KNME, Channel 5, in conjunction with PBS, recently launched its Raising Readers initiative, a yearlong literacy campaign designed to help preschool children develop reading and literacy skills.

KNME will expose parents and caregivers to the "Raising Readers – Anytime is Learning Time" message. Their website features reading tips and activities as well as ways to use the popular programming of "Super Why" and "Martha Speaks" to raise reading readiness.

"Super Why" was created to help children ages 3-6 learn to read through interactive story adventures. SW features a team of literacy-powered super heroes: Alpha Pig, with Alphabet Power; Wonder Red, with Word Power; Princess Presto, with Spelling Power; and Super Why, with the Power to Read.

SW focuses on reading fundamentals. A comprehensive literacy curriculum incorporates key skills identified by the National Reading Panel: letter identification, word decoding, phonemic awareness, word encoding and phonics and reading comprehension.

Super Why Reading Camps are interactive learning adventures that show children the power of reading and guide them as they play with letters, sounds, and words.

"Martha Speaks" is an animated TV series based on the best-selling children's book series by Susan Meddaugh. The series follows the adventures of Martha, a loveable dog whose appetite for alphabet soup gives her the ability to speak. The educational goal of the series is to bolster the vocabulary of 4 to 7-year-olds within the context of great stories in engaging, comical ways. Being a talking dog, Martha lives in a vocabulary-rich environment.

Using the vocabulary focus of "Martha Speaks," this project pairs fourth or fifth grade students with kindergarten students to help both younger and older students build vocabulary and comprehension skills.
KNME is developing a mass marketing campaign through on-air spots, radio spots, advertising, press and a website with resources and information.

Additionally, KNME plans to organize several special events and work with community partners to develop community engagement activities. The focus of the campaign is children ages 2 to 8, with a special focus on children living in poverty.

The First Lady of Albuquerque, Maria Berry, is spokesperson for the campaign, which is funded by St. Joseph Community Health.

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Media Contact: Carolyn Gonzales (505) 277-5920; e-mail: cgonzal@unm.edu