Martha Speaks Reading Buddies Newsletter
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Thank you for signing up for the MARTHA SPEAKS Reading Buddies Newsletter! We hope you find this unique tool stupendously helpful. Now you’ll receive all the news that's fit to "bark" about including classroom tips, expert advice, and fun activities–every month!

In the Spotlight: Getting Started
Classroom Tips: Preparing Big & Little Buddies
Pup Tales: Best Practices from Reading Buddies Teachers
More Fun with Martha: "Martha's Life in Crime" and "Dog Tags"
Links & Books: Useful Web Sites and Recommended Reading

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Martha Two Buddies

Getting Started
Now that you’re familiar with MARTHA SPEAKS and the Reading Buddies Program, here are some answers to frequently asked questions to help you set things in motion.

I’m interested in doing the MARTHA SPEAKS Reading Buddies Program. What should my first steps be?

1. Partner with another teacher! The program connects “Little Buddies (kindergartners) with 4th or 5th grade “Big Buddies.”

2. Work together to create compatible buddy pairs and set up your Reading Buddies schedule. The full program is eight, 45-minute sessions; however you can modify for your students.

3. Download the Teacher and Student materials and make copies.

4. Choose and acquire a class set of the read-aloud books. You will need one copy of each title per buddy pair. You will find the suggested titles for each session here.

5. Prepare your students and begin. Use this handy Teacher Checklist.

Where do I get the materials I need for the MARTHA SPEAKS Reading Buddies Program?
With the exception of the read-aloud books, all of the materials necessary for the Reading Buddies Program are available for free download at The site is divided into five categories for easy access and organization:

1. Teacher Materials
2. Student Materials
3. Episodes
4. Family Materials
5. Additional Resources

How do I obtain the books I need for the Reading Buddies Program?

You will need a class set of your selected read-aloud books. A local public library, your PTA/PTO, a community group, your local public television station, a local bookstore or other business may partner with you to assist with the cost of book purchase. Some business and charitable foundations offer small grants, and publishers often offer books at a substantial educational discount. Remember, a set of Reading Buddies books can be reused each year and by other classes in your school for their Reading Buddies sessions.

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Preparing Big & Little Buddies
A great way to introduce the Reading Buddies Program to both Little and Big Buddies is to read Martha Speaks, by Susan Meddaugh, aloud to the class. This allows students to “meet Martha” and get excited about the program.

If cross-age programs are new to your students, Little Buddy teachers can introduce the idea of a Reading Buddy and explain the new Reading Buddies routines.

Big Buddy teachers can prepare 4th or 5th grade students by hosting a Big Buddy “training” session (training materials are provided online). You will need to set aside time for the whole class to practice the first session step-by-step. This will help your students feel well-prepared and confident when they guide their Little Buddies through the same activities. Big Buddy teachers should provide guidance and encouragement as students take on this leadership role.

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Martha Teacher and Buddies

Best Practices from Reading Buddies Teachers
In Carbondale, Illinois, Giant City Elementary School found the MARTHA SPEAKS Reading Buddies Program to be extraordinarily successful!

“The students practiced fluency, vocabulary development, comprehension, and written expression,” Big Buddy teacher Rebecca Apgar reported. “They also learned skills in patience and understanding and felt pride and success in their work.”

“The materials were wonderful and very user friendly,” said Little Buddy teacher Terry Montgomery. Fellow kindergarten teacher Kristi Britton added, “We observed the students using the new vocabulary words in discussions and journal entries!”

The program worked so well with the state-mandated learning standards and Response to Intervention requirements, that the Giant City School teachers presented the MARTHA SPEAKS Reading Buddies Program to their school board as an example of excellence in teaching.

To hear more from the Giant City teachers, watch their video.

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Martha Speak Dog Tags

Sit. Stay. Watch!
Look for a new, two-part episode about how Martha came to be adopted by Helen's family. "Martha's Life in Crime" airs November 24th on PBSKIDS, check local listings. Get a sneak peek on YouTube.

On the Web: Dog Tags
Kids upload a picture of their own pet, or choose from an existing selection of dogs, then decorate their pets using fun props, frames, and words like miniature, peculiar, and nimble. Kids can even submit their creations to Martha’s featured pet gallery!

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Recommended Links

Building Strong Vocabulary

In this video clip, MARTHA SPEAKS curriculum advisor Rebecca Silverman talks about how to strengthen children’s vocabulary skills.

The Meaning of Dog Barks

Listen to a variety of dog barks, from woofs to whines, and try to interpret their meaning.

Recommended Reading

A Pup's Tale
by Susan Meddaugh.
Houghton Mifflin, 2010. This TV tie-in book goes hand in hand with the new November episode, "Martha's Life in Crime." Find out about Martha’s life as puppy, including her time as an unwilling doggy criminal after being adopted by a thief. (Check out more MARTHA SPEAKS TV tie-in books at

A Special Kind of Tutor
by Linda Brown Anderson. Teaching PreK-8 Magazine, February 2007. This article describes how children with varying needs and abilities have a lot to teach others, and learn themselves, through cross-age tutoring.

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Corporate funding for MARTHA SPEAKS is provided by Chuck E. Cheese's® and Kiddie Academy® Child Care Learning Centers. Additional funding provided by Jennifer and Steven Walske and by public television viewers. Additional series funding is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and by a cooperative agreement from the U.S. Department of Education’s Ready to Learn Grant. ©2010 WGBH Educational Foundation. All rights reserved. "Martha" and all characters and underlying materials (including artwork) from the "Martha" books are trademarks and copyrights of Susan Meddaugh and used under license. All other characters and underlying materials are trademarks of and copyrights of WGBH. All third party trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Used with permission.

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