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About Reading Rockets

Reading Rockets is a national multimedia literacy initiative offering information and resources on how young kids learn to read, why so many struggle, and how caring adults can help.

Reading Rockets Celebrates 10 Years of Launching Young Readers

We bring the best research-based strategies to teachers, parents, administrators, librarians, childcare providers, and anyone else involved in helping a young child become a strong, confident reader. Our goal is to bring the reading research to life — to spread the word about reading instruction and to present "what works" in a way that parents and educators can understand and use.

The Reading Rockets project includes PBS television programs (also available online and on DVD); online services through the websites ReadingRockets.org and ColorinColorado.org; professional development opportunities; and a robust social community on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Tumblr. The project is guided by an advisory panel made up of leading researchers and experts in the field of reading. In 2011–2012, we celebrated our 10th anniversary!

Teaching reading is a complicated task…so much so, that reading expert Louisa Moats titled her influential article about the skills and knowledge educators need to teach reading well "Teaching Reading IS Rocket Science." That's how Reading Rockets got its name!

Download the flyer about Reading Rockets (1.5MB PDF).

Our mission

The National Institutes of Health estimates that one in five children has serious difficulties learning to read. These children are potentially among the most troubled kids in society. With early identification and a lot of help, however, children who struggle to read can flourish; without it they are at risk for failure in school and in life.

Since 1965, the federal government has invested more than $100 million to find out why so many children have problems learning to read and what can be done. Thanks to that research, we now know how to identify children at risk and how to help them before they fail. Reading Rockets' mission is to take that research-based and best-practice information and make it available to as many people as possible through the power and reach of television and the Internet.

Launched in 2001, Reading Rockets is an education initiative of WETA, the flagship public television and radio station in the nation's capital. Learn more about the Reading Rockets project in this audio interview with Executive Director Noel Gunther, on the national radio series The Parent's Journal With Bobbi Conner.

Our funders

From 2001 to 2012, the project was funded by a major grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. In 2013, we received a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to relaunch ReadingRockets.org with a refreshed design and cross-platform usability.

Projects

Reading Rockets creates and disseminates free, evidence-based information about reading through our three major services: PBS television programs, online services, and professional development opportunities.

Reading Rockets is on PBS

Reading Rockets produces award-winning television programs for national broadcast on PBS. These include A Tale of Two Schools, hosted by Morgan Freeman, and the multi-part Launching Young Readers series. Reading Rockets uses the power of television to show how parents and educators can help children become better readers. Hosts like Morgan Freeman, Annette Bening, and Henry Winkler take viewers around the country — from Portland, Oregon to El Paso Texas to Arlington, Virginia — to see research-based strategies in action in homes, schools, community programs, and libraries. Program titles and descriptions are available on the Our Shows on PBS page. The programs can be watched online anytime as streaming video and are also available for purchase on DVD from Reading Rockets' online store.

Reading Rockets is online (and mobile!)

Reading Rockets develops and manages two national websites: ReadingRockets.org and ColorinColorado.org. Reading Rockets is our comprehensive website featuring reading news headlines, research-based articles, tips for parents and educators, video interviews with literacy experts and top children's book authors, a monthly e-newsletter, national and local resources, an online store, and much more. In 2011, we launched a fully mobile version of Reading Rockets. Our bilingual web service, Colorín Colorado, provides information, activities, and advice for Spanish-speaking parents and educators of English language learners (ELLs). Colorín Colorado receives major funding from the American Federation of Teachers.

In addition, Reading Rockets has developed websites for PBS.org. The Launching Young Readers site is a companion to our ongoing television series. The A Tale of Two Schools site accompanies our award-winning documentary.

Reading Rockets offers professional development opportunities

Reading Rockets produces free webcasts for teacher professional development. The webcasts offer teachers an opportunity to hear from national experts, and are available online to watch at any time. Topics include how to establish an effective reading program, assessment, pre-reading skills, teaching English language learners, writing, and parent engagement. Watch and listen to experts Steven Graham, Isabel Beck, Diane August, Mary Ruth Coleman, Robert Pianta, and others.

Reading Rockets is social

Reading Rockets produces has a robust presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and iTunes. Follow us regularly to find the latest research, reading news, tip sheets, children's books, interviews with experts and authors, writing contests, literacy events, and much more.

Help spread the word

Please let others know about Reading Rockets and help us spread the word about the importance of reading. The Connect, Link and Share page has lots of suggestions, from flyers to web widgets to video embeds. The Reading Rockets in Action page may inspire you with the innovative ways many different people and organizations are using our resources.

Reading Rockets also welcomes press inquiries. Press materials, including press releases and high-resolution images, are available in our Press Room.

Reprint policy

Material from our website may not be sold or used commercially. Permission to publish materials must be granted by the copyright holder.

You are welcome to print copies for personal use, or a limited number for educational purposes, as long as credit is given to Reading Rockets and the author(s).

Because we get our articles from a variety of sources, please check the bottom of the article for special reprint permissions or restrictions from the publisher.

If you have questions, please contact us at readingrockets@weta.org.

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