PBS KIDS Raising Readers Launches The Great Word Quest in Time To Keep Kids Learning This Summer

PBS and The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) today announced the launch of The Great Word Quest, an innovative new feature of the PBS KIDS Raising Readers Web site (readytolearnreading.org) that provides literacy games for children ages six to eight.  The Great Word Quest allows kids to play learning games with characters, themes and ideas from favorite PBS KIDS GO! television programs THE ELECTRIC COMPANY, WORD GIRL, and MARTHA SPEAKS.

The Great Word Quest is introduced just in time to combat what is known as the “summer learning gap,” or the general loss of academic skills during summer vacation. “PBS knows learning doesn’t stop when children leave the classroom at the end of the day; it continues beyond the end of the school year,” said Rob Lippincott, Senior Vice President of PBS Education. “We want to provide an inviting and exciting — yet educational — platform for kids to engage with throughout the year.”

The Great Word Quest takes kids on virtual adventures designed to scaffold and improve core literacy skill development.  Joining one of three teams — the Aquanauts, Trailblazers or Skyscrapers — players advance through literacy-based scavenger hunts to earn words that they can then use to play games and create their own silly stories.  These activities help kids strengthen critical reading skills, such as phonics, reading comprehension, and vocabulary.  Perhaps most importantly, a Progress Tracker charts a child’s progress for parents and teachers and provides customized activities that help make reading a part of everyday life.

The Great Word Quest builds on the success of PBS KIDS Island, a literacy-focused site for preschoolers that launched in Fall 2008.

“We know that when kids are engaged, they learn.  That’s why The Great Word Quest teams kids together in a scavenger hunt, sparking their interest in learning new words and developing reading skills that they can use in adventures beyond the screen,” said Lesli Rotenberg, Senior Vice President, Children’s Media, PBS.

Research and Funding

PBS worked closely with leading early childhood experts to develop The Great Word Quest, including Dr. Julie Wood, Ed.D., adviser for PBS KIDS Island and WORDWORLD, and Maria Salvadore, Reading Rockets advisor and University of Maryland professor. Activities are based on cutting-edge research on how children learn to read and the role of electronic media, and what works in classroom and home settings.

About PBS KIDS Raising Readers and The Ready To Learn Grant

PBS KIDS Raising Readers is a national initiative that uses the power of public media to build the reading skills of children ages two to eight, with an emphasis on children from low-income families.  The effort is funded by a Ready To Learn grant from the U.S. Department of Education, part of a cooperative agreement with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), PBS and The Ready To Learn Partnership.


PBS KIDS, for preschoolers, and PBS KIDS GO!, for early elementary school kids, offer all children the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, online and community-based programs. With positive role models and content designed to nurture a child’s total well-being, family and educator resources – including PBS KIDS and PBS KIDS GO! television series, PBSKIDS.org, PBSKIDSGO.org, PBS Parents (PBSPARENTS.org), and PBS Teachers (PBSTEACHERS.org). PBS is a nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation’s nearly 360 public television stations, serving more than 124 million people on-air and online each month. For more information on specific shows supporting literacy, science, math and more, visit PBS.org/pressroom.

About CPB

CPB, a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1100 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television, and related on-line services.

The contents of the release were developed under grant #PRU295A050003 and #PRU295B050003, from the Department of Education. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.