America’s chattiest canine is back, and boy, does she have a lot to say. Martha Speaks, the vocabularyich children’s series from WGBH and DHX Media, returns for a third season of adventures this fall, beginning with a special two-part episode showcasing children’s (and dogs’) creativity, Monday October 11th on PBS KIDS® (check local listings).
In “The Martha Show,” Martha and her friends are offered the chance to create their very own children’s TV show. They put their heads (and tails) together to come up with ideas ranging from a super-sized Martha, to educational superheroes and a fluffy-puppy merchandising program. Tune-in for a dog’s eye view on how a TV show is made and learn new vocabulary words such as brainstorm, genre, drama, pilot, educational, and suspense.
Building off of the season premiere, media literacy and creativity themes continue throughout premiere week. In “Martha: Deadline Doggie/It’s the Giant Pumpkin, Martha,” Martha sniffs out hot leads when she becomes a reporter for Carolina’s newspaper. The fun continues in “The Dog Did It/Martha Out West,” as the gang borrows a video camera to film their version of a Western, and Martha shares the Great Oral History of Dogs, which proves that dogs are the source of civilization — providing fire, philosophy, physics, even Shakespeare’s plays!
According to WGBH Senior Executive Producer Carol Greenwald, this season will continue to explore what would happen if your pet could speak. “Children around the country have embraced Martha and her friends,” says Greenwald. “We are excited to share Martha’s new adventures with them, while exposing them to media literacy, the arts, and animal adoption themes and vocabulary.”
The underlying goal of Martha Speaks is to help increase children’s oral vocabulary — and how better to get kids excited about learning new words than with a dog who just can’t stop talking? Throughout the season, Martha will teach kids words like imaginative, splurge, experiment and more. Martha’s antics also continue online at PBSKIDS.org/martha, a comprehensive website that builds on the series’ curriculum to bolster the oral vocabulary of four- to seven-year-olds, and on critically acclaimed iPhone app, “Martha’s Dog Party,” which has been shown to raise a child’s vocabulary by as much as 31 percent.
Scaredy Cat: Celebrate a Spook-tacular Halloween with Ghost Stories!
Premiering Monday, October 25, and re-airing Friday, October 29, Martha Speaks will debut a new Halloween episode, “Scaredy Cat.” In the episode, Martha and her friends wait out a storm by telling spooky stories to pass the time. But as spooky things start happening in the house, they wonder if their stories might be a little too real. This episode helps kids learn words like phantom, ominous, and nightmare. Also for Halloween, Martha Speaks will be releasing a new TV tie-in book, Haunted House, available from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in September.
Martha Speaks Online
In addition to fun new episodes, join Martha and pals online at PBSKIDS.org/martha for new games, printables, and videos beginning September 29. New this season is a feature called Dog Tags that lets kids upload a picture of their pet, decorate and tag it with vocabulary words from the show like miniature, peculiar and nimble, and submit their creations to Martha’s featured pet gallery. In addition, kids can play with their words in the new game Truman’s Talent Show, while learning vocabulary like mimic, examine, vanish and more. The ever-popular Pup Pals feature is expanding to include Martha and Cisco. And as always, Martha will highlight some of her favorite words in the videos section, and the printables section will feature new offline activities that support vocabulary learning. Additional new content will roll out online throughout the season, including expanded resources for parents and teachers.
The Real Martha and Her Owner, Author Susan Meddaugh
Susan Meddaugh was a young children’s book illustrator when a neighbor named Martha found a stray and asked Meddaugh if she could give the dog a proper home. The dog was named Martha as a tribute. Shortly after Martha’s arrival, Meddaugh was feeding her young son alphabet soup. He wondered what would happen if Martha ate the soup. Would she speak? A perfectly simple question from a seven-year-old got the author/illustrator thinking: What pet lover doesn’t wonder what his pet would say if it could speak? Fast-forward 15 years, and the six books in the Martha Speaks series have sold nearly one million copies in the US, been widely translated throughout the world, and enjoyed enormous popular and critical acclaim.
New Martha Speaks books based on the PBS KIDS episodes are available from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. With a variety of formats geared to a range of reading levels, these TV-inspired books extend the fun beyond the television and computer screen, back to the printed page.
About Martha Speaks
Martha Speaks is a production of WGBH Boston and DHX Media. Martha Speaks is funded in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting through a cooperative agreement from the U.S. Department of Education’s Ready to Learn Grant. Corporate funding provided by Chuck E. Cheese’s® and Kiddie Academy® Child Care Learning Centers. Additional funding provided by public television viewers.
Distributed internationally by Decode Enterprises, Martha Speaks also airs on CBBC, TVO, Knowledge Network, and SCN and has been acquired by broadcasters across Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.
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