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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEA Endorses PBS's 'Between the Lions'
Program Benefits Both Children and Teachers
Washington, D.C. -- For the first time in more than a decade, the nation's largest teachers' organization has endorsed an ongoing television program.
Between the Lions, produced by WGBH in Boston and Sirius Thinking, Ltd. of New York, is shown on Public Broadcasting System (PBS) stations across the country. The program made its debut in April 2000 and has received an enthusiastic nod from the National Education Association (NEA).
NEA President Bob Chase said, "This extraordinary program is a bonus for children and teachers. Not only will the series help beginning readers learn key skills that are essential to learning to read, the Between the Lions series and web site provide teachers, parents, and caregivers top-notch lessons that support learning (www.pbskids.org/lions).
"It's rare that the NEA recommends TV," continued Chase, "and even rarer for us to wholeheartedly promote a program. But Between the Lions breaks the mold. It's quality television that supports quality teaching."
Chase said that the new program is "an ideal adjunct" to the Association's high priority literacy initiative, Reading Matters, which includes NEA's Read Across America, an annual reading celebration held on March 2. This year's event engaged more than 25 million children and adults across the nation in a variety of activities aimed at encouraging reading. (For more information, go to www.nea.org/readacross/.)
Recently cited for Outstanding Achievement in Children's Programming by the Television Critics Association, Between the Lions is the first television series to offer educationally sound reading instruction that combines phonics and whole language. A study of the first four weeks of the series, conducted by the University of Kansas, found that the program significantly improves reading skills.
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