays and dances. In Rapunzel, Rapunzel is a brunette instead of a blonde. And then they solve their problem and do an emo dance. In short, this program is a cute little show, but if you like PBS Kids, watch WordGirl, Arthur, or Fetch.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much consumerism
Teen, 14 years old Written byimarockstar53522 November 12, 2012

Twists Classic Fairy Tails

It twists classic fairy tales that have lessons behind them into something not at all as good as the originals. I would not recommend this show to families with little ones. One more mess up on PBS' part.
Parent Written bybeachlife July 16, 2012

Good spelling, dangerous lessons

Great for teaching the alphabet, but teaches children that life revolves around them; if they don't "like" a situation, story or moral truth, they can change it with magic. In "The Boy Who Cried Wolf," the problem is that the parents were insensitive jerks because they wouldn't believe everything their son told them without question. This ultimately undermines teaching. The shows reinforces children's pre-existing belief that they already know everything; parents & teachers are idiots who "just don't understand" anything.
Teen, 15 years old Written byAtheistExtremist August 2, 2016

Extraordinarily annoying

I don't see any "inappropriate" actions with the show, but this cartoon treats kids (excuse me if I offended anyone) like they are all autistic. It does not teach anyone and it asks children to find letters like it is difficult.

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