If your children are learning to read, then you owe it to them to buy one or both both DVD sets of the Electric Company. It's hard to exaggerate how much my daughters (ages 4 and 6) enjoy watching these episodes, or how much they have learned as a result. When volume 2 arrived at my home last week, my girls were screaming and jumping up and down with excitement.
And while they certainly enjoy the comedy and the music, it's very clear that the lessons have been sinking in; just a few nights ago, my 6-year-old wowed us with a demonstration of "dinner" vs. "diner." She has similarly learned to handle punctuation, silent E, and common letter combinations, long before these subjects were introduced in school. I'm generally quite skeptical of claims regarding "educational television," but the Electric Company demonstrates that it can work.
The inclusion of some classic bits, including Julia Grownup and the LY song, is greatly appreciated. And of course, we're enjoying Letterman and (the surprisingly small number of episodes with) Spiderman.
For most of my family, the second set of DVDs means that we now have 40 fabulous episodes to choose from, rather than just 20. But for me, as someone who grew up with this show, it was nice to see interviews with many of the cast members. And yes, it was a bit surprising to see how they've aged -- but I'm also 30 years older than I was in the 70s, so it's only fair! The documentary about teachers' use of the show was a bit long and dry, but still a worthwhile addition.
Even without the extras, this DVD set would be well worth the price. Your kids will learn to read, and they'll laugh and sing as they do so. I can't recommend The Electric Company highly enough; buy it, and you'll see what I mean.