In some areas served by WGVU, the dropout rate exceeds 25%. The Alliance for Excellent Education estimates that high school dropouts from just one year cost the U.S. $329 billion in lost wages, taxes and productivity. Dropouts are more likely to be incarcerated, to rely on public programs and social services and to go without health insurance. Despite these facts, area educators are working hard to help all students graduate.
This WGVU Public Media project uses on-air messages, programming and community events to increase the awareness of the causes and ramifications of a high dropout rate, to mobilize community members to actively support at-risk students and to promote or provide pathways to existing community resources.back to top
Combining dynamic and engaging instructional content with professional development support, PBS LearningMedia empowers educators to create media-rich curriculum lessons that meet the needs of 21st century learners. Through PBS LearningMedia, teachers can:
Today, nearly half of America's children are not prepared to succeed when they enter kindergarten. Research shows that children living in poverty enter kindergarten at an especially high disadvantage, particularly in literacy skills. The 1995 Hart Risley study found that by kindergarten, a child in poverty has heard only 5,000 distinct words, whereas a child from a professional family has heard 20,000 words. The effect of this deficit continues as a child progresses through elementary school â€“ studies show that if a child is not reading on grade level by the 4th grade, he or she will never catch up. Furthermore, 4th grade literacy rates are directly tied to high school dropout rates, which are the most cited predictors of crime, low income, and reliance on social services.
To address this national problem, PBS partnered with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to launch PBS KIDS Raising Readers, a national initiative that surrounds children ages 2 to 8 with research-based literacy content, with a special focus on children living in poverty. PBS KIDS Raising Readers aims to build literacy skills by surrounding kids with multimedia content, while simultaneously providing resources and training for teachers to support their students' learning. A 2009 study conducted by the Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) and SRI International tested the impact of immersing children and their teachers in PBS KIDS Raising Readers content. The study found that preschoolers from low-income communities who participated in the PBS KIDS Raising Readers media-rich curriculum outscored their peers who did not participate in the curriculum on all tested measures of early literacy, such as naming letters and knowing their sounds. Furthermore, children who started out with the lowest literacy skills gained the most, learning an average of 7.5 more letters than children in the comparison group. (Education Development Center, Inc. and SRI International, "Summative Evaluation of the Ready to Learn Initiative" 2009)
The impact of PBS KIDS Raising Readers has been enhanced greatly through meaningful national partnerships with organizations such as WIC, the Library of Congress, the National Center for Family Literacy, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies. These relationships have helped increase access to literacy resources in low-income communities nationwide.back to top
SUPER WHY! Reading Camps invite 4 to 6-year old children to transform into Super Readers and practice key literacy skills. Camp activities reinforce knowledge through repetition and multiple modes of learning - art, music, movement, dance, and games - and feature the engaging characters from the series. This multimedia approach has proven success. A study by the Florida Center for Reading Research at Florida State University found that camp attendees who took pre- and post-tests to assess learning gains showed improvement at the 95% significance level in their literacy skills.back to top
Today, a significant number of 4th graders in the U.S. are behind in reading. To combat this "4th grade slump," the MARTHA SPEAKS Reading Buddies program was created for implementation in elementary schools. The program pairs 4th and 5th graders with kindergartners to help both the younger and older students build vocabulary and comprehension skills. Studies found that the program had a positive impact on fluency, vocabulary development, comprehension and written expression, as well as children's enthusiasm for reading. (Silverman, Rebecca, University of Maryland, "WGBH Martha Speaks Outreach Evaluation" 2009)back to top
The PBS KIDS GO! Writers Contest is a national-local contest that encourages children in kindergarten through 3rd grade in communities across the country to create their own illustrated stories. The contest launched in 2010 as part of the PBS KIDS Raising Readers initiative. From over 25,000 entries, twelve children were selected as national winners of the 2010 contest by a panel of America's foremost children's authors, illustrators and content experts.back to top
WGVU's Cool Teacher Contest is designed to recognize outstanding teachers in West and Southwest Michigan and the important role they play in the lives of their students.
The WGVU Cool Teacher Award is a special event for grades K-8 students and teachers. Students nominate their teacher for this award by writing to WGVU and telling us why they think their teacher is "Cool." WGVU selects three winning teachers each month (September - April).
The winning teachers receive a framed Cool Teacher award and the entire class receives a pizza party hosted by WGVU! The winning teachers and their class are promoted on WGVU TV. At the end of the school year, WGVU hosts a special Cool Teacher awards banquet for all the winning teachers, students, parents plus our sponsors.back to top
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