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PBS KIDS® JOINS PACIFIC AIR FORCE COMMAND TO PROMOTE LITERACY

PBS KIDS' Arthur® and Clifford® Headline 8-Base "Share A Story" Tour Launching September 25


September 21, 2004, Alexandria, VA - PBS KIDS® has teamed up with the Services Directorate, Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) to support Air Force base educational initiatives by presenting innovative, fun-filled literacy events for children and families stationed in Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, Japan and South Korea. This is the first time PACAF has worked with a television broadcaster to reach out to families with an educational objective.

The events will feature the wealth of resources and quality programming that PBS KIDS has to offer with the "PBS KIDS Share a Story" campaign. "Share a Story" inspires adults to help children develop language and literacy skills through simple everyday activities including storytelling, singing, reading, rhyming, acting and talking.

"We are excited to have PBS KIDS on board for this unique opportunity," said Colonel Frederic Ryder, Director of Services, Headquarters, PACAF. "With a program like this we can reach out to all our families and enrich their learning and life experience during their time in PACAF. The events will also serve to provide a positive experience for family members affected by deployment."

"PBS KIDS is honored to share our commitment to early-childhood education and literacy with the Pacific Air Forces Command," said Charlotte Brantley, Senior Director PBS Ready To Learn. "PBS KIDS is committed to providing the highest quality programming and learning environment for children - at home and abroad - to stimulate their curiosity, encourage interaction and foster their imagination."

At bases in each location, PBS KIDS, along with local member stations in select markets, will host morning and afternoon events with activities incorporating key, core literacy skills while providing an atmosphere of fun and family togetherness. The main attraction at these events will be live character appearances from the popular PBS KIDS' series CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG, from the popular Scholastic Book series by Norman Bridwell, and ARTHUR, based on the best-selling books by Marc Brown, to bring the educational programming and books to life. There will be storytellers reading aloud from Clifford and Arthur books, stories told through PBS KIDS series on TV monitors, and "Share a Story" family activity booklets where children and their parents can create stories together. Each child will receive a photo with a costume character and picture frame as well as a new book. Information on how to share a story with your child and other resources will be available for parents.

Researchers and literacy experts continue to support the fact that simply sharing words with children - whether telling a story, reciting a nursery rhyme or even singing - helps them learn to read by teaching new concepts, making connections between letters and sounds, exposing kids to vocabulary and helping them learn the structure of language and narrative. "PBS KIDS Share a Story" enables any family member or caregiver to help a child, regardless of their own literacy level or access to books. Children who play with poetry, nursery rhymes and songs are learning another fundamental cornerstone of literacy - phonological awareness - the ability to distinguish the sounds of words apart from their meaning (Starting Out Right, 1999).

The following is a list of event dates and locations:
Saturday, September 25 - Eielson AFB, Fairbanks, Alaska
Monday, September 27 - Elmendorf AFB, Anchorage, Alaska
Friday, October 15 - Hickam AFB, Honolulu, Hawaii
Monday, October 18 - Andersen AFB, Yigo, Guam
Wednesday, October 20 - Kadena AB, Naha, Japan
Friday, October 22 - Misawa AB, Misawa, Japan
Monday, October 25 - Yokota AB, Yokota, Japan
Wednesday, October 27 - Osan AB, Seoul, South Korea

PBS KIDS and PBS KIDS GO! are committed to providing the highest quality commercial-free content and learning environment for children across the country. Providing age-appropriate, diverse programming for kids, PBS KIDS and PBS KIDS GO! programs consistently earn more prestigious awards than any other broadcast or cable network. Only PBS KIDS and PBS KIDS GO! have earned the unanimous endorsement of parents, children, industry leaders and teachers. With additional PBS resources to complement its programming, including PBS KIDS online (www.pbskids.org), PBS Parents (www.pbs.org/parents), PBS KIDS Share a Story, TeacherSource and Ready To Learn services, PBS is providing the tools necessary for positive child development. PBS is a nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation's 349 public television stations, serving nearly 90 million people each week and reaching 99% of American homes.

"PBS KIDS Share a Story" is a national literacy campaign designed to inspire adults to help millions of children develop language and literacy skills through daily activities, including book reading, drawing, storytelling, rhyming and singing. Laura Bush serves as Honorary National Chair of the campaign. Actor and literacy advocate LeVar Burton is National Chairman. Mr. Burton hosts the PBS Kids program READING RAINBOW, which has won 20 Emmy® Awards for its innovative approach to reading.

ARTHUR is produced by WGBH Boston and Cookie Jar Entertainment Inc. CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG is produced by Scholastic Productions. More information about these television series and other PBS KIDS series is available at www.pbs.org/pressroom.

As part of the presidential "No Child Left Behind" and First Lady Laura Bush's "Ready to Read, Ready to Learn" initiatives, the Air Force Services Family Member Programs developed the Air Force Read-By-Mail/Book Adventure Summer '04 Program. The program is open to children who are enrolled in kindergarten through eighth grade and are registered at the base-level Youth Program. The Read-By-Mail/Book Adventure Summer '04 Program is a positive way for bases to support recreational reading and scholastic achievement.

-PBS-


CONTACT:
Stephanie Aaronson, PBS Media Relations, 703/739-5074, saaronson@pbs.org
Kim Tavares, PBS Media Relations, 703/739-5011, ktavares@pbs.org


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