Skip to main content
PBS Teams With Target Stores To Launch National Children's Literacy Campaign Led By Laura Bush and Levar Burton
Email share


Alexandria, VA, and Minneapolis, MN -- October 12, 2002 -- PBS today announced a major partnership with Target Stores to launch an unprecedented public service campaign to promote children's literacy. In this effort, the PBS KIDS® Share a Story initiative, sponsored by Target, will use on-air and online programming, along with the unparalleled resources of PBS and local public television stations across the country. PBS KIDS Share a Story will inspire adults to help millions of children develop language and literacy skills through daily activities, including book reading, storytelling, rhyming and singing.

Laura Bush serves as Honorary National Chair of the three-year campaign and actor and literacy advocate LeVar Burton is National Chairman. Mrs. Bush has already filmed two PBS KIDS Share a Story public service announcements for use by local PBS stations across the country. Mr. Burton hosts the PBS KIDS program READING RAINBOW, which has won 18 Emmy Awards for its innovative approach to reading.

PBS KIDS Share a Story incorporates current research on the broad impact of language on early literacy development. The campaign will explore how reading books, telling stories, and singing songs develop children's vocabulary, comprehension, phonological awareness, and knowledge of narrative. It will enable virtually any family member or caregiver to help a child, regardless of their own literacy level or access to books. It will also empower adults whose first language is not English to share stories in their own words, as research shows that a strong base in any language provides the foundation for reading success.

"PBS KIDS Share a Story is a bold extension of PBS and our local stations' education mission," said Pat Mitchell, president and CEO of PBS. "With an unparalleled network of local stations, partners and resources, this ground-breaking initiative is uniquely positioned to reach millions through television, the Internet, schools, and libraries. With the generous support of Target Stores, we are ready to turn reading research into results for America's children."

This fall, Target Stores launched a national initiative entitled "Ready. Sit. Read!" to encourage and foster a love of reading among children. The campaign features a big red chair as its symbol and includes sponsorships of book festivals across the country. In addition, Target has partnered with the United States Department of Education to encourage families to make a daily connection with reading. A chief component of "Ready. Sit. Read!" is sponsorship of the PBS KIDS Share a Story campaign.

"The PBS KIDS Share a Story campaign is a perfect match with our "Ready. Sit. Read!" initiative devoted to encouraging guests and their children to develop a love of reading," said Jean Knutson, group manager, community relations, Target Stores. "This partnership will support our commitment to meeting community needs and providing tools to help our guests make a daily connection with reading."

"Today, public broadcasters begin to change the way America views learning to read," said LeVar Burton. "Experts have long recognized the link between a child's exposure to language and his or her eventual reading success. But many adults are unaware of the rewards of nourishing a child's brain with words, or how easy it can be. American families are about to learn, many for the first time, how any caring adult, regardless of wealth or education, can help raise a child's reading achievement. We will engage parents and caregivers in simple, daily activities, like sharing stories, which teach children important lessons about words and how we use them."

PBS KIDS Share a Story aims to:

  • "Promote the benefits of language-based activities: reading, storytelling, singing and rhyming.
  • "Raise awareness of how early learning experiences can lead to school success.
  • "Promote ways that sharing stories strengthen family bonds.
  • "Offer tools and grassroots events to encourage more adults to "share a story."
  • "Collaborate with national and community-based partners to broaden outreach.

PBS KIDS Share a Story will deliver its messages through multiple methods:

  • "Local PBS stations will offer workshops, events, books, and other free resources.
  • "PBS will broadcast PBS KIDS Share a Story public service messages via its local stations.
  • "PBS will host a PBS KIDS Share a Story Web site ( offering resources, tools, and tips for parents, caregivers and kids.
  • "PBS will support the initiative with an integrated advertising and promotion campaign, including print media.
  • "PBS KIDS programs will feature PBS KIDS Share a Story messages.
  • "Target Stores will raise awareness of the importance of reading through advertising, events, schools and in-store locations across the country.
  • "More than two dozen Members of Congress are promoting the importance of daily reading to children on their own local PBS stations. Other celebrities and role models will also encourage adults to share a story with a child.
  • "Local and national partnering organizations will echo the messages in their communities and constituencies.

The more than 140 local PBS stations participating in the PBS Ready To Learn service will form the grassroots infrastructure of the campaign. These stations will offer community events, workshops, books, and other resources that guide parents and caregivers to literacy-building activities. Ready To Learn is funded by the U.S. Department of Education to promote early learning through the power of public television.

PBS, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, is a private, nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation's 349 public television stations. Serving nearly 100 million people each week, PBS enriches the lives of all Americans through quality programs and education services on noncommercial television, the Internet and other media. More information about PBS is available at, the leading dot-org Web site on the Internet.

Minneapolis-based Target Stores serves guests at 1,148 stores in 47 states nationwide by delivering today's best retail trends at affordable prices. Whether visiting a Target store or shopping online at, guests enjoy a fun and convenient shopping experience with access to thousands of unique and highly differentiated items. Target Stores, along with its parent company Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT), gives back more than $2 million a week to its local communities through grants and special programs. Since opening its first store in 1962, Target has partnered with nonprofit organizations, guests and team members to help meet community needs.


# # #


Kevin Dando, PBS

Douglas Kline, Target Stores