The Electric Company

 
Excellent update of '70s classic makes English lessons fun.

What parents need to know

Educational value

The series is specifically designed to teach kids literacy skills, including phonics, grammar, and language rules.

Positive messages

The show focuses on teaching kids to read.

Positive role models

The positive cast is diverse and enthusiastic and engage with viewers in a relatable way.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this update/remake of the popular 1970s series of the same name uses comedy, music, and animation to teach young readers important language skills. Phonics, grammar, and language rules (a silent "e" creates a long vowel sound and the like) are introduced and illustrated within the plot. The main characters are able to enhance and manipulate computer-generated images of words and phrases right on the screen, so kids can visualize and absorb the lessons. While there's no iffy stuff for viewers of any age, the educational level of the show's content is primarily targeted at grade-schoolers and may be lost on younger viewers.

What's the story?

THE ELECTRIC COMPANY teaches grade-schoolers important language skills like letter sounds, reading, grammar, and sentence structure. This updated take on the same-named 1970s classic centers on four friends united in their passion for language and the power of words. Blessed with superhuman abilities to conjure and manipulate words and phrases (thanks to the show's top-notch CGI), the friends -- a.k.a. The Electric Company -- use their powers to squash the troublemaking endeavors of their neighborhood nemeses, The Pranksters. As in the original version of the show, a sketch comedy format combines animated shorts, song-and-dance numbers, and instructional lessons that are all focused on a common educational theme.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

English class has never been as fun as it is with The Electric Company at the helm. With lessons woven into humorous, kid-friendly storylines, upbeat music inspired by a variety of genres, and graphics that bring words and their letter components to life onscreen, the show gives kids multi-dimensional instruction that builds on traditional education. Brisk transitions between segments and a varied cast of characters and animated clips maintain kids' interest and entertain so well that they might not even realize the show's true intentions.

If you have fond memories of the original series from your own childhood, this great remake offers an opportunity to sit down with your kids and share some common ground. Since the show revives a few of the '70s series' classic sketches (remember those word-building silhouettes?), it's a fun way to revisit a part of your past while you connect with your kids and help reinforce their learning in a unique way.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the media can be used to educate. Kids: Did you learn anything from watching this show? Did it reinforce what you've learned in school or teach you something entirely new?

  • Which of the show's methods most helped you understand what was being taught? Do you think shows like this are reliable ways to learn things? Why or why not?

  • How have digital media like email and text messaging changed the way we communicate? Is their influence making language and grammar skills less important? Is that OK?

This review of The Electric Company was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 5 and 7 year old Written bymoosejulie September 27, 2009
Teen, 13 years old Written byAbo1996 December 21, 2009
age 2+
 

Amazing Show!

Yes, I'm 13, but i watch this show with my 6 year old sister all the time and we both really love it. All of the songs are catchy and I sing them all day. The dances are fun and the characters are diverse in ethnicity and age. A fun yet educational show.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 3 and 5 year old Written byeliette October 23, 2009
age 5+
 

Excellent for beginning readers

My son likes the plot element--there's a "mystery" running through each episode interspersed with bits to help teach reading. He seems to be getting a lot out of it--he's just learning to read so he is really ripe for what this show is teaching.
What other families should know
Educational value

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