But it gets better. This January, a recharged The Electric Company returns to the lineup at NPT and PBS stations nationwide. Back in 1971, Sesame Workshop launched a literacy revolution with the original The Electric Company, a show that made learning to read cool. Research showed that children in grades 1-4 improved their reading skills after watching The Electric Company. The new show hopes to repeat that success and “Bridge the Literacy Gap”for millions of kids. You can help spread the word about the new show and its literacy goals, and help make them a reality. American Express is offering $1.5 million to support a project based on feedback from the online community — and The Electric Company’s project is up for nomination. In this first round of voting, you can let American Express know that the project to fund The Electric Company is important by nominating Bridging the Literacy Gap at the AMEX Members Project web site. You don’t even have to be a cardmember. You can also help spread the word by forwarding this post to your friends and family. Your nomination will helpThe Electric Company use the power of media to make learning to read fun and exciting for the children who are most in need.
This isn’t the first time, and won’t be the last, that public broadcasting has addressed the education needs of the nation. In 1957, the Soviets launched Sputnik 1, the first earth-orbiting, man-made satellite. It set the United States reeling, wondering about the country’s military preparedness and technological know-how. Were the Soviets leaving us in the dust? “The debate resulted in, among other things,” according to The History of Public Broadcasting by John Witherspoon & Roselle Kovitz (Current, 2000), “the National Defense Education Act of 1958, which for public broadcasters provided funding for media-based instruction in science, foreign languages and mathematics.”