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U.S. Department of Education-Funded Study Demonstrates, WordWorld, PBS KIDS(R) Television Series Works as Critical Early Literacy Tool
Date:1/8/2009

NEW YORK, Jan. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- 30 million Americans in the U.S. are functionally illiterate and their children are two times more likely than average to grow up illiterate(1). The need for additional tools to help children learn to read is more crucial than ever. President-Elect Barack Obama has pledged $10 billion toward early childhood education in the United States. WordWorld, launching its second season, has set the standard for how best to use interactive media in early-literacy instruction.

A U.S. Department of Education-funded study found that WordWorld, an Emmy(R) winning PBS KIDS series, significantly strengthens early literacy skills in preschoolers, providing the building blocks essential for learning how to read. The study is part of the Ready To Learn Initiative that examines the effectiveness of various technologies being used to enhance the literacy skills of young children. WordWorld brings words to life through a patent-pending methodology that embeds words into the objects they represent, crystallizing the connection between letters, sounds and words.

Overall gains from the study demonstrate that regardless of demographic, children developed important early literacy skills by watching WordWorld during the trial period. Key findings include:

    -- Children doubled their oral vocabulary skills of words featured in
       WordWorld
    -- Children tripled their ability to read specific words featured and
       built in WordWorld
    -- Children in disadvantaged households where English is a second language
       showed gains in phonemic awareness, as well as oral vocabulary and
       reading words featured in WordWorld

"We set out with the goal of delivering a critical literacy tool to moms, children and educators that would bridge the gap between letter recognition and reading," said Don Moody, CEO and Creator of WordWorld. "We are thrilled to find that by all measures, WordWorld is proven to advance children's literacy skills and prepare them for school."

The innovative WordWorld platform was developed in response to the National Reading Panel report, which set the standards for assessing the effectiveness of methods used in early literacy instruction(2). By collaborating with top literacy experts from around the United States to target early literacy skills identified as most critical for supporting reading success, WordWorld reinforces the pre-literacy concept that letters (and their sounds) make words and that words have real meaning.

"This study, utilizing rigorous scientific methodology and conducted in collaboration with leading researchers at six major universities, is designed to assess the effectiveness of an educational media product, WordWorld," said Dr. Michael Cohen, president of the Michael Cohen Group LLC. "The results are encouraging: WordWorld is effective, with participating children acquiring essential early literacy skills."

To measure the effectiveness of the popular television series, the Michael Cohen Group LLC, in collaboration with university partners at Stanford University, University of New Mexico at Albuquerque, University of Texas at Austin, Mississippi State, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and City University of New York, Graduate Center used a rigorous study design, known as a randomized controlled trial, to conduct the study. The sample size was comprised of 795 children in 105 preschool programs and featured different demographics across the university test sites across the nation. Each participating preschool was randomly assigned into one of two groups, those who watched WordWorld and those who did not.

The Ready To Learn Partnership was launched in 2005 to tackle the growing literacy crisis in the United States. It is a public-private consortium consisting of WTTW Channel 11 in Chicago, the Michael Cohen Group LLC, the Learning Box and WordWorld. To learn more about the Ready To Learn Partnership and WordWorld visit http://www.rtlp.org and pbskids.org/wordworld.

About WordWorld, LLC

WordWorld, LLC, created by Don Moody, is a multimedia platform that engages kids through television (PBS Kids), via interactive resources, and with learning products available at Target. Through a first-of-its-kind, patent-pending learning tool, all "WordWorld" products embed words into images to enhance word recognition. WordWorld, LLC is part of the Ready To Learn Partnership (RTLP), a public-private consortium awarded a five-year multimillion dollar grant by the US Department of Education. Members of the consortium include Chicago PBS member station WTTW and the Michael Cohen Group, an international research firm responsible for formative and summative testing of the show. For more information please visit the company's website at http://www.WordWorld.com/presskit.

(1) According to the National Assessment of Education Progress (www.famlit.org/site/c.gtJWJdMQIsE/b.1351223/k.6392/Family_Literacy__You.htm).

    (2) National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. (2000).
        Report of the National Reading Panel. Teaching children to read: an
        evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on
        reading and its implications for reading instruction. Retrieved
        November 13, 2008, from
       http://www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/nrp/smallbook.cfm

The contents of this press release were developed under a Cooperative Agreement from the U.S. Department of Education. However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government


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SOURCE WordWorld, LLC
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