Goal for Ready to Learn: engage kids and parents

On July 11, PBS begins beaming its long-anticipated Ready to Learn service to 11 pilot stations, embarking on what planners acknowledge will be a bumpy journey toward better TV for early childhood learning. What comes off the bird will essentially be an expanded, repackaged version of the existing children’s service that, with the help of new educational break messages, will offer a learning-friendly environment for kids. Off-air, outreach activities will target the audiences most critical to the task of preparing children for school–parents, teachers and child-care providers. The on-air and off-air prongs of public TV’s Ready to Learn strategy are scaled-back versions of proposals that PBS floated at last year’s annual meeting. The estimated $72 million needed to launch a comprehensive national service has not as yet materialized.