WETA's Learning Media department has produced many television shows and videos that explore how kids read and learn, why so many struggle and what we can do to help.
The programs described below can be ordered on DVD and VHS from the LearningStore, the online store that helps support WETA's national education projects.
A Tale of Two Schools
Tavares Gross is just starting first grade - but he's already way behind. He doesn't know his letters. He doesn't even know what a book is for. And Tavares is not alone. What does it really take to turn our schools around? In this PBS special, Morgan Freeman tells the intimate story of a tumultuous year at two vulnerable schools.
Last One Picked, First One Picked On
Every child has experienced embarrassment or rejection in social situations. But kids with learning disabilities are often isolated and rejected, and sometimes have a particularly hard time making and keeping friends. Host Richard Lavoie explains why this happens - and what parents or teachers can do to help children improve their social skills.
Look What You've Done!
"Look what you've done!" Whether they've failed a spelling test or dropped an easy fly, kids with learning disabilities hear those words far too often. It's no wonder we sometimes overlook the "everyday courage" of our children. This program is hosted by Dr. Robert Brooks of the Harvard Medical School.
Reading Rockets: A Chance to Read
Have you ever heard of “assumicide”? For generations, many people have assumed that children with disabilities will never learn to read – so they never give them a chance. Hosted by Molly Ringwald, this PBS program looks at the reading challenges facing kids with disabilities, and what schools across the country are doing to help them find success.
Reading Rockets: Becoming Bilingual
Acclaimed actress Rita Moreno hosts this 30-minute PBS program that examines the challenges of teaching children to read in a new language. The show visits six cities across the country to learn about the different ways schools are working to create bilingual readers.
Reading Rockets: Empowering Parents
If you have a child who is a struggling reader, your family is not alone. Learning to read is a challenge for almost 40 percent of kids, and an even bigger challenge for their parents. This PBS special, hosted by Al Roker, visits schools to help families get their kids the help and support they need to succeed at reading.
Reading Rockets: Fluent Reading
This third program in the Reading Rockets: Launching Young Readers series explores the ability to decode quickly and achieve fluency. The program also demonstrates how early testing and intervention can help struggling readers. Features host Deborah Norville and children's book author and illustrator Kate Duke (Aunt Isabel Tells a Good One).
Reading Rockets: Reading and the Brain
What happens when neuroscience meets Dr. Seuss? This PBS show explores how brain scientists are working to help struggling readers. Henry Winkler - celebrated actor, author, producer, and director - hosts Reading and the Brain and brings with him his own experiences with dyslexia.
Reading Rockets: Reading for Meaning
This fifth program in the Reading Rockets: Launching Young Readers series highlights effective strategies to help kids understand – and care about – what they read, the ultimate goal of learning how to read. Features host Frank McCourt and children's book author Walter Dean Myers (Harlem).
Reading Rockets: Sounds and Symbols
This second program in the Reading Rockets: Launching Young Readers series focuses on how children learn the relationship between sounds, letters, and words as an initial step before being able to decode the printed word. Features host Annette Bening and children's book author and illustrator Norman Bridwell (Clifford the Big Red Dog).
Reading Rockets: The Roots of Reading
This first program in the Reading Rockets: Launching Young Readers series looks at the earliest stages of literacy. The program examines how parents, childcare providers, and kindergarten teachers can get children started on the road to literacy. Features host Fred Rogers and children's book author and illustrator Rosemary Wells.
Reading Rockets: Writing and Spelling
This fourth program in the Reading Rockets: Launching Young Readers series examines the connection between reading and writing and between spelling and composition. The program features successful methods for encouraging children to write and build their vocabularies. Features host Vivica A. Fox and children's book author and illustrator William Joyce (George Shrinks).
This PBS show is an empowering, upbeat, and totally hip show for kids ages 7-12 years old. The program features ordinary kids who struggle with reading. Each of them has found a way not to give up and to give reading another chance. Hosted by Nick Spano.
Toddling Toward Reading
We once thought a child's education started in kindergarten — but that could be years too late. Hosted by Reba McEntire, Toddling Toward Reading examines what it takes to give our preschoolers the early literacy skills they need to become successful readers. In Texas, Illinois, Georgia, and Washington, D.C., we'll meet the dedicated parents, teachers, and researchers who are discovering how to give our children a good start on a great future.
When the Chips Are Down... with Richard Lavoie
Do you ever have days when the kids seem totally out of control? Do you find yourself falling into the same pointless arguments with your students or your children? Host Richard Lavoie, nationally known expert on learning disabilities, offers practical advice on dealing with behavioral problems quickly and effectively.