Martha Speaks is an animated series on PBS KIDS. Aimed at viewers between the ages of four and seven, Martha's educational goal is to teach kids new words.
Based on the children's book series by Susan Meddaugh and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the series stars Martha, a beloved family dog. She is accidentally fed alphabet soup — this gives her the power of speech and the chance to speak her mind to anyone that will listen.
With two stories in each episode, kids will get to know Martha as an outspoken, honest, smart, confident dog who loves to eat (and talk!). They will also meet the rest of Martha's family and friends. Ten-year-old Helen is Martha's best friend. Martha encourages the shy, artistic Helen to be more outgoing and brave. Helen acts as the voice of reason for Martha. It's a relationship any dog, or pet-lover, can appreciate.
The series is supported by an educational outreach campaign that includes a cross-age reading buddy program. The show is Closed Captioned and described for the visually impaired. It's produced by WGBH Boston and Vancouver's Studio B Productions.
The goal of Martha Speaks is to increase oral vocabulary, the words we use when we talk. The shows are not trying to teach kids how to read. They are designed to help kids understand what words mean when they hear them; words like retrieve, sprout, and crave. Vocabulary is one thing that predicts if children will be good readers. Once they are in school and they see these words, children will need to know what they mean. If children have heard the words before, that familiarity will help them as they learn to read. Martha Speaks is designed to teach up to 20 words in each show. And how better to get kids excited about learning and trying out new words than with a talking dog, who just can't stop talking?!