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WSIU, Giant City School To Host "Martha Speaks Reading Buddies" Celebration

Media Advisory
For Tomorrow, May 18, 2011 - 8:30-10:30am

Contact: Beth Spezia, WSIU Outreach Coordinator, (618) 453-5595,

Carbondale, Ill. - Reporters, photographers, and camera crews are invited to cover a special literacy event to be held on Wednesday, May 18 from 8:30-10:30am at Giant City School, located at 1062 Boskydell Road in Carbondale. The celebration marks the conclusion of the school's participation in the “Martha Speaks Reading Buddies Program,” an eight-week, scientifically-based literacy research program designed to strengthen vocabulary and social skills, and to instill a love of reading in young children.

Based on the PBS KIDS series of the same name, the Martha Speaks Reading Buddies Program pairs kindergarten students (little buddies) with third- and fourth-grade readers (big buddies) to share books and participate in word games and other reading-based activities.

WSIU, Giant City School, the Humane Society of Southern Illinois, and the Southern Illinois Collegiate Common Market (SICCM) Veterinary Technology Program are conducting animal care presentations and reading demonstrations at the May 18 event. Students will present the Raising Readers Theater's premier performance of “Perfectly Martha.”

Students of teachers Kristi Britton, Terry Montgomery, Lori Opp, and Rebecca Apgar will be recognized for their participation in the Martha Speaks Reading Buddies Program. The children also will bring donations for the Humane Society of Southern Illinois.

PBS KIDS character Martha of the popular children's television series also will make a special appearance. "Martha Speaks" airs on WSIU-TV 8/WUSI-TV 16 on weekdays at 6:30am and 2:30pm and on Saturdays at 8:30am.

* Hands-on animal care demonstration by the Humane Society of Southern Illinois
* First aid exercise for kids using stuffed animals - led by veterinary tech students
* Visit from special guest Martha the Dog from the PBS KIDS program Martha Speaks (costume character)
* Presentations by the students about their new vocabulary skills
* Presentation of certificates of completion to Reading Buddies participants
* "Perfectly Martha" Raising Readers Theater Performance

Interview Opportunities
* Teachers Kristi Britton, Terry Montgomery, Lori Opp, and Rebecca Apgar, (618) 457-5391
* Mrs. Sharon Mayes, Superintendent, Giant City School District, (618) 457-5391
* Casey Parker, Board of Directors, Humane Society of Southern Illinois,
* LeeAnn Greenwell, DVM, Director, SICCM Veterinary Technology Program, (618) 942-6902
* Beth Spezia, Educational Outreach Coordinator, WSIU Public Broadcasting, (618) 453-5595

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