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PBS TeacherLine® Offers Educators Online Courses
and Teaching Resources to Improve Reading
Instruction at Every Level

PBS TeacherLine provides ‘Developing Active Reading With Effective Questions’ and other
practical, research-based instructional strategies and best practices online

ARLINGTON, Va. (May 6, 2008) – As the gateway to all other knowledge, reading must be taught early in life and repeatedly reinforced throughout a student’s schooling. Many American students still struggle through school because they have not mastered essential reading skills. Well-prepared teachers are critical to improving reading instruction and student achievement.

To help educators enhance their knowledge and instructional skills in reading, PBS TeacherLine®, the premier provider of online professional development courses for educators, offers more than 35 online courses in reading and language arts. Course topics cover phonemic awareness, reading and writing across the curriculum, spelling, vocabulary, fluency, comprehension and more for students in pre-Kindergarten through grade 12.

Through scientifically based research and funding from the Ready to Teach program at the U.S. Department of Education, PBS TeacherLine has developed expertise in teacher professional development in core curriculum areas and technology integration. Based on its years of experience and work with leading education organizations, PBS TeacherLine offers standards-based, graduate-level online courses and teaching resources through its Web site at www.pbs.org/teacherline and in conjunction with local PBS member stations across the country.

One of the instructional strategies that PBS TeacherLine recommends as key to developing reading comprehension is to engage students in discussions before, during and after reading by asking effective questions. Some suggestions include:

Before reading, ask students:
  • What can you predict about the story from the front and back cover of the book?
  • What does the title tell you about the story?
  • Who or what do you predict this story will be about? Why?
After reading the first chapter or part, ask students:
  • Were you right about your predictions? How do you know?
  • What has the author told you about the main character?
  • What do you think the problem or conflict will be in the story?
During the reading, ask students:
  • What can we learn about the characters from what they say and do?
  • What problem(s) does the character have to solve?
  • Does the author make you want to keep reading? If so, how?
After reading, ask students:
  • What could be an alternative ending for this story?
  • Why do you think the author chose this genre to tell the story?
  • How did the author use imagery to tell the story?
These questions can be adapted for most reading and grade levels. For more questions, go to www.pbs.org/teachers/resourceroundups/ and select “Developing Active Reading With Effective Questions.” This instructional resource is available for free online along with other teaching materials, such as “Tips to Evaluate Internet Resources.”

More than 14,000 educators have enrolled in PBS TeacherLine courses in reading and language arts since 2005. Three of the most popular courses in this curriculum area are:
  • Children’s Authors on the Web: Online Sites That Motivate Students to Write
  • Teaching Reading in the Content Areas
  • Teaching Phonemic Awareness and Phonics
Recently, PBS TeacherLine and PBS KIDS teamed up to create the Raising Readers series of courses that focus on early literacy development and preparing preK-2 students for academic success. For more information about PBS TeacherLine, visit www.pbs.org/teacherline. The full catalog of courses in reading and language arts, math, science, instructional technology, and instructional strategies is available online.

About PBS TeacherLine
PBS TeacherLine is committed to helping teachers acquire the skills they need to prepare students for a successful future. PBS TeacherLine provides high-quality, affordable professional development through facilitated, online courses, collaborative learning communities, and exemplary Internet-based resources. Currently, more than 130 courses across multiple subject areas are offered. Teachers can earn continuing education units, professional development points and graduate credits for course completion. The courses have been developed in conjunction with leading education organizations, including Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL), Education Development Center (EDC), Concord Consortium, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and International Society for Technology Education. Created in 2000, PBS TeacherLine is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education for $6,046,811. This represents approximately 85 percent of the total program funding. The remaining 15 percent is funded through in-kind support from PBS and through program income. For more information, visit www.pbs.org/teacherline.

About PBS
PBS, with its 355 member stations, offers all Americans – from every walk of life – the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each week, PBS reaches more than 73 million people and invites them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; hear diverse viewpoints; and take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs have been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS’ premier children’s TV programming and Web site, pbskids.org, are parents’ and teachers’ most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing curiosity and love of learning in children. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet.

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Media contacts:
--Kevin Dando, PBS, 703-739-5073, kdando@pbs.org
--Melinda George, PBS TeacherLine, 703-739-5219, mggeorge@pbs.org
--Charlene Blohm, C. Blohm & Associates, Inc., 608-839-9800, charlene@cblohm.com

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