During the 2012-2013 school year, Florida public broadcasting stations across the state implemented The Martha Speaks Reading Buddies Program, an educational outreach program that demonstrated noteworthy improvement in vocabulary acquisition and comprehension for elementary school students. Implemented in 19schools across 16 school districts, more than 1050 children participated in this literacy project.
Specifically designed as a companion piece tied the to the nationally televised PBS television show, Martha Speaks, the intent of The Martha Speaks Reading Buddies Program is to develop and enhance vocabulary acquisition and comprehension in elementary school students. Florida PBS stations created The Martha Speaks Reading Buddies Project which paired fourth or fifth grade “big” buddies with kindergarten or first grade “little” buddies. Together, buddies watched segments of the Martha Speaks episodes, talked and played games reinforcing key vocabulary concepts from the show,read a literacy rich book, and spent time writing together about their experience. The program included 10 sessions, which targeted four vocabulary words per session. In total, 36 kindergarten or first grade and 36 fourth or fifth grade classrooms throughout the state of Florida participated in the evaluation, which compared pre- to post-test gains of students in a treatment group with a comparison group.