MARTHA SPEAKS Reading Buddies Program

Expand/Collapse MARTHA SPEAKS Reading Buddies Program


MARTHA SPEAKS Reading Buddies is an innovative, cross-age reading program, based on the popular PBS KIDS show MARTHA SPEAKS, and designed to help kindergarten and upper-elementary students increase their vocabulary, develop self-esteem and social skills, and enhance their love of books and reading. Find everything you need to create a 10-session Reading Buddies program, including videos, teacher instructions, checklists, a Big Buddy guide, and games and activities.

  • MARTHA SPEAKS Reading Buddies in Action

    Martha Speaks, a PBS KIDS television series, aims to help children ages 4–7 build their oral vocabulary—an important early literacy skill. In this video, part of the MARTHA SPEAKS mini-tutorial, The Experts Speak, kindergarten teacher Weddy Youn and fourth-grade teacher Joseph Cooke describe their experience using the eight-week cross-age program, MARTHA SPEAKS Reading Buddies. In addition to enhancing students’ enjoyment of reading, they found that the program—which includes reading and talking together, playing games, and writing or drawing—helped younger students learn and use new words, while older students gained fluency, self-confidence, and leadership skills. The video is accompanied by an article written by Youn and Cooke that describes their experience in greater detail. Based on the curriculum behind MARTHA SPEAKS, this innovative initiative builds school community, while improving reading skills.

    Grades: K-1,4-5
  • There Goes the Neighborhood

    You can use this video for Session 8 of the MARTHA SPEAKS Reading Buddies program. Students watch the video, in which Martha is annoyed about what a big fuss everyone is making about a new little kitten, until they become friends. After watching, buddy pairs talk about the episode, play a Choose and Chat game, read a children’s book together, and write in their journal. Prior to using this resource for Reading Buddies, be sure you have read the complete introductory materials in the MARTHA SPEAKS Reading Buddies Program Guide.

    Key vocabulary: buddy, ignore, prejudiced, tolerate

    Grades: K-1,4-5
  • MARTHA SPEAKS Reading Buddies Program Guide

    This cross-age reading program, using MARTHA SPEAKS videos, is an innovative way for kindergarten and upper-level elementary students to increase their vocabulary, develop their self-esteem and social skills, and enhance their love of books and reading.

    Grades: K-1,4-5
  • Firedog Martha

    You can use this video for Session 3 of the MARTHA SPEAKS Reading Buddies program. Students watch the video, in which Martha’s dream comes true and she gets to ride on a fire truck. After watching, buddy pairs talk about the episode, play a Tic-Tac-Talk game, read a children’s book together, and write in their journal. Prior to using this resource for Reading Buddies, be sure you have read the complete introductory materials in the MARTHA SPEAKS Reading Buddies Program Guide.

    Key vocabulary: fantasy, real, pretend, actually

    Grades: K-1,4-5
  • Dog Fight

    You can use this video for Session 9 of the MARTHA SPEAKS Reading Buddies program. Students watch the video, in which Martha and Skits can’t find a way to share a toy, and then T.D. and Alice start bickering. After watching, buddy pairs talk about the episode, play a Truce! game, read a children’s book together, and write in their journal. Prior to using this resource for Reading Buddies, be sure you have read the complete introductory materials in the MARTHA SPEAKS Reading Buddies Program Guide.

    Key vocabulary: bicker, negotiate, quarrel, truce

    Grades: K-1,4-5
  • Martha to the Rescue

    You can use this video for Session 2 of the MARTHA SPEAKS Reading Buddies program. Students watch the video, in which Martha yearns to be a hero just like her favorite TV star. After watching, buddy pairs talk about the episode, make a SuperPup puppet, read a children’s book together, and write in their journal. Prior to using this resource for Reading Buddies, be sure you have read the complete introductory materials in the MARTHA SPEAKS Reading Buddies Program Guide.

    Key vocabulary: hero, rescue, brave, courageous

    Grades: K-1,4-5
  • Perfectly Martha

    You can use this video for Session 5 of the MARTHA SPEAKS Reading Buddies program. Students watch the video, in which Martha is suspicious of the Perfect Pup Institute. After watching, buddy pairs talk about the episode, play the game Skits’s Tricks online (if online access is not available, they can skip this step), read a children’s book together, and write in their journal. Prior to using this resource for Reading Buddies, be sure you have read the complete introductory materials in the MARTHA SPEAKS Reading Buddies Program Guide.

    Key vocabulary: obey, disobey, obedient, disobedient

    Grades: K-1,4-5
  • Martha Says It with Flowers

    You can use this video for the final session of MARTHA SPEAKS Reading Buddies program. Students watch the video, in which Martha wants to find a truly thoughtful gift for Grandma Lucille’s birthday. After watching, buddy pairs talk about the episode, make a thank you card, read a children’s book together, and write in their journal. In addition, you can celebrate the end of the program by distributing the Certificates of Achievements for both Little Buddies and Big Buddies. Prior to using this resource for Reading Buddies, be sure you have read the complete introductory materials in the MARTHA SPEAKS Reading Buddies Program Guide.

    Key vocabulary: considerate, inconsiderate, thoughtful, sincere

    Grades: K-1,4-5
  • Martha Calling

    You can use this video for Session 7 of the MARTHA SPEAKS Reading Buddies program. Students watch the video, in which Martha has won a trip to an inn that doesn’t allow pets. After watching, buddy pairs talk about the episode, play a Tic-Tac-Talk game, read a children’s book together, and write in their journal. Prior to using this resource for Reading Buddies, be sure you have read the complete introductory materials in the MARTHA SPEAKS Reading Buddies Program Guide.

    Key vocabulary: allowed, permitted, forbidden, rule

    Grades: K-1,4-5
  • Martha and Skits

    You can use this video for Session 1 of the MARTHA SPEAKS Reading Buddies program. Students watch the video, in which a new puppy joins Martha's household, bursting with energy and the desire to chew everything. After watching, buddy pairs talk about the episode, play a Choose and Chat game, read a children’s book together, and write in their journal. Prior to using this resource for Reading Buddies, be sure you have read the complete introductory materials in the MARTHA SPEAKS Reading Buddies Program Guide.

    Key vocabulary: extraordinary, stupendous, talent, unique

    Grades: K-1,4-5
  • MARTHA SPEAKS Reading Buddies Up Close

    MARTHA SPEAKS, a PBS KIDS television series, aims to help children ages 4–7 build their oral vocabulary—an important early literacy skill. Over 500 students in schools in Leon and Gadsden Counties, Florida, have participated in the MARTHA SPEAKS Reading Buddies Program over the past three years. In this video from WFSU, media specialist Sherri Amundson and fourth-grade teachers Brian Lassiter and Polani Kimberl, describe the fun—and learning—that takes place during the program: First-grade and fourth-grade students pair up once a week to watch a MARTHA SPEAKS video, read together, practice vocabulary words, and do activities. The video shows the bond that forms between younger and older students, and demonstrates how the program brings about improvements not only in reading and vocabulary, but in social skills as well.

    Grades: K-1,4-5
  • Martha Walks the Dog

    You can use this video for Session 6 of the MARTHA SPEAKS Reading Buddies program. Students watch the video, in which Martha tries to find out why the new dog in town is so loud and mean. After watching, buddy pairs talk about the episode, play a Choose and Chat game, read a children’s book together, and write in their journal. Prior to using this resource for Reading Buddies, be sure you have read the complete introductory materials in the MARTHA SPEAKS Reading Buddies Program Guide.

    Key vocabulary: pleasant, unpleasant, compliment, bully

    Grades: K-1,4-5
  • Martha in Charge

    You can use this video for Session 4 of the MARTHA SPEAKS Reading Buddies program. Students watch the video, in which Martha is in charge because Helen is sick in bed and Mom is out. After watching, buddy pairs talk about the episode, play a Choose and Chat game, read a children’s book together, and write in their journal. Prior to using this resource for Reading Buddies, be sure you have read the complete introductory materials in the MARTHA SPEAKS Reading Buddies Program Guide.

    Key vocabulary: remedy, recuperate, healthy, cure

    Grades: K-1,4-5

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