KLRU Selected to Support Early Learning with New Digital Content

KLRU and four other public television stations will train teachers and families to use educational content developed through the Ready To Learn Initiative

KLRU is one of five stations partnering with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and PBS KIDS to provide educational multimedia content to low-income communities.  The station will receive $109,318 from CPB to test the effectiveness of digital content developed through Ready To Learn (RTL), a cooperative agreement funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement, to test the effectiveness of digital content developed through the program in supporting the development of early math and literacy skills for children ages 2-8 in low-income families.

Over the next year, KLRU will provide RTL content and resources at two sites in the community: SafePlace, which provides residential services to victims of family violence, and Foundation Communities, which offers housing and family-centered educational services to low-income families. The station will train highly qualified educators/education service providers to use RTL content so they can support the children and families who use the facilities at SafePlace and Foundation Communities. Through family-focused community events, KLRU will also demonstrate RTL to other community educators/education service providers, children, and parents/caregivers in the Austin area.

“The Corporation for Public Broadcasting has set the standard for investment in the future of our young learners,” said Bill Stotesbery, KLRU CEO and General Manager. “Through initiatives such as this CPB is continuing its leadership into the digital world, and KLRU is proud to be at the forefront of this technology. We’re excited to get to partner with SafePlace and Foundation Communities but also to provide these tools for learning to our entire community.”

Of the more than 25 million American children under the age of six, 46 percent live in low-income households.  Research shows that these children most often struggle with early math and literacy skills that could lead to them falling behind in school.  Working together under the RTL program, CPB, PBS KIDS, KLRU and other public television stations nationwide are supporting the development of dynamic new content – including television series, interactive games, mobile apps and hands-on activities – that encourages learning and gives children an equal opportunity to succeed in school.

“As America’s largest classroom, public media is an important contributor to our country’s ongoing effort to provide children, no matter what their background, with the opportunity to enter the classroom with a strong foundation in math and literacy,” said Debra Sanchez, senior vice president of education and children’s content at CPB.  “This latest Ready To Learn Initiative builds on public media’s history in education and our ability to engage with local communities to ensure that our content provides effective educational experiences for children, teachers and families.”

Additional demonstration stations include:  Nashville Public Television, Louisiana Public Broadcasting, New Mexico PBS and PBS SoCal.

These stations will build on best practices developed by an initial group of 11 public television stations that, over the last year, pioneered the introduction of interactive math and literacy content and games for children with low-income backgrounds.  Results from those initial 11 demonstration sites, together with these five new stations, will provide a the Ready To Learn program with a better understanding of how public media stations can collaborate more effectively with local educators, parents, caregivers and community partners to advance children’s learning.

”PBS KIDS is committed to using the power of media to encourage our nation’s youngest citizens to explore and learn about the world around them, and through the Ready To Learn Initiative, we are building on this effort by developing and distributing content across platforms to help support early math and literacy learning,” said Lesli Rotenberg, General Manager, Children’s Programming, PBS. “PBS stations are vital partners in this, as they work in their local communities to provide PBS KIDS’ educational and engaging content to families who need it most.”

Lead outreach partners in this CPB-PBS Ready To Learn Initiative, including the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) and the Collaborative for Building After-School Systems (CBASS), will provide technical assistance to the five demonstration sites as they begin using PBS KIDS resources in out-of-school learning settings, which boosts learning time for children who need it most.

Ready To Learn, funded by Congress and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement, supports the development of innovative educational television and digital media targeted at preschool and early elementary school children and their families. Its goal is to promote early learning and school readiness, with a particular interest in reaching low-income children.

CPB and PBS received funding from Ready To Learn in 2010 to focus on math, continue early literacy projects and develop innovative new teaching tools over a five-year period.  CPB and PBS were the recipients of previous five-year Ready To Learn funding in 2005 to develop children’s programming with an emphasis on early literacy skills.  Research and findings conducted on the content created under this program are available here.

The demonstration sites’ projects are partially funded by the U.S. Department of Education.   Stations will leverage these funds for Ready To Learn work in their communities through in-kind donations and support from local and regional organizations.


About KLRU-TV, Austin PBS
KLRU-TV, Austin PBS, presents quality multimedia content that engages people in the thoughtful exchange of ideas, the expression of the arts, and enjoyable lifelong learning opportunities, resulting in a more vibrant community and a higher quality of life. In addition to providing locally produced and quality national television programming, KLRU is also a non-profit organization helping to build a stronger community through educational workshops, community engagement projects and public events. Known as the producing station of the longest-running live music television show AUSTIN CITY LIMITS, KLRU has also worked on several other national productions including OVERHEAD WITH EVAN SMITH and documentaries like CITIZEN ARCHITECT and LAST BEST HOPE. Get more information about KLRU at klru.org.

About CPB
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,300 locally-owned and -operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services.

PBS KIDS, the number one educational media brand for kids, offers all children the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, online, mobile and community-based programs. Kidscreen- and Webby-award winning pbskids.org provides engaging interactive content, including the PBS KIDS video player, now offering free streaming video accessible on computer- and mobile-device-based browsers. For more information on specific PBS KIDS content supporting literacy, science, math and more, visit pbs.org/pressroom, or follow PBS KIDS on Twitter and Facebook.

About The Ready To Learn Initiative
The Ready To Learn Initiative is a cooperative agreement funded and managed by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement.  It supports the development of innovative educational television and digital media targeted at preschool and early elementary school children and their families. Its general goal is to promote early learning and school readiness, with a particular interest in reaching low-income children. In addition to creating television and other media products, the program supports activities intended to promote national distribution of the programming, effective educational uses of the programming, community-based outreach, and research on educational effectiveness.