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PBS gets kids ready to learn

There are two upcoming literacy events. One on Saturday, June 4, at the Howe Albany Library and one on Saturday, June 11, at the Arbor Hill Public Library. Both of these events will involve families participating in workshops together and an appearance by Clifford the Big Red Dog.

The program also focuses on giving parents the educational resources they can use in the home with their children.

Charleen Shanin, the center services director for the Albany Community Action Partnership who runs Head Start programs in four classrooms in Cohoes and one in Watervliet, said parents are supplied with books at the events.

"Each parent not only goes home with literature about a program from WMHT, they get details about children's programs and themes," she said. "Every family gets a book that is age-appropriate for the child to add to his or her library."

Jetter said PBS also capitalizes on the amount of television children do watch. With the current round of funding coming from the federal government to be used to emphasize the education of math and science, PBS has television programs curtailing to them. Shows such as "Cat in the Hat" and "Sid the Science Kid" can teach math, science and even helps develop a child's literacy.

"Really it is a question of using the science content while the literacy is natural and just occurs," she said. "If you have really interesting content that is engaging and well-grounded in terms of age and appropriate curriculum, kids will absorb it like sponges."

Melissa Hasty, the Albany School District Early Childhood Coordinator, said many of the Ready to Learn workshops provided by WMHT helps bring children and parents together in the learning process and extends the literacy into the homes.

"It's a continuation of what we do during the day," she said. "And it brings in parents to see that. It helps build a conversation and literacy in kids."

Hasty said the PBS Web site is filled will engaging and age appropriate learning material, providing a hands-on learning experience and games for children. The 2005-2010 study showed that 70 percent of the children who visit the Web site return to use it again.

"The program really gets to the heard of learning," Jetter said. "This is all really fun stuff."

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