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Three "PBS Kids Raising Readers" Series Win Parents’ Choice Awards

by on April 15, 2009

The full press release follows:


BETWEEN THE LIONS awarded Gold; SUPER WHY and new series MARTHA SPEAKS recognized with Silver Awards from the nation’s oldest nonprofit program created to recognize quality children’s media
April 14, 2009, Arlington, VA — Three PBS KIDS Raising Readers television series, BETWEEN THE LIONS, SUPER WHY and MARTHA SPEAKS, have been honored by the Parents’ Choice Foundation, the nation’s oldest nonprofit guide to quality children’s media and toys, with 2009 Parents’ Choice Awards for excellence in television programming. Overall, PBS received nearly double the awards given to any other children’s media outlet. BETWEEN THE LIONS received a Gold Award and SUPER WHY and new series MARTHA SPEAKS received Silver Awards in the prestigious annual awards recognition program. Established in 1978, the Parents’ Choice Awards honor the best material for children, including books, toys, music and storytelling, magazines, software, videogames, television and websites.

PBS KIDS Raising Readers uses the power of public educational media content to teach reading skills to children ages 2 to 8, especially those from low-income families. The initiative encourages parents and caregivers to take actions that will help children acquire critical reading skills and features a community engagement component designed to connect with low-income families in 20 markets. PBS KIDS Raising Readers is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) through the U.S. Department of Education’s Ready to Learn grant.

“We are extremely pleased that three PBS KIDS Raising Readers television series have been recognized by this prestigious organization, including two of our newest series,” said PBS Senior Vice President of Education Rob Lippincott. “This is especially significant since the Parents’ Choice panel of judges includes key audiences for PBS KIDS Raising Readers, including educators, librarians, parents and kids themselves.”

As part of the PBS KIDS Raising Readers initiative, BETWEEN THE LIONS, MARTHA SPEAKS and SUPER WHY are produced using the literacy building blocks recommended by the National Reading Panel of 2000.

BETWEEN THE LIONS is about a family of lions, Theo, Cleo, Lionel, and Leona, who run a magical library where characters pop out of books, vowels sing, and words take on a life of their own. The series, designed for children ages 4-7, combines puppetry, animation, and live action to help young children learn to read. The series premiered in 2000 and is produced by WGBH Boston, Sirius Thinking, Ltd., and Mississippi Public Broadcasting.

“We are so pleased to receive this award, because it signifies the value parents place on our commitment to helping kids learn and love to read,” said Brigid Sullivan, WGBH’s Vice President for Children’s Programming. “It is gratifying to know that one of our flagship series continues to stand out and resonate in the landscape of children’s programming.”

Based on the popular children’s book series, MARTHA SPEAKS is an animated show designed for 4-7 year-olds that follows the humorous adventures of Martha, a loveable dog who learns to speak after eating a bowl of alphabet soup. The series premiered in September 2008 and is produced by WGBH and Studio B Productions.

“Vocabulary is one of the five essential elements critical to reading acquisition and a key predictor of reading success,” said Carol Greenwald, WGBH senior executive producer. “What better way to reinforce kids’ knowledge of words than with a talking dog through the context of great stories.”

SUPER WHY is an animated preschool series that offers interactive storybook adventures, featuring a team of superhero characters with literacy-based powers, who jump into books to look for answers to everyday problems. Produced by Out of the Blue Productions, the series is designed for 3-6 year-olds and is in its second season on PBS KIDS. This announcement marks SUPER WHY’s second Silver Parents Choice Award.

“We created SUPER WHY to empower kids to read – and motivate them to develop a lifelong love of books – through fun, interactive storybook adventures,” said Angela C. Santomero, Creator and Executive Producer of the series. “It means a great deal to have the Parents’ Choice Awards affirm – for the second time in just under two years – the feedback we’ve been hearing from parents and kids.”

PBS received a total of fifteen awards including three Gold Awards (out of the four that were given); 6 Silver Awards and six Recommended Seals. In addition to BETWEEN THE LIONS, PBS received Gold Awards for AFRICAN AMERICAN LIVES 2 and NATURE: THE WOLF THAT CHANGED AMERICA. SUPER WHY and MARTHA SPEAKS were joined in the Silver Award category by DESIGN SQUAD; FETCH! WITH RUFF RUFFMAN; NATURE CRASH: A TALE OF TWO SPECIES; and WORD GIRL. Programs receiving Recommended Seals include ARTHUR; CYBERCHASE; NATURE; NATURE: AMERICAN EAGLE; NATURE: CLEVER MONKEYS; and SID THE SCIENCE KID.

For more information about PBS KIDS Raising Readers and itscontent, go to www.readytolearnreading.org.

About The Ready To Learn Grant
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, PBS and The Ready To Learn Partnership, in a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Education, have joined together under the Ready To Learn grant for an innovative, five-year project consisting of two programming awards (CPB/PBS and WTTW/The Ready to Learn Partnership) and one outreach award (CPB/PBS) designed to locate and connect with kids from low-income families in 20 target markets.

PBS KIDS, for preschoolers, and PBS KIDS GO!, for early elementary school kids, offer all children – from every walk of life – the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, online and outreach programs. With positive character role models and content designed to nurture a child’s total well-being, PBS’s online and community resources – including PBS KIDS online (pbskids.org), PBS KIDS GO! online (pbskidsgo.org), PBS Parents (pbsparents.org), PBS Teachers (pbsteachers.org), PBS KIDS Raising Readers and literacy events across the country – leverage the full spectrum of media, technology and community to build knowledge, critical thinking, imagination and curiosity. Empowering children for success in school and in life, only PBS KIDS and PBS KIDS GO! have earned the unanimous endorsement of parents, children, industry leaders and teachers. PBS is a nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation’s 356 public television stations, serving more than 115 million people on-air and online each month.

About CPB
CPB, a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1000 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television, and related on-line services.

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