PBS Early Literacy Initiative Launches in January


In January PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting will launch a five-year literacy initiative for preschoolers and young learners aimed at teachers, parents, and caregivers. Funded in part through a grant from the United States Department of Education, the multi-pronged initiative, dubbed "PBS Kids Raising Readers," will include a wide range of new tools and media, including television series, Web content, professional development, and a preschool curriculum, designed to develop literacy skills in kids aged 2 to 8.

The initiative includes two new literacy-focused series, Super Wy! and WordWorld. Super Why! is an animated preschool series that includes interactive reading activities and games. WordWorld is a series based around the WordFriends characters. Both of these started airing in September. It will also include an on air campaign designed to raise awareness of the importance of early literacy with tips for parents and daily activities.

Other features of the program include:

  • A 32-week preschool literacy curriculum;
  • Ongoing research into into how children learn from media (53 studies planned);
  • New Web content from Sesame Street and Between the Lions;
  • A literacy site for kids, parents, and teachers; and
  • An online professional development course for childcare providers.

"We believe media can contribute to improving childhood literacy," said Lesli Rotenberg, senior vice president of PBS KIDS Next Generation Media. "PBS KIDS Raising Readers teaches fundamental reading skills to children from low income families. Our research with low income parents indicates that they recognize the importance of raising a reader and trust PBS KIDS as a guide for content that helps build reading skills."

The initiative is a collaborative effort between CPB, PBS, and The Ready To Learn Partnership, with funding provided through a DOE Ready To Learn grant.

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About the author: David Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's online education technology publications, including THE Journal and Campus Technology. He can be reached at [email protected].

Proposals for articles and tips for news stories, as well as questions and comments about this publication, should be submitted to David Nagel, executive editor, at [email protected].

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidrnagel/ .