Studies show strength of Ready to Learn literacy initative

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The Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Public Broadcasting Service on Monday (April 4) released a report, “Findings from Ready to Learn: 2005-2010,” (PDF) that distills several research and evaluation studies of the early childhood literacy initiative funded by Congress and the U.S. Department of Education in 1992.

Among the findings:

— PBS shows featuring Ready to Learn concepts motivate children to request trips to bookstores or libraries for books;

— preschool-age children who watch Sesame Street spend more time reading for pleasure in high school, and they get better grades in English, math, and science than kids who don’t;

— when Ready To Learn video, online, and print materials were combined with teacher training, lesson planning, and classroom instruction, kids from low-income backgrounds were able narrow or close the achievement gap with middle-class kids.

As part of its 2005-10 grant award to CPB and PBS, the Education Department required that at least one-fourth of Ready to Learn funding — more than $20 million of $72 million — be devoted to studies and evaluations of its programs.