PBS KIDS Offers Resources to Help Kids Bridge the Summer Learning Gap

Posted by PBS Publicity on

On-air programming, online content, and partnership activities give families tools to build kids’ reading skills all summer long

Arlington, VA, May 16, 2011 – This summer, PBS KIDS makes it easy to help kids bridge the summer learning gap by offering fun and educational content and tools to families for free via PBSPARENTS.org/read. Research shows that children who don’t maintain reading skills over the summer are likely to start the upcoming school year at a disadvantage.  To combat this summer slump, PBS KIDS has developed ten weeks of special on-air programming, a variety of online resources, and partnerships with iVillage and JetBlue Airways.

“PBS KIDS’ content can play an important role in helping kids fight the summer learning slump through engaging and educational resources that can go anywhere with kids,” said Lesli Rotenberg, Senior Vice President, Children’s Media, PBS. “We want to inspire families to explore and enjoy educational activities together this summer, all to help boost kids’ reading skills.”

On-air Summer Reading Theme Weeks

Starting on May 23, PBS KIDS is supporting literacy with ten weeks of themed programming (check local listings). Each week will feature reading-related episodes from a different PBS KIDS series. Episodic images and episode descriptions are available on PBS PressRoom.  The line-up includes:

• SID THE SCIENCE KID – “Weather Week” – starting May 23

• ARTHUR – “Arthur Author Week” – starting May 30

• CURIOUS GEORGE – “Country Monkey Week” – starting June 6

• DINOSAUR TRAIN – “World Tour Week” – starting June 13

• SUPER WHY – “Family Story Week” – starting June 20

• MARTHA SPEAKS – “Martha Summer Fun Week” – starting June 27

• THE ELECTRIC COMPANY – “What’s the Story? Week” – starting July 4

• WORDGIRL – “WordGirl’s Ludicrously Literate Library Week” –  starting July 11

• WILD KRATTS – “Wet Kratts Week” – starting July 18

• THE CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT THAT! – “Cool Cat Week” – starting July 25

Online and Mobile Resources for Families

PBS KIDS and PBS Parents have developed a myriad of online resources to keep kids learning all summer long. A re-launched PBSKIDS.org/read site includes interactive games that kids can play to build literacy skills, including PBS KIDS Island, an amusement park-themed game experience for preschoolers, and the Great Word Quest, an online scavenger hunt-style activity for kids ages 6 to 9.  PBS Parents has an array of content available for parents, including downloadable printables featuring PBS KIDS characters, as well as tips and activity ideas for families to do together. Parents can also download free episodes of select PBS KIDS series via PBSParents.org – each week a new episode will be available, starting now and running through August.  Families can also visit PBSKIDS.org/mobile and download a variety of PBS KIDS educational apps, including the new free PBS KIDS Video for iPad App, which features over 1,000 videos from PBS KIDS series.

Partnership Activities

The iVillage PBS KIDS Summer Reading Community Challenge runs from June 6 to July 15 and features free literacy-building resources for parents and children designed by the experts at PBS Parents and PBS KIDS. As Challenge Coach, Angela Santomero, Creator, Executive Producer and Head Writer of SUPER WHY! and host of The Parent Show on PBS Parents, will provide daily reading activity assignments, answer parent questions and offer advice throughout the online event. Guest coaches such as cast members, characters, authors and series creators from PBS KIDS will also provide activities and ideas each week.  iVillage, an online community for women, and PBS KIDS will also host reading parties with parent bloggers and within the iVillage community, reaching over 1,500 kids across the country.  

Soar with Reading, a joint project of PBS KIDS and JetBlue, will kick off in June and will encourage kids’ imaginations to take flight through reading. More information on the initiative will be available in early June.


PBS KIDS, the number one educational media brand for children, offers all children the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, online and community-based programs.  Each quarter, more than 27 million children watch PBS KIDS on TV, and PBSKIDS.org, the number one kids’ entertainment site for free video streaming, attracts more than 9.5 million unique visitors per month (Nielsen, NTI Q42010; comScore Video Metrix; Google Analytics). For more information on specific PBS KIDS programs supporting literacy, science, math and more, visit PBS.org/pressroom, or follow PBS KIDS on Twitter and Facebook.

Media Contacts:

Maria Vera, PBS; 703.739.3225; mvera@pbs.org

Caitlin Melnick, 360 Public Relations; 617.585.5775; cmelnick@360publicrelations.com