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Fall TV finds for your kids

Abbi Perets lives in Houston, TX, with her husband and five children.






TV is back for fall

The change of seasons from summer to fall brings a sigh of relief for parents everywhere (that is, everywhere in the northern hemisphere) as the kids head back to school. But once the homework is done and the piano is practiced, your kids will probably need a little downtime. Sure, Hannah Montana is still around, and Selena is still starring in Wizards of Waverly Place, but there are some new shows this fall, too. Here's a sneak preview.

Martha Speaks
PBS KIDS

This new series based on the books by Susan Meddaugh is about a dog that eats alphabet soup and gains the power of speech. Designed for kids ages four to seven, the show isn't trying to teach kids to read. Instead, its goal is to increase oral vocabulary, to help kids understand what words mean when they hear them. And check out the words! Retrieve, sprout, crave, communicate, diminish, courageous and concoct. Up to 20 new words per episode. Cool! Or, you know, inventive!

Electric Company
PBS Kids

In perhaps the most exciting television news ever, the critically acclaimed Electric Company is returning to the small screen later this year with a brand-new cast and all new episodes aimed at giving early elementary school students a jump start at literacy. Bonus: as part of the launch, community-based outreach activities are scheduled in 20 cities across the country.


The Suite Life on Deck
Disney Channel

The troublemaking twins from the Suite Life of Zack & Cody are back, but on the SS Tipton, a luxury passenger cruise liner owned by London's father. The ship cruises the world with tourists and students who attend classes at Seven Seas High, the one high school that London's dad thinks will make his daughter a better student. Noticeably absent from the cast is Ashley Tisdale, who hopes to be moving on to more grown-up roles. Still, this is a mostly wholesome show that kids and adults can laugh at together.

Welcome to Mollywood
Disney Channel

If your daughter dreams of being a star, she'll fall in love with this show, starring Demi Lovato. You remember Demi -- she graced your living room all summer in Camp Rock. Now she's back as Molly, a talented 15-year-old who is plucked from the masses and chosen to join the cast of a popular long-running (fictional) teen sketch comedy show on TV. The show deals with Molly's home and work life, and features a cool show-within-a-show, with fully produced comedy sketches (Think SNL for kids. When SNL was funny.). If your daughter likes Hannah, she'll love Molly.

True Jackson, VP
Nickelodeon

15-year-old True Jackson, played by Keke Palmer (Akeelah and the Bee), is tapped to head the youth division of a major fashion label. True soon learns that corporate life has the same highs and lows as high school, complete with cliques, mean girls and crushes -- but with cool perks like designing for up-and-coming rock stars and casting super cute models. This is a great show to springboard discussions about future careers and learning how to get along in the world.

Opportunity Knocks
ABC

This new reality show puts an interesting twist on the game show concept -- the game show arrives in your yard and knocks on your door. Then, your friends and neighbors watch your family try to answer questions about each other. The more you know about your family, the better your family will do. This show looks like it might provide, um, opportunities for talking to your kids about family relationships and why people don't know more about each other.

Fire up the DVR and catch an episode or two with your kids when you can. Remember, the more you know about what your kids watch -- and like -- the better prepared you'll be if Opportunity comes knocking on your door!

More for your kids to watch:

Finding age appropriate books and TV shows

Top 5 live shows for kids

Introduce classic movies to your kids

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