About WordWorld

Show Overview

In WordWorld, words come alive, words save the day, and words become a child's best friend.

Welcome to WordWorld, the first preschool series where words are truly the stars of the show! Come along for an adventurous romp into a colorful, vibrant world of words with Duck and his lovable, legible WordFriends—animals whose bodies are made up of the letters that spell the word they are.

Duck is still learning his letters and letter sounds…and, often, his social skills, which can get him into some pretty silly situations. Luckily he has his WordFriends to help him out of trouble.

First in line is usually Frog, the cautious brainiac and word “expert,” whose crazy inventions sometimes don’t work exactly as planned. Frog can get frustrated by Duck but cares for him like a brother.

There is also Sheep, who loves to pretend. She will take on the role of detective, princess, super hero—anything to help her friends!

Pig, a marvelous chef and a bit of a “ham,” lives life moment by glorious moment.

His best buddy, Ant, is a hard-working bundle of energy who manages to keep Pig in check, run a radio station out of his anthill, and lead a family of hundreds of ant cousins.

Dog is a WordFriend’s best friend and is always ready to play, play, play (and build a word)!

Duck and his WordFriends go on comic adventures and face challenges that can only be resolved with the right word. That word is built letter by letter, or sound by sound, during the funky “Build a Word” song at the end of every episode. Once the word is built, it “morphs” —comes alive—into the thing it is!

Learn more about each episode →

Word building reinforces the pre-reading concept that letters (and their sounds) make words, and that words have real meaning…and power. WordWorld also introduces essential emergent literacy concepts—such as sounding out letters, “chunking” words, and rhyming—that all children encounter as they learn to read.


2009 Emmy Award Winner

• Outstanding Children’s Animated Program
• Outstanding Writing in Animation

2008 Emmy Award Winner

• Outstanding Achievement in Main Title

Three 2008 Parents' Choice Awards: Gold

• Welcome to WordWorld DVD
• Rocket to the Moon DVD
• WordWorld Television Series

Creative Child Magazine - Creative Toys Awards

• 2008 Preferred Choice Award: Barn Bucket Set
• 2008 Seal of Excellence Award: Pull-Apart Plush
• 2004 Preferred Choice Award: Pull Apart Plush

2008 Toy Wishes Magazine All-Star Award

• WordPuzzle with Sound: Duck’s Beach Party

Interactive Media Awards

• 2007 Best in Class: PBS Kids WordWorld Website

Educational Approach

Welcome to WordWorld, an exciting place where words come alive and the journey into reading is fun!

Through its innovative approach of immersing viewers in a word-rich place where things spell out the objects they represent, WordWorld aims to fascinate children with words and to inspire a love of words and reading.

Featuring lovable, silly characters called WordFriends who embark on adventures in a world of words, WordWorld encourages preschoolers to see words as their friends, too.

Providing constant opportunity for wordplay, WordWorld empowers children as early readers by making the important connections between letters, sounds, words and meaning that are necessary for reading.

WordWorld’s Research and Curriculum

WordWorld is Informed by Research

WordWorld is grounded in scientifically based reading research and incorporates the recommendations of the landmark report Teaching Children to Read by the National Reading Panel (2000). Additionally, as recommended by researchers, WordWorld immerses children in a language-rich environment.

Literacy experts and advisors in the fields of child development, psychology and education are an integral part of the WordWorld team and review content throughout the development process.

WordWorld is also continually informed by formative research with preschool children, teachers and parents, conducted by the Michael Cohen Group. Results from these ongoing studies guide the development and production of WordWorld.

The Curriculum of WordWorld

The curriculum of WordWorld is designed to introduce, support and foster emergent literacy skills in children ages three to five.

The curriculum draws from four skill sets critical for young children’s emergent literacy: print awareness, phonological sensitivity and letter knowledge, comprehension (including vocabulary development), and socio-emotional skills.

Here are some details about each skill set and the specific skills/knowledge that WordWorld addresses:

Print Awareness

The understanding of the characteristics of print what it looks like, how it is organized and how it works.

Through regular exposure to WordWorld, children will develop an emerging sensitivity to and recognition of the following:

  • Words, both spoken and written, carry meaningful messages.
  • Print moves from left to right.
  • Speech and print are characterized by individual words.
  • There is a relationship between speech and print.
  • Many words represent real-life objects.
  • Common terms of print such as: word, read, spell, letter.
  • Print has multiple functons, that is, that print is used in a variety of different contexts such as: playing games, making product labels, getting directions, making lists for shopping, making notes for remembering information.

Phonological Sensitivity and Letter Knowledge

The ability to recognize, identify and manipulate the sequence of sounds represented in words.

Through regular exposure to WordWorld, children will develop:

  • An increasingly clear understanding that letters represent sounds, sounds make up words, and words stand for real things in the world.
  • A growing awareness of letters and the sounds they represent.
  • An emerging sensitivity to and recognition of the following:
  • Rhyming words.
  • The visual and auditory segments in words.
  • The blending of word parts into words.
  • The names of a sample of letters.
  • A sample of letter-sound relationships.
  • The concepts (though not the terminology) underlying such structures as compound words, plurals, comparatives and superlatives.
  • Aspects of phonological awareness such as discrimination, segmentation and blending.
  • Aural syllabication.


The process of making sense of spoken and written language.

Through regular exposure to WordWorld, children will develop an increasingly clear understanding of the vocabulary, grammatical structures, thinking strategies and concept/content knowledge that will contribute to comprehension. WordWorld aims to help children demonstrate increasing awareness and/or understanding of:

  • New vocabulary items.
  • Literal question and answer relationships.
  • Predictions.
  • Cause and effect relationships.
  • Concepts (though not necessarily the terminology) underlying such structures as compound words, plurals, comparatives and superlatives.
  • Problem-solving contexts.
  • Inferences from statements or actions.
  • Story elements such as characters, setting, problem and solution.
  • New concept and content background knowledge.

Socio-Emotional Skills

The skills that allow individuals to work cooperatively, learn effectively, and interact successfully in social contexts. In WordWorld, socio-emotional skills are presented in two broad categories: self awareness and social awareness.

Self-Awareness Skills

Perception of oneself as a successful learner.

Through regular exposure to WordWorld, children will develop an increasing ability to see themselves as learners and readers, as well as an emerging sensitivity to and understanding of the following:

  • Seeing themselves as readers.
  • Experiencing success in recognizing words.
  • Viewing reading as an enjoyable, pleasurable and attainable activity.
  • Recognizing words they can read.

Social Awareness Skills

The ability to imagine how others feel, to recognize and understand ways that others may be different, to solve problems, and to make sensible decisions.

Through regular exposure to WordWorld, children will develop an awareness of skills that foster positive interpersonal relationships. Children will develop an emerging sensitivity to and recognition of the following skills in personal interactions:

  • Identifying and considering the feelings of others.
  • Showing concern for others.
  • Sharing with others.
  • Recognizing and appreciating differences.
  • Applying appropriate decision making in the solution or resolution of problems.
  • Acting fairly.
  • Identifying positive qualities in others.
  • Discovering ways to work and play effectively with others.
  • Identifying common problems and resolutions/solutions.
  • Seeking help when necessary.

Guided Learning resources →

Free Activities

Games to play, puzzles to solve, activities for groups. We've gathered some resources for parents and teachers to use with their kids for hours of fun learning.

Free Coloring Pages

Print-ready PDFs of WordFriends™ and WordThings™ to download and print at home or in the classroom. A great way to learn while having fun!

Coloring Pages →

Join Duck and the WordFriends on an exciting, joyous journey to becoming a reader!