Product Review of The Electric Company
Similar to the TV show that premiered more than 30 years ago, the Electric Company website features information designed to help kids learn to read. They can play more than 15 games; watch short video clips; and see full show episodes, which will help them learn simple reading skills such as identifying letter sounds and spelling. The activities feature familiar Electric Company characters, and some also cover math concepts like counting.
Kids choose a character and an opponent, which helps personalize the experience. A narrator offers instructions and walks you through each step of the game as you play. Kids will learn how to convert sounds into spoken and written words and discover new vocabulary words and strategies to understand phrases and sentences. They can also practice identifying number sequences and larger and smaller digits.
The site provides lesson plans, activities, and other resources for educators. You can explain and demonstrate different language elements with the available exercises, including hard and soft c sounds; vowel combinations; and how consonants fit into words. Each activity is labeled with the grade levels that might benefit from its content and clearly identifies what skills kids will learn. Activities can be assigned to learners to access on the site outside of class, or they can be shared with the class together on a whiteboard, giving learners the opportunity to submit answers.
Teachers will most likely need to register for the site; you can view three items in the educator section and are then asked to create an account if you’d like to see more. However, registration is fairly simple; you just need to enter your first and last name, email, school zip code, and a password.
Goofy graphics should maintain kids’ interest; toppings ranging from onions to a sock shoot down with a loud gushing noise in the number-based “Sandwich Stacker” game, and the “Word Transformer” game rules are explained in a song. A few items like downloadable screensavers don’t provide much educational value, but most activities support key language and math skills. In one game, kids fill in missing sentence words to prevent a jelly bean factory explosion; in another, they identify elements to create a news story.
Kids aren’t rushed, and the narrator sometimes provides clues before letting them try again if they answer incorrectly. However, the games could use more challenges; several don’t seem to provide many levels for kids to advance to.
Overall User Consensus About the App
Kids will enjoy choosing a show character to represent them as they play interactive games. Zany sounds, narration, and other elements make activities interesting. Kids can also register to save videos and other items.
Curriculum and Instruction
Kids will identify sounds in words and understand how words and sentences are formed as they play games. Video mash-up and other activities encourage creativity.
Teachers can access more than 35 lesson plan and activity ideas, listed by grade level and skill. The show sometimes also hosts community outreach events, which are listed on the site. Activities based on various episodes are also available.