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Between the Lions

Author Koren Stembridge
Air Date 9/22/2000

Between the Lions Transcript

Here’s Koren Stembridge on the Internet.

This year, graduates of Sesame Street were introduced to a new show designed specifically for them – it’s called Between the Lions. The show features – you guessed it – a family of lions who are definitely the coolest librarians around! Theo, Cleo, Lionel, and Liona are the hosts in a library where stories come alive through the magic of puppetry, animation, and live action.

Between the Lions, produced by WGHB and Sirius Thinking for PBS, is funded in part by a Ready to Learn grant from the Department of Education. The new series, four years in the making, blends phonics with whole language to create a literacy training program for children ages 4-7.

An integral part of that training program is a companion website that reinforces the concepts covered by the TV program. Each week, the site features a new “Adventure,” or series of activities. A child will read a story, listen to songs, or watch video clips, and play a dozen different language games designed to compliment the week’s lesson. And the games are really fun! I particularly enjoyed Clucky’s Chicken Stacker – you choose the words that use the correct vowel sound, and watch the hens get stacked into a pile. Or step up to the tee and help golfer “Tiger Words” pick the correct letters to complete a mystery word.

The Between the Lions website is a real find for parents who are searching for quality, educational Internet sites, but an interested parent should really learn to navigate the site prior to introducing it to their child. Along with the bountiful parent resources, you will find a suggestion to make sure your computer has the most recent version of Shockwave, a free program you will need to download in order to play games online. I tried to make due with a previous version of Shockwave and experienced several system crashes. But once I upgraded, the site worked beautifully.

The creators of the website also recognize that we do not always have access to a computer. There is a fantastic list of “Literacy Tips for the 10 Minute Parent” that encourages hundreds of ways we can introduce creative imaginative play into our families’ everyday routines. Also available are printable activities. These are wonderful for use in classrooms, or to take in the car on the long ride to grandma’s.

Recent studies tell us that over 40% of all fourth graders in this country cannot read at grade-level. Between the Lions, the television show and the website, give kids a literacy boost that is bound to ensure they will never be included in that statistic.

Between the Lions www.pbs.org/lions

Posted in Television