Getting Ready to Read is a 1986 Sesame Street direct-to-video compilation.

The video promotes reading skills with various Sesame inserts, along with a new framing sequence where Big Bird operates his own "Reading Hotline."

Picture Segment Description
FRAME 1 Big Bird has started his own “Reading Hotline”. Sam (a regular visitor) and his cat, Rocky, arrive to his stand, wanting to know what his box says. Big Bird reads it as “CAT FOOD” and teaches Sam to learn what it says instead of having to come to him all the time.
Muppets Grover talks about the word walk. He is accompanied by styrofoam letters that form the word walk, and they keep walking back and forth.
(First: Episode 1692)

Ferlinghetti Donizetti fills in for Big Bird on a call, telling the caller about rhymes. However, he over does it and tells the caller about rhymes too much.

Note: A portion of this scene appears in Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey

Muppets Ernie and Bert: Ernie gets Bert to participate in a rhyming game, but Ernie ends the game just as Bert is starting to enjoy it.
(First: Episode 0798)
Cartoon In rhyme, a man points out animals who stole and/or ruined his clothing.
(First: Episode 0778)
Muppets Instead of cookies, Cookie Monster recites a poem about galoshes -- or at least he tries.
(First: Episode 1626)
FRAME 3 A monster caller (Old McDougal) asks Big Bird what rhyming has to do with reading. He puts him on hold as he calls Maria into his nest to ask the same question. As she demonstrates it, the monster caller gets fed up with waiting, hangs up and enters the nest himself, unnoticed. Big Bird tries to talk to the caller, but see’s he’s gone and tells the monster next to him he must’ve gotten tired of waiting, causing the monster to faint.
Muppets "Fat Cat"
(First: Episode 0536)
FRAME 4 Big Bird answers another call and helps Pammy learn to read by using the word ending “OP” to make new words.
Muppets "The "OP" Family Song"
(First: Episode 0146)
Cartoon HEN / PEN / TEN / MEN
(First: Episode 1881)
FRAME 5 Oscar the Grouch has set up his own reading hotline and tells his caller to learn to read by watching “Grouch TV”. The static on the channel fades away and reveals...
Muppets ...Slimey and his band, "Earth, Rain and Mud", perform "Gimme Mud."
Introduction and closing scenes cut
(First: Episode 1549)
FRAME 5 cont'd The caller tells Oscar how much they hated the song and Oscar tells Slimey he has a hit on his hands!
Muppets Cookie Monster sounds out the word FOOD, then eats it.
(First: Episode 0601)
Muppets Same Sound Brown shows Farley that "That's What Reading's All About."
(First: Episode 1088)
FRAME 6 Two Honkers try to get Big Bird’s attention, but since he’s on the phone, he asks the viewer to use the skills they learned to help the Honkers sound out their word (HONK).
Cartoon B ... US! We're on the bus!
(First: Episode 0784)
Muppets Two-Headed Monster: RUN
(First: Episode 1446)
FRAME 7 Sam and Rocky come back with various boxes of food, not to learn how to read, but to show off their reading skills. Tired, Big Bird decides to field one more call, which he gets Maria to answer again.



Muppets (Linking Footage)

Big Bird, Sam, Rocky, Pammy, Oscar the Grouch, Old McDougal, Mr. Honker, Honker, Ferlinghetti Donizetti

Muppets (Inserts)

Ernie, Bert, Cookie Monster, Kermit the Frog, Grover, Farley, Same Sound Brown, Two-Headed Monster, Bip Bippadotta, Anything Muppets, Slimey


Muppet Performers

  • Caroll Spinney as Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch
  • Jim Henson as Kermit the Frog, Ernie, Lavender "Fat Cat" AM and Bip Bippadotta
  • Frank Oz as Cookie Monster, Bert, Fat Blue "Fat Cat" AM, and Grover
  • Jerry Nelson as Farley, Green "Fat Cat" AM, Lavender "OP" Family AM singer, and Two-Headed Monster
  • Richard Hunt as Two-Headed Monster




  • When this programme was first released in the UK by The Video Collection on February 7, 1994, it was re-titled "Learn to Read". Because of this the audio track during the title card sequence was altered: 
  • When the Sesame Street title card faded out before fading into the "Learn to Read" title card, the last part of the sound of Cookie Monster's munching was looped despite being out of sync with the animation. Then as the "Learn to Read" title card appeared in plain text, Cookie Monster went on to say 'Delicious!', but after this there was no audio track for the rest of the title card sequence. The title card then faded into darkness, before fading into the first shot of the programme.
  • When the programme was re-released by Disney Video in 1997, it retained its original "Getting Ready to Read" title card sequence.
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