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For Release: April 3, 2006
PBS Kids' BETWEEN THE LIONS
Gives the Power of Reading and Reasons to Read
Season Six Premieres April 17 with New Episodes and Continued Outreach to Underserved Communities
This Spring kids have even more reasons to read when six-time Emmy® Award-winning BETWEEN THE LIONS premieres new episodes on PBS KIDS®. Now in its sixth season, the series continues to help children learn to read by giving them the tools they need, presented in a fun, entertaining way that inspires them to want to learn. Ten new episodes premiere Mondays, beginning Monday, April 17, 2006.
In the premiere episode, "Mrs. McNosh Hangs Up Her Wash" (featuring the book by Sarah Weeks and illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott) and "Knuffle Bunny" (featuring Mo Willems' book Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale), country music guest stars Buddy Jewell and Patty Loveless sing a duet called "Reasons to Read." This catchy country-western song illustrates the importance of reading using examples of everyday opportunities, from reading recipes, directions, and facts, to postcards and songs. In addition, all of the new episodes will provide educators with additional curriculum content to enhance the value of BETWEEN THE LIONS as a literacy resource in the classroom.
"By seasonωs end, we will have created at least one sketch, story, or song to cover every single one of the common sounds that make up spoken and written English. And we look forward to enriching our literacy curriculum even further in future seasons in the most entertaining and informative way possible," said Christopher Cerf, co-creator of BETWEEN THE LIONS, and co-founder of Sirius Thinking.
This season, BETWEEN THE LIONS also continues its ongoing outreach to underserved communities. "The literacy crisis in the United States has left many kids in rural communities stripped of the joy of reading and of life opportunities that go with it," says WGBH executive producer Judith Stoia. "Since its beginning, BETWEEN THE LIONS has made it a priority to reach out and help these low literate children learn to read."
Recently, the BETWEEN THE LIONS American Head Start Literacy Initiative, developed by WGBH and KNME-TV in New Mexico, has worked to increase the early English literacy skills of American Indian children in Head Start. Along with the television series, resources such as teacherωs guides, classroom materials, and childrenωs books have been created and selected specifically for 11 New Mexico Indian tribes. A version of these materials are now being used in childcare centers in Mississippi. The BETWEEN THE LIONS Mississippi Preschool Literacy Initiative is providing childcare directors and teachers with training and on-site mentoring to incorporate the BETWEEN THE LIONS literacy education materials in their daily work with children. The partners for this project include Mississippi Public Broadcasting, The Barksdale Reading Institute, Mississippi State University, WGBH Boston, and Sirius Thinking, Ltd.
BETWEEN THE LIONS is a multimedia educational initiative created to help children, ages four to seven, acquire beginning reading skills and a love of reading. Built around a curriculum that incorporates the most recent scientific research in literacy instruction, each episode uses an engaging variety of entertaining animation, puppetry, live action, music video, and graphic segments.
BETWEEN THE LIONS is produced by WGBH Boston, Sirius Thinking, Ltd., and Mississippi Public Broadcasting. The series is funded in part by a Ready To Learn Television Cooperative Agreement from the US Department of Education through the Public Broadcasting Service, and by the Barksdale Reading Institute. National corporate sponsorship is provided by Chick-fil-A, Inc. and Bright Horizons Family Solutions®. BETWEEN THE LIONS can be found online at pbskids.org/lions. The BETWEEN THE LIONS team is committed to making quality television available to all children. Each episode is accessible to blind and visually impaired viewers through WGBH Boston's innovative, Emmy Award-winning Descriptive Video Service (DVS). The series also is closed captioned by the Caption Center at WGBH for viewers who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.
WGBH Boston is the producer of award-winning children's series such as Arthur, Between the Lions, Postcards from Buster, and ZOOM, airing on PBS. Under the leadership of vice president Brigid Sullivan, the WGBH childrenωs lineup leads the field in educational multimedia (including the Web, broadband, and interactive television) and in technologies and services that make media accessible for people with disabilities. WGBH's current childrenωs series have been recognized with some of the worldωs most prestigious awards, including a dozen Emmys, the George Foster Peabody award, three Prix Jeunesse awards, a BAFTA, and more than a dozen Parents' Choice awards.
Sirius Thinking, Ltd., is a children's educational entertainment media company based in New York City. Its co-founding partners, Christopher Cerf and Norman Stiles, have played a major creative and production role in such acclaimed educational television programs as Sesame Street, The Electric Company, and numerous Jim Henson productions. Sirius Thinking's creative team has won a host of honors including multiple Emmy and Grammy awards, most recently a 2004 Emmy for their writing contributions to Between the Lions.
Mississippi Public Broadcasting (MPB) operates an eight-station public television network, an eight-station public radio network, and the Radio Reading Service of Mississippi. MPB serves all 82 counties of the state of Mississippi providing quality instructional and public programming. Since its first broadcast in 1970, MPB has won over 350 awards for its local productions including numerous regional Emmys for early childhood instructional programs, and a national Emmy and Parentsω Choice Award for Ticktock Minutes.
*The National Reporting System is an annual assessment of progress made by Head Start students.
The contents of this release were supported under the Ready To Learn Television Program, P/R Award Number R295A00002, as administered by the Office of Innovation and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education. However, the contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.
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