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WSIU, Herrin Schools to Host Summer Reading Program Celebration

Media Advisory
For Saturday, July 17, 2010

Contact: Beth Spezia, WSIU educational outreach coordinator, (618) 453-5595, beth.spezia@wsiu.org

Carbondale, Ill. – Reporters, photographers, and camera crews are invited to a special event this weekend celebrating the conclusion of Herrin, Illinois School District's Summer Reading Program. The celebration will be held this Saturday, July 17 beginning at 11am at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School, 316 West Monroe in Herrin.

It is free and open to the public

Kids will celebrate their accomplishments during the summer reading program with word games, PBS KIDS giveaways, and a special visit by PBS KIDS character Leona from Between the Lions. Each child will receive a certificate of achievement for his or her participation. WSIU's colorful PBS KIDS Literacy Van, made possible by John A. Logan College Child Care Resource & Referral, also will be on site.

Approximately 40 students from Herrin schools in kindergarten through the 8th grade participated in Herrin School District's Summer Reading Program, which featured eight weeks of scientifically-based literacy activities for children using three PBS KIDS children's television programs: Martha Speaks, Between the Lions, and The Electric Company.

Lead teacher Jenny Martin used the Martha Speaks Reading Buddy system, which pairs young students (little buddies) with older kids (big buddies) to share books and participate in word games and other reading-based activities designed to strengthen their literacy and social skills. Teachers also used activities from the Between the Lions Designated Reader program and The Electric Company's literacy outreach toolkits.

“The Martha Speaks Reading Buddy Program pairs younger elementary students with older elementary students to explore and improve their vocabulary and, more importantly, cultivates their love of books and reading,” says Cheryl Patterson-Dryer, Principal of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School. “This reading program has created a level of support among the students, excitement, and enthusiasm, not only within the program itself, but also within their home environments.”

WSIU's participation in the Summer Reading Program is an extension of their role as a PBS KIDS Raising Readers station. PBS KIDS Raising Readers is a national initiative using the power of media to help improve the reading skills of young children, with an emphasis on children from low-income families. The effort is funded by a Ready To Learn grant from the U.S. Department of Education, part of a cooperative agreement with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), PBS and The Ready To Learn Partnership.

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