PBS & Local Public Television Stations Across the Country Kick Off Events Celebrating Innovative Children's Literacy Campaign: PBS KIDS Share A Story

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Effort One of the Most Extensive in PBS History; Find Out How Everyday Activities Like Rhyming, Singing and Talking Can Boost Children's Literacy

ALEXANDRIA, Va., May 7, 2003 -- Initiating the next phase in one of the largest projects PBS has ever mounted in its 34-year history, beginning Mother's Day weekend and continuing through Father's Day, more than 100 local public television stations across the country will hold events celebrating a groundbreaking children's literacy drive called PBS KIDS® Share a Story.

In the weeks bracketed by the Mother's Day and Father's Day holidays, PBS and local stations around the country in nearly every state will hold a variety of events to help demonstrate for parents and other adults the fun, easy and everyday ways to use words to help their children become good readers.

Sponsored in part by Target Stores, PBS KIDS Share a Story inspires adults to help children develop language and literacy skills through daily activities including reading, storytelling, rhyming and singing. Mrs. Laura Bush serves as the campaign's Honorary National Chairman, and LeVar Burton, the host of the PBS KIDS program READING RAINBOW, serves as National Chairman. Information about PBS KIDS Share a Story is available at www.pbskids.org/shareastory.

PBS KIDS Share a Story applies current research about the far-reaching impact of language on early literacy development. Without adequate exposure to words, many children enter school with a crippling "word deficit" which significantly inhibits their language development and readiness to read.

PBS KIDS Share a Story stresses the importance of the many simple, free and accessible activities that bolster the skills that provide children with a solid foundation for reading success.

PBS KIDS Share a Story is a multimedia effort to expose children to words using on-air and online programming, and the unparalleled resources of PBS and local public television stations.

Although the initiative is administered at the national level, the driving force of the campaign is community outreach through local PBS stations with established ties to their communities' families.

"The cornerstone of the national PBS KIDS Share a Story campaign is the grassroots strength of local PBS stations," said PBS CEO and President Pat Mitchell. "Their excellent reputation and commitment to education enables them to reach children throughout their viewing areas. Through PBS KIDS Share a Story, PBS and local stations are continuing to deliver resources that help parents find creative ways to make learning a fun part of kids' everyday lives."

PBS, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, is a private, nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation's 350 public television stations. Serving nearly 100 million people each week, PBS enriches the lives of all Americans through quality programs and education services on noncommercial television, the Internet and other media. More information about PBS is available at pbs.org, the leading dot-org Web site on the Internet.


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Kevin Dando