"The Electric Company," aimed at children ages 7 to 10, was designed to teach basic reading concepts to its young viewers. Skits featuring the show's regulars, cartoons, vignettes, and regular features revolved around sound clusters (such as -ly, sh-, oo-) and punctuation marks. On occasion, a fun song was played with the audience challenged to supply the lyrics during the second sing-through. Through the years, different features were added including "Love of Chair" (1971-1973, a spoof of "Love of Life"), "The Adventures of Letterman" (added in 1972), cartoon segments featuring Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner (1973), and Spider-Man (1974). Written by
Brian Rathjen <email@example.com>
Three TV shows mean more to me than any others. The first was Mr Rogers' Neighborhood; the second, Sesame Street; and the third, The Electric Company. Mr Rogers taught me to be kind, that I was special, and that makebelive was a wonderful thing. Sesame Street taught me letters and numbers, how to count, how to spot similarities and differences, and that frogs conducted the best interviews. The Electric Company taught me how to sound out words and phrases, the basics of grammar; and, ultimately, how to read. My mother once told me that she didn't know I could read until I was riding in the car reading road signs out loud. This was before I was in school and was one of the reasons my parents dismissed the school's idea that I should wait a year to start, since my birthday was in mid-November. Thanks to this show and Sesame Street, I could read better than most of my classmates.
I haven't seen this show since the 70's, so I only have vague memories. I remember Morgan Freeman as Easy Reader, Rita Moreno shouting "Hey You Guyyyyyyyysssss". I remember the parts where two silhouetted people would sound out syllables. I remember Letterman (before Dave) and Spider-Man. Mostly, I remember a sense of fun.
When I read stories about what's wrong with education, I know the answer is simple (aside from money and parents and communities who care). School was rarely as fun as this. If education is fun, children will soak it up like a sponge. This show, and Sesame Street and Mr Rogers were fun.
I'm turned on, I have the power. Hey you guyyyyyyyyssss! Thanks.
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