WordGirl TV Poster Image

WordGirl

(i)

 

Brainy heroine uses vocab to outwit bad guys.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know

Educational value

The series exposes grade-schoolers to sophisticated words and their definitions, and word games woven into the plot encourage viewers to generate their own synonyms for the featured vocabulary lists.

Positive messages

WordGirl and her friends fight crime and spread vocabulary lessons.

Positive role models

The female heroine is undaunted by her enemies, relying on her smarts and grasp of vocabulary to overcome challenges. The bad guys are all very silly and never seem truly evil.

Violence & scariness

Each episode contains some cartoon violence of the "wham! bang!" variety -- with lots of flashy backgrounds to emphasize impact as WordGirl knocks out mostly robotic enemies.

Sexy stuff

A few very mild allusions to grade-school crushes.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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?

QUALITY

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?

TV details

Premiere date:September 3, 2007
Cast:Dannah Feinglass, Jeffrey Tambor, Tom Kenny
Network:PBS Kids
Genre:Kids' Animation
Topics:Superheroes, Adventures, Numbers and letters
TV rating:TV-Y7
Available on:DVD, Streaming

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Parent Written bysquili January 10, 2011

Horrible Show

I hate this show. While it's nice to see a tough girl in the lead role there is just too much emphasis bad guys. It's also incredibly sassy. My 5 yr old daughter has been telling us to 'Scram!' a lot lately, and she got it from Word Girl. Not a show I plan on letting her watch anymore.
Parent of a 5 year old Written bydz302 January 26, 2011

Great for kids vocabulary

My 5 year old has watched word girl since she was 3. She loves it, and I see nothing but positives. Keep up the good work.
Parent of a 4 year old Written byDaddy Cares October 5, 2010

Child Identifies Race Issue

Hi, Parents. My daughter is age 4. She pointed out to me that almost everytime the "brown boy" gives an answer on Can I Have A Word, he gets it wrong. She identifies with the "brown boy" because he is the same color as she. But she does not want to be classified with someone that's almost always wrong. After she pointed this out to me I took a closer look, and suprisingly noticed that what she discovered is true. Unfortunately, the cartoons are already fixed and changing this is not easy, so I have decided not to let my African American daughter view this show, which is not a big loss since the show also promotes violence...

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