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SCHOOL'S OUT! CELEBRATE SUMMER LEARNING WITH PBS KIDS® SHARE A STORY

New Online "Beach Bag" of Brain Boosters Shows How


ALEXANDRIA, Va., June 6, 2003 -- Beginning this month, families nationwide can celebrate summer with PBS KIDS® Share a Story -- an initiative to help make language and learning an everyday part of kids' lives. PBS KIDS Share a Story is a national children's literacy campaign sponsored in part by Target Stores. Mrs. Laura Bush is the campaign's Honorary National Chairman and READING RAINBOW host LeVar Burton is National Chairman.

The PBS KIDS Share a Story initiative encourages parents to tell more stories, sing more songs, and have more conversations with their pre-school and school-aged children, to help boost their reading skills. Research shows that these and other fun, free and accessible activities help kids learn more about words to develop key literacy skills. Children also gain key reading abilities by having frequent exposure to words through storytelling, singing, reading, rhyming, pretending and conversations.

Studies have also demonstrated that children's academic gains can be eroded or erased during the summer months, particularly in reading. This troublesome "summer slide" can be slowed or reversed when children are stimulated by literacy-building experiences that keep their minds sharp and their skills fresh.

The PBS KIDS Share a Story summer media campaign is about more than reading. It's about having the fun in the sun, enjoying "summer showers" of words, and sharing the joys of stories throughout the season. For example, parents can share stories about their favorite summers, sing songs while traveling to their vacation destinations, or discuss the meaning of the Fourth of July.

"Summertime is fun time," said LeVar Burton. "But kids need to exercise their brain muscles, too. READING RAINBOW started 20 years ago with the same goal we still have today and share with this campaign - helping children maintain an interest in learning activities during the summer."

Burton added, "The PBS KIDS Share a Story campaign reminds parents to tell stories, sing songs, play games, and talk with kids in entertaining ways -- while teaching about words and how they work. The campaign's Web site is a great resource for parents to get ideas on projects and activities they can do with children during the summer." Burton is promoting the national campaign this month with interviews on radio, television, and in newspapers.

As part of this effort, PBS is directing parents to a new Web site (pbskids.org/shareastory) for an online "Beach Bag" of ideas for summer fun. The PBS KIDS Share a Story Beach Bag is stuffed with online brain boosters that help parents engage kids in games, songs, books, and stories that are perfect for summer. The site offers exclusive weekly stories from PBS KIDS programs, encouraging children to interact with their favorite PBS characters, in a feature called "Share a Story with a PBS KIDS Friend." For school-age children, this activity offers the excitement of creating a story that can be submitted, reviewed and potentially posted next to the story of one of their favorite PBS KIDS friends.

The site also links to tools for telling Summer Stories, Family Stories, and America's Stories (about the Fourth of July) as well as tips offering age-by-age ideas for weaving reading activities into summertime fun. The PBS KIDS Share a Story Web site can be accessed from computers at home and at local libraries and community centers.

When visitors access the PBS KIDS Share a Story Web site, they will also be able to hear the campaign's theme song, composed and performed by Grammy Award-winning artists They Might Be Giants. Written specifically for the PBS KIDS Share a Story campaign, this song teaches both children and adults how stories can be shared in different, non-traditional ways, all of which will help boost kids' literacy skills.

PBS, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, is a private, nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation's 350 public television stations. Serving nearly 100 million people each week, PBS enriches the lives of all Americans through quality programs and education services on noncommercial television, the Internet and other media. More information about PBS is available at pbs.org, the leading dot-org Web site on the Internet.

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Contact:
Kevin Dando
703-739-5073

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