Since its premiere on PBS KIDS in 1983, READING RAINBOW has helped children build lasting relationships with books at home and in the classroom. As broadcast rights are set to expire, PBS will no longer feed READING RAINBOW after August 28, 2009, and all broadcast rights will discontinue after that date.
Production ended on READING RAINBOW several years ago and viewership for the show has declined dramatically. Nationally-recognized stories authored by children will be available online between August and December 2009, at which point the READING RAINBOW Web site on pbskids.org will end. The Reading Rainbow Young Writers and Illustrators Contest was just completed with 96 stations participating in local judging and recognition ceremonies.
Still available for the classroom, off-air educational rights remain in effect for a year following the last broadcast of each episode. PBS and member station WNED, producer of READING RAINBOW, are discussing plans to continue the contest on a national level as well as plans to build out a literacy Web site for school age children.
PBS KIDS is committed to leveraging the power of media for literacy education and focusing financial resources on new and current productions. PBS children's media reaches 14 million children on broadcast and 9 million unique visitors per month online with top-rated, award-winning winning series.
Through new series and websites created in alignment with the National Institutes of Health and Department of Education's National Reading Panel of 2000's research assessment on reading instruction (http://www.nationalreadingpanel.org/), several PBS KIDS series are dedicated to fulfilling these research-based reading practices, including SUPER WHY! (http://www.pbskids.org/superwhy) and the all new THE ELECTRIC COMPANY (www.pbskids.org/electriccompany/), among many others.
In addition, two recent studies funded by the Department of Education on SUPER WHY! proved that children, especially those from low-income families, are learning core early literacy skills from the TV series and its educational support materials. For more information about PBS literacy programs, please visit PBSKids.org (http://pbskids.org/read/), PBSParents.org (http://www.pbs.org/parents/readinglanguage/) and PBSTeachers.org (http://www.pbs.org/teachers/readlanguage/) for new and updated resources.