Iowa PBS Selected to Receive Ready To Learn Grant to Support Early Literacy and Critical Thinking Skills

Elementary students sit at a table as their teacher points at the white board.

Iowa PBS has been awarded a planning grant to develop a Learning Neighborhood plan to engage local partners and extend the reach and impact of PBS KIDS early learning resources in the community. Iowa PBS will receive approximately $10,000 through the CPB-PBS Ready To Learn Initiative, funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

"We are very excited to be chosen as one of the stations to participate in the Ready To Learn Learning Neighborhoods project,” said Iowa PBS Director of Educational Services Ken Harrison. “This opportunity allows us to focus on community engagement and provide early learning resources to our communities here in Iowa."

Iowa PBS is one of 24 PBS stations across the country to receive training and guidance to research and develop a proposal for a Learning Neighborhood, a collaborative effort with community partners to foster a culture of learning at home, in the neighborhood, and within local systems and spaces. In the second phase of the project, 18 proposals will be selected for funding in 2023-2024, joining 22 other stations that launched Learning Neighborhoods in 2020 and 2021. 

“Learning Neighborhoods foster a ‘Learn Together’ theme. Public television stations and local partners leverage public media content, characters, events, and activities to encourage children and adults to learn anytime and anywhere in their neighborhoods and communities,” said CPB Senior Vice President of Education and Children’s Content Debra Tica Sanchez. “The planning process helps stations formalize their connections with community partners to best serve kids and families now and in the future.”

"At PBS KIDS our goal is to use the power of media to help children learn lessons that last a lifetime,” said PBS KIDS Senior Vice President and General Manager Sara DeWitt. “These planning grants will help stations create partnerships with local organizations across the country, providing access to high-impact learning resources for children, parents, and caregivers in their communities.”

This effort is part of a five-year grant awarded to CPB and PBS through the U.S. Department of Education’s Ready To Learn Initiative to develop new multi-platform media and engagement tools that introduce children to career and workforce options and help them build everyday literacy skills. The effort will empower and equip parents, caregivers and communities to support children’s learning and growth in these areas through a network of Learning Neighborhoods, and conduct efficacy research on the newly produced educational resources.