Sunday, September 7, 2003

A Tale of Two Schools

This September PeachStar and GPTV will begin airing A Tale of Two Schools, a PBS special that examines the reading crisis in America today. Narrated by Morgan Freeman, the program tells the story of parents and teachers at Bearden Elementary in Mississippi and Walton Elementary in Texas, two schools combating long histories of poor performance. A Tale of Two Schools was developed in order to demonstrate the notion that "readers are made, not born." Executive Producer Noel Gunther describes the program as "an intimate story about what it really takes to teach a child to read. We spent a year inside these schools and found a story of hope, of faith, and of the power of committed adults to help shape the life of a child."

According to the Reading Rockets Project, the initiative behind the development behind A Tale of Two Schools, 37% of all fourth graders read below the basic level, having difficulty understanding simple story lines or lacking reading skills entirely. Phyllis Hunter, a leader of reading reform in Texas, home to Walton Elementary, has dubbed reading "the new civil right, because children can't access their other rights unless they can read and read well."

Be sure to catch A Tale of Two Schools PeachStar and GPTV. Also, visit the Reading Rockets website for teaching tips, articles by reading experts, daily news about reading, and interviews with prominent children's book authors.