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Martha Speaks Reading Buddies Program: Helping Students Find New Forms of Expression

posted on September 20, 2011

Martha Speaks Reading Buddies Program: Helping Students Find New Forms of Expression

Developed to accompany the Martha Speaks television series, the Reading Buddies program is a cross-age, innovative way for kindergarten and upper-level elementary students to increase their vocabulary, develop their self-esteem and social skills, and enhance their love of reading books.

It works by bringing younger and older students together to watch a Martha Speaks episode, read a related book, and complete an activity. Each session helps children learn new vocabulary words and interact with peers of different ages.

Three recent independent studies highlight the impressive impact Martha Speaks has on young children’s vocabulary development, as well as its strength as an early-intervention tool across broadcast and mobile platforms. These studies measured not only the impact on children who viewed episodes of the show, but also the impact on children using the Martha Speaks Dog Party iPhone app. To learn how IPTV can help with the reading buddies program in your school, download our brochure.

Find everything you need for a successful Martha Speaks Reading Buddies program here and if you have any questions feel free to email

Teacher Materials

Learn about the importance of vocabulary, the Martha Speaks series, and how-to basics, plus a handy teacher checklist, detailed instructions for Little Buddy teachers and Big Buddy teachers, and a Classroom Poster.

Student Materials

Download and print out the Big Buddy Guide, Reading Buddies Games & Activities, the Reading Buddies Journal, and Certificates of Achievement.

Family Materials

Engage families by sending home the Letter to Families, as well as the Family Activity Booklet (in English and Spanish).

Episodes to Watch

Watch selected Martha Speaks Reading Buddies episodes at PBS KIDS GO or download them from iTunes.

Additional Resources

Watch "The Experts Speak" (a series of short videos from literacy experts), discover recommended reading, explore the curriculum behind the Martha Speaks television series, and more.

Additionally, below are a few notable takeaways from the studies that will reinforce your decision to use Martha in your classroom!

  • On average, children who watched Martha Speaks had a significantly greater increase in vocabulary knowledge compared to children who did not watch the show.
  • Martha Speaks is an effective tool in helping bridge the vocabulary gap between low-income children and their more affluent peers.
  • Martha Speaks facilitates inexpensive language opportunities at home.
  • Children 3-to-7 years old who played with the MARTHA SPEAKS Dog Party app tested up to 31 percent higher in vocabulary.
  • Children were able to retain the increased vocabulary, and showed even greater gains on targeted words weeks after the study ended.

To read the full research report click here.

Tags: books education educators literacy PBS PBS Kids preschool reading teachers television

Subjects: Literacy & Languages


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