LITERACY TAKES THE LEAD ON PBS KIDS AND PBS KIDS GO!
PBS KIDS is committed to preparing kids for success in school and in life. This fall, the focus is on literacy skill development. With two new series for preschoolers and one for early elementary school kids, PBS KIDS is giving parents and educators the tools they need to encourage a love of reading, books and words.
The two new preschool series - SUPER WHY! and WORDWORLD - are part of the PBS KIDS Ready To Learn initiative, focused on helping children ages two to eight, especially those from low-income families, acquire the skills they need to learn to read. Addressing this crucial literacy need, the initiative is utilizing scientifically-based reading research to design television, web, curriculum and professional development content.
- SUPER WHY!, which debuts on September 3 as part of the PBS KIDS preschool destination, is an animated preschool series from Out of the Blue Enterprises. This superhero show is designed to boost literacy skills through interactive fairytale adventures that encourage viewers to participate through entertaining and engaging games. Whyatt Beanstalk, younger brother of Jack from "Jack in the Beanstalk," and his three fairytale character friends transform into the "Super Readers," with special literacy-charged powers. The Super Readers jump into books to discover answers and find solutions to everyday preschooler questions and challenges.
- SUPER WHY! joins CURIOUS GEORGE, CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG and DRAGON TALES as part of season two of the PBS KIDS preschool destination with Miss Lori and Hooper, which also begins on Labor Day, September 3. The new season will feature more interactivity, new curriculum-based segments and "Dot's Story Factory," a new kid-created content feature at pbskids.org that invites kids to submit their own stories for display online and on-air.
- WORDWORLD also debuts September 3 on PBS KIDS. In WORDWORLD, words are truly the stars of the show. Created by Don Moody and presented by WTTW, each episode is a fun narrative built around the WordFriends, who are characters first and words second. WordWorld is a colorful, vibrant, word-rich place where friends have fun and meet challenges in the same way: through WordPlay.
- The "Playing the News" project is a news simulation environment letting citizens play through a complex, evolving news story through interaction with the newsmakers.
- PBS KIDS GO!, for early elementary school-aged kids, launches WORDGIRL as a full half-hour series on September 7 (with a sneak preview on September 3). The new full-length series from Scholastic Media and Soup2Nuts builds off of the success of the popular shorts that debuted on-air and online at pbskidsgo.org in November 2006. Featuring all new storylines, WORDGIRL chronicles the adventures of Becky Botsford, a mild-mannered fifth grader who, at the call of duty, transforms into WordGirl - caped crusader and definition dynamo. The half-hour animated series features the voices of Tom Kenny ("SpongeBob SquarePants"), Chris Parnell ("Saturday Night Live") and veteran character actor Jeffrey Tambor.
In addition to these new series, SESAME STREET and BETWEEN THE LIONS also continue to promote literacy skill development with new seasons this fall.
- Season 38 of SESAME STREET premieres 26 new episodes starting August 13 and includes a new segment called "What's the Word on the Street" that focuses on early language development. The new season also includes celebrity appearances from Ellen Degeneres, Sarah Jessica Parker, Rachael Ray and Anderson Cooper. SESAME STREET's newest star, Abby Cadabby, will appear in every episode this season.
- BETWEEN THE LIONS premieres new episodes beginning on September 17, focusing on non-fiction and vocabulary.
Below are some other highlights from PBS KIDS and PBS KIDS GO! this fall:
- MAMA MIRABELLE'S HOME MOVIES, from National Geographic, premieres on PBS KIDS the weekend of September 8 and is a warm-hearted, high-spirited show about a sassy, soulful elephant host named Mama Mirabelle and the young animal characters she cares for on the African savanna. Starring Vanessa Williams as the voice of Mama, the series combines a uniquely animated world that preschoolers will want to explore with stunning wildlife movies from the National Geographic and BBC award-winning archives.
- BARNEY & FRIENDS begins a new season starting September 3 including new songs and games, as well as a new set of music videos that place Barney in different animated environments.
- TELETUBBIES will feature a special week of episodes in October that spotlights a different Tubby each day, Monday-Thursday, with a Big Hug finale on Friday.
- In addition, CURIOUS GEORGE launches season two on September 3 and new episodes of THOMAS AND FRIENDS, BOB THE BUILDER and FRANNY'S FEET will air throughout the fall.
And for early elementary school kids:
- ARTHUR kicked off its 11th season on PBS KIDS GO! on June 25 and will pick up with more new episodes the week of September 3. The new season focuses on media literacy and introduces Arthur's new segment, "Postcards from You," that features viewer created postcards, and includes a special appearance by Matt Damon, who inspires Arthur to try his hand at filmmaking.
- Back to School with CYBERCHASE, a TV/web promotion featuring three weeks of key math shows to get kids excited for a new school year, kicks off on September 3 with the premiere of the all new episode, "A Fraction of a Chance". Designed to help kids get their math skills in gear, Back to School includes core math topics such as fractions, decimals, division, measurement, geometry and financial literacy- with which kids often struggle. At CYBERCHASE Online (www.pbskidsgo.org/cyberchase), episodes will be linked to related math-based features on both the kids' and parent/teacher web sites, including games, activities, and tips for parents and educators (www.pbskids.org/cyberchase/parentsteachers).
- MAYA & MIGUEL continues to celebrate diversity and will roll out new episodes this October for Hispanic Heritage Month.
- New episodes of DRAGONFLY TV will air throughout the fall.
Kid-Created Content Experiences for Preschool and Early Elementary School Kids:
- New for preschoolers this summer is "Dot's Story Factory." As part of the second season of the PBS KIDS preschool destination with Miss Lori and Hooper, PBS KIDS will feature kid-created content on-air and online in the form of stories and pictures. Designed for preschoolers and their parents, Dot's Story Factory is an age-appropriate narrative tool that supports the development of skills, and allows the creation of compelling stories that will be shared online and spotlighted on television. Children can also submit their stories via postal mail. For more information, visit (www.pbskids.org/storyfactory).
- "Show Us What You've Got" is a new, online destination from PBS KIDS GO! that empowers school-aged kids with the opportunity to share something unique about themselves as well as be inspired by the talents and abilities of their peers. Kids can email or mail their poem, video, art, story, song, or anything that "shows what they've got," and their creations may be included in future Web updates or TV broadcasts. The site launched with videos featuring 12 kids from around the country doing inspirational and creative things - from a girl who has won several skiing trophies despite her dependence on a wheelchair, to a boy who is a duct tape artist. Their stories and others are also shared in 30 second on-air segments throughout the PBS KIDS GO! block. See more at (www.pbskids.org/go/showus).
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