PBS gets kids ready to learn

Educators agree it's important these days to begin teaching children early to increase the chances of reaching high levels of literacy. The Ready to Learn program is looking to help out as it puts an emphasis on math and science.

A recent study by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting showed the effectiveness of the Ready to Learn program from 2005 to 2010. Targeted at children 2 to 8 years old, it shows that, through a push toward more educational programming on television and the Internet, there has been an improvement in literacy in children.

The program is backed by a grant from the federal government in 2005 of $72 million and was awarded to the Public Broadcasting Service and to the Ready to Learn Partnership. Since then, studies have shown the program improves reading skills in children from low-income homes.

Katherine Jetter, vice president of education for WMHT, said that the program is loved by children. With PBS Kids, it is taking advantage of the fact that many children watch television by using the media in a positive way.

It's a powerful way to build a child's vocabulary and have kids ready to learn when they get to kindergarten and start school, she said. "Over the past 20 years with, and even without, grant support, we have been providing these programs and services."

There have been programs that have been headed by WMHT with the Albany City schools working with its pre-kindergarten and Universal Pre-Kindergarten programs. There have been events such as workshops for teachers, parents and kids in schools to get everyone on the same page for learning. Jetter said the station has 75-85 different workshops during the 10 month school year.

"We hope to get everyone together using these resources in 360 degrees of literacy," she said. "We're doing library events and including everyone in the community."

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