Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Mass Communication and Media Arts

First Advisor

Lemish, Dafna


A small-scale ethnographic case study of young children's learning from television in southern Illinois provides understanding about the frameworks used for interpreting media use in family life. The research consisted of in-home interviews about patterns of using the media, observations, and family diaries of children's viewing behavior to examine family engagement with a prosocial television program, Shalom Sesame, depicting Jewish culture, Hebrew language, holidays, and the land of Israel. Family responses to the program are identified in terms of appeal, use, and overall fit with Jewish identity and tradition in the homes. Data analysis reveals that quality educational program features of Shalom Sesame such as repetition, role models, humor, on screen textual cues, and follow-up activities in the home support learning. The case study concludes that Shalom Sesame helps connect families with young children, especially those who are isolated from other members of their minority, to the larger community of diverse Jewish people and culture around the globe.




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