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Colorado teachers will lead literacy lessons on public television

Governor Jared Polis gestures with his hand while speaking. Andy Cross/The Denver Post

Colorado children in kindergarten through third grade will soon be able to access age-appropriate literacy lessons by turning on the TV.

Gov. Jared Polis announced the “Read With Me At Home” initiative Monday morning, saying in a press release, “This programming will be available to families across Colorado to help close the digital divide and prevent learning loss during this critical time for children.”

The public television programming will include four consecutive half-hour literacy segments, each tailored to students at one of the four K-3 grade levels. Colorado teachers will lead the lessons, which are set to air 8-10 a.m. Monday through Friday starting May 18. The lessons will be broadcast in English with Spanish subtitles. Accompanying lesson plans and student work packets will be available online at www.rmpbs.org/ColoradoClassroom.

With schools closed and spotty internet access in many households, especially in rural areas, the televised lessons give families another way to keep kids learning. At least 64,000 Colorado students don’t have internet access at home, a recent state survey found.

Uneven access to lessons during widespread school closures have raised concerns about learning loss and whether all children will be prepared for the next grade. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, more than half of Colorado third-graders weren’t reading proficiently.

The TV reading lessons grew out of a partnership between the governor’s office, the State Education Department, the Colorado Education Initiative, and Rocky Mountain PBS. Education leaders in other states, including Indiana, New Jersey, and Tennessee, have also partnered with broadcasting networks to air lessons on television during the coronavirus pandemic.

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