As another child of the 70's that grew up on this show, and learned to read before beginning school, I have to say that I am so suprised that it took till 2006 for this show to be released on dvd. Better still, I fail to understand why it is not still running on television. Sesame Street has been on the air since 1969. Why not have the next level on as well. The Electric Company was one of the BEST teachers of reading. In one episode you got MANY skills: phonics...decoding...pronunciation...blends...sentence structure...capitalization...punctuation...all included in fun sketches and musical selections. I VIVIDLY remember the Punctuation song...and BOOM...as well as Letterman and Spiderman. My teachers would have us watch the Electric Company *and the Letter People* just about EVERYDAY as a part of our reading program.
I am now a teacher of grades 7 and 8 in a Pre-K - 8 building. And for 8 years one of the struggles is getting the kids to read...and helping them read upper level material when they don't have the skills they should have gotten at an earlier age. the kids don't understand the material they have to read because they can't understand the words they are reading...they can't sound them out...they don't have the simple decoding skills that we all got as kids with the help of strong phonics programs and shows like The Electric Company and the Letter People. How can we expect them to get the meaning of the text when they can't get past, "What is this word and what does it mean?" So believe you me when I say that there is a market out there for The Electric Company today. And for those critics that say that the show is too dated:
I did a little experiment:
The Question: Does the time period of the show take away from it's importance to education?
The Test: I took about ten first grade students in my building...and about 12 eighth grade students and put them in a room to watch The Electric Company...the GR 8 kids were there to "help" me with the little ones...keeping them on task and what have you...
What I found was great news...
Not only were the Gr 1 kids paying attention to the show...singing along to the songs...they've NEVER heard of before...and repeating the sounds and words...BUT
So were the Gr 8 kids...
To the Gr 1...it didn't matter that the people were wearing 70's clothing...dancing like they did in the 70's or saying 70's lingo...all that mattered was that the show captured their attention...
To the Gr 8...once they got past the 70's clothing, dancing, music and lingo...which didn't take them long...they too began to sing along and repeat the sounds and words...
My Gr 7 kids...ASKED me to show them the show...they ATE IT UP!
Both gr 7 and 8 kids admitted to learning words they had never even heard of before!!!
The GR 1 kids asked me WHEN THEY COULD COME BACK AND WATCH AGAIN?
The GR 8 and 7's want to produce their own version of the show to help the struggling readers...esp in gr 1, 2 and 3 (6, 7, 8 :D)!!!
BTW...some favs among the kids were...
Greedy Greg grabbed the green grapes.
PUNC TU A TION!!!...pun...pun...pun...PUNC TU A TION!!!...they are the little marks that use their influence...to help a sentence make more sense!
and of course...sillouettes...ch...irp..chirp!...YEAH!
THIS DVD IS WELL WORTH ITS PRICE!!!
One of the successes of The Electric Company was that it was aired twice a day...once during the school day...and again after school...(backed with 3, 2, 1, Contact...another good show that should be on the air still)...Kids got a double dose of the skill taught earlier in the day...reinforcement is good. Back all of this with good parents who encourage reading books (like I had)...and you have a kid on the road to reading success.
Now How Cool is That?!