Martha Speaks Reading Buddies Newsletter
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Get an in-depth look at Session 8 of the Reading Buddies Program featuring words such as considerate, thoughtful, and sincere. You can also warm up with a cozy alphabet soup recipe, check out recommendations for gift giving, and watch a video about the Reading Buddies Program in Tennessee in this edition of the Reading Buddies Newsletter.

In the Spotlight: Martha Says It with Flowers
Classroom Tips: Letters to Martha
Pup Tales: Success in Tennessee
More Fun with Martha: Gift Ideas and a "Souper" Recipe
Links & Books: Useful Web Sites and Recommended Reading

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Martha Thoughtful

Martha Says It with Flowers

Words like thoughtful, considerate, and kind are important and useful, especially around the holiday season. And teachers know that vocabulary like this can offer valuable lessons central to every classroom and beneficial to both Big and Little Buddies.

Session 8 of the Reading Buddies Program provides a unique opportunity for Big Buddies to teach their Little Buddies what it means to be considerate, thoughtful, and sincere. After watching Martha Says It with Flowers, buddies discuss which characters in the episode behaved in a considerate or thoughtful way, and then make connections to their own lives. After talking together, Big Buddies help their Little Buddies make a “Thank You Card” for someone they care about.

Teachers can select from a variety of read-aloud books that reinforce the session’s vocabulary theme, including: A Birthday Basket for Tia by Pat Mora, Peace Week in Miss Fox’s Class by Eileen Spinelli, Flower Garden by Eve Bunting, or the TV tie-in book Martha Says It with Flowers by Susan Meddaugh.

Examining the target words in this session can reinforce anti-bullying efforts, strengthen the school community, and simply remind students how to be considerate and thoughtful. Martha Says It with Flowers is the last session of the Reading Buddies Program, and its themes make for a lovely finale.

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Letters to Martha

In Session 8 of the Reading Buddies Program, Big Buddies help their Little Buddies make a “Thank You Card” for someone they care about. Making a thank you card is a great exercise since it not only strengthens writing skills, but helps both Big and Little Buddies think about and express their feelings.

Here’s another activity to support writing skills: Write a letter to Martha!

Students can each complete their own letter, or Little Buddy teachers may want to consider creating a group letter to Martha. Little Buddies can write or dictate their message to Martha and include drawings. Big Buddies can practice letter-writing formats.

Students can select an idea below, or write something completely unique:
•    Ask Martha a question.
•    Share your favorite part of the Reading Buddies Program.
•    Comment on your favorite MARTHA SPEAKS episode.

Have students send in their letters by mail or email and we’ll choose a classroom to feature in a future edition of the newsletter!

Attn: MARTHA SPEAKS Outreach Team
Educational Outreach
One Guest Street
Boston, MA 02135

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Martha Tennessee photo

Reading Buddies Success in Tennessee

With the help of their local public television station, North Parkway Elementary School in Jackson, Tennessee, piloted the MARTHA SPEAKS Reading Buddies Program.

“Words cannot express what a huge success this program was,” Reading Buddies coordinator Sue Lasky said. “For the final session, Big Buddies turned out dressed to the nines, some wearing suits and several of the girls in party dresses. The buddies received their certificates and each child got to ‘adopt’ a plush puppy of their own. They could choose any name for their stuffed dog, but the puppy’s middle name had to be Martha. They also had to pledge in writing to read to their puppy every day for 15 minutes through the end of the year. Then the Big or Little buddy ‘witnessed’ each other’s agreements.”

After some school reorganization, North Parkway has converted into a middle school. However, the kindergarten and 5th grade classes of Jackson-Madison County School System continue to participate in the MARTHA SPEAKS Reading Buddies Program.

Watch North Parkway School’s Reading Buddies video.

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Martha Speaks Backpack

Give the Gift of Martha
Purchase fun, personalized items for the MARTHA SPEAKS enthusiast including tee shirts, backpacks, tote bags, water bottles, and more!

A “Souper” Recipe
Find a healthy recipe for alphabet soup in Mollie Katzen’s cookbook, Enchanted Broccoli Forrest. We also recommend Pretend Soup and other Real Recipes: A Cookbook for Preschoolers and Up by Mollie Katzen, as well as this easy recipe with highlighted words like ingredients and combine from the MARTHA SPEAKS Web site.

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Recommended Links

ASPCA: A Way to Give Back
Looking for a way to give back this holiday season? The ASPCA offers lots of ways that both kids and adults can help animals.

Books About Dogs

This doggy book list is an excellent resource to send home to families and is full of entertaining gift ideas for kids who love dogs.

Recommended Reading

Martha Says It With Flowers
by Susan Meddaugh
. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009.
Read the TV tie-in book that parallels the episode (Check out more MARTHA SPEAKS TV tie-in books at

Just 1 Book: Author Post
: Teach Mama Blog.
Read Susan Meddaugh’s guest blog post about the books that inspired her to become an author.

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Beguiled by vocabulary? Inquisitive about MARTHA SPEAKS? Have a stupendous suggestion for the newsletter? We want your feedback! Email us at

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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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