All posts by Rebecca Hagen

Martha Speaks Reading Buddies Program

PBS TV Program Partnered with Classroom Activities Demonstrate Significant Improvement in Student Vocabulary Across Florida

During the 2012-2013 school year, Florida public broadcasting stations across the state implemented The Martha Speaks Reading Buddies Program, an educational outreach program that demonstrated noteworthy improvement in vocabulary acquisition and comprehension for elementary school students. Implemented in 19 schools across 16 school districts, more than 1050 children participated in this literacy project.

Specifically designed as a companion piece tied the to the nationally televised PBS television show, Martha Speaks, the intent of The Martha Speaks Reading Buddies Program is to develop and enhance vocabulary acquisition and comprehension in elementary school students.  Florida PBS stations created The Martha Speaks Reading Buddies Project which paired fourth or fifth grade “big” buddies with kindergarten or first grade “little” buddies. Together, buddies watched segments of the Martha Speaks episodes, talked and played games reinforcing key vocabulary concepts from the show, read a literacy rich book, and spent time writing together about their experience. The program included 10 sessions, which targeted four vocabulary words per session.  In total, 36 kindergarten or first grade and 36 fourth or fifth grade classrooms throughout the state of Florida participated in the evaluation, which compared pre- to post-test gains of students in a treatment group with a comparison group.

The research study investigated the effects of the Martha Speaks Reading Buddies Program on big buddy and little buddy vocabulary acquisition and comprehension. Students were tested on target word knowledge, general vocabulary knowledge and reading ability. Results showed that both kindergarten or first grade (little buddies) and fourth or fifth grade students (big buddies) showed gains in retaining and understanding words from the Martha Speaks Reading Buddies training.

These results are highly encouraging, given the important role of vocabulary in successful reading development. This study effectively demonstrates that PBS programming and resources have a positive educational impact on children’s vocabulary development when combined with appropriate, research-based instructional practices.

Another interesting result from this study is the overwhelmingly positive response from the participating teachers who appreciated the books and resources provided as well as the turn-key approach  that provided lesson plans and instructions that allowed them to easily and effectively integrate the program into their classroom curriculums. Having free access to the lesson plans and resources online is yet another way that public television is reaching and positively impacting teachers and students throughout the nation. Of the Florida educators who participated in this program, almost 90% indicate that they will continue using these materials and the PBS Martha Speaks program to help their children achieve vocabulary gains. And not only will the initial group of educators implement the project again, they have also shared it with colleagues at their schools who will now utilize these resources with their students when the 2013-2014 school year begins.

With 90 percent of the participating schools planning to continue Martha Speaks Reading Buddies in their classrooms in 2013-2014, Florida public television stations are targeting 15 additional schools to expand the program.

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Ask Rick Scott to Restore FPBS Funding

Ways You Can Help Save Public Broadcasting

If you support state funding for public broadcasting, we hope you’ll contact Governor Scott and tell him.  You can join this effort in many ways:

  • Send an email to Governor Scott using the form below.
  • Send a letter to Governor Scott via email or snail mail.  A sample letter is shown on the bottom of this page.
  • Address:  Governor Scott, The Capitol, Plaza Level 05, 400 South Monroe Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001
  • Email:
  • Call Governor Scott – Phone:  (888) 429-3266, ext. 1
  • Share a link to this website with your friends and family.
Thank you for your interest and support, but the legislator emailing system is not currently active. We appreciate your time and attention; it is the efforts of individuals like yourself that help us to make a real difference in the community!

Draft Email/Letter:

Dear Governor Scott:

Your Name

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WFSU SciGirls

SciGirls WFSU Mag Lab

Launched in 2006, SciGirls WFSU Mag Lab is a two-week hands-on summer camp run by The National High Magnet Field Lab and WFSU that inspires middle and high school girls to pursue careers in science. SciGirls I and SciGirls II camps accept rising sixth graders through tenth graders as well as returning campers. SciGirls WFSU Mag Lab is an outreach partner ofSciGirls®, the national PBS television series and outreach program.

Scigirls, the national PBS television series, is an expansion and transformation of DragonflyTV’s outreach program. SciGirls’ multi-faceted, multi-platform approach is designed to meet girls where they gather:

On TV — TV—Each SciGirls episode follows a different group of enthusiastic, real SciGirls, who collaborate, communicate, engineer and discover. They’re accompanied by two animated characters—a determined SciGirl named Izzie and her best friend Jake, who tie the series together with their ongoing adventures.

Online — Izzie also stars as the webmaster of the SciGirls website, hosted on scigirls, one of the premiere educational destinations for young people on the Web. This site is a unique and safe science-centric social network, where girls can connect, create personal profiles and avatars, upload and share their science projects and watch every episode.

On the Ground — The SciGirls outreach program offers parents and educators resources to help support their girls’ efforts. These materials, available on the PBS Parents and PBS Teachers portals at and, can be used to start new SciGirls Clubs or enhance existing educational initiatives.


For more information, visit the WFSU SciGirls Website:

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Florida public broadcasters search for solutions to their funding crisis

At WUSF Public Media, they shut down a program to read periodicals for the blind, laid off two people and declined to replace two more.

At WEDU-Ch. 3, they’ve avoided fully replacing departing staffers and may drop programming from the Florida Channel.

Go to the Tampa Bay Times online to read the full story by Eric Deggans, Times TV/Media Critic:

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Year-round coverage of Florida Government


Florida’s public broadcasting stations serve as the statewide delivery system for the Florida Channel and community public affairs programming. In addition to the gavel to gavel coverage of the Florida legislative session, our stations provide year round coverage of Florida’s state and local government, as well as important issues impacting our state.

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State Impact

This pilot journalism project is focused on examining how education policies made by state government impact lives, communities and the economy, and telling the story through explanatory, data-driven reporting. The initiative is designed to fill the void that’s been created in statewide and local reporting by the downsizing of print reporters and wire services that have traditionally reported on the statehouse. State capitols are truly the hives of American democracy with decisions on the uses of billions of dollars being made each year. The oversight provided by reporting keeps state governments accountable to the citizens.

Four public broadcasting stations in Florida are working collaboratively on this initiative.

For more information about StateImpact Florida visit

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Florida PBS Learning Media

Florida’s public broadcasting stations have launched Florida PBS Learning Media. The free and innovative digital education service developed to support curriculum-based teaching and learning from pre-K through college. In addition to providing unprecedented access to a comprehensive library of high quality programming resources from PBS and other public media producers, this next-generation platform features open source technologies that enable customization to curriculum needs at classroom, school district and state education agency levels.

PBS Learning Media currently deploys more than 14,000 digital learning objects selected by teams of content experts, curriculum specialists and classroom teachers to address the challenges and opportunities of education in the 21st century. Resources are tagged by subject and grade level, aligned to national and Common Core standards, and presented within hierarchies of commonly taught topical areas. The content collection features video footage, audio clips, interactive, photographs, animations, interviews an graphics derived from such television programs as NOVA, PSB NewsHour and Between the Lions, as well as rich-media content from trusted sources as NPR, the National Archieves and the Library of Congress.

All public television stations in Florida are working collaboratively on this project.

For more information on Florida PBS Learning Media visit



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American Graduate Program

American Graduate is a public media initiative designed to address the dropout crisis within Florida’s communities.  The project helps convene conversations and strengthen partnerships between public broadcasting stations and local schools, businesses and community organizations to help students stay on the path to a high school diploma.

Public media resources are focused on this project nationally through initiatives like StoryCorp’ National Teachers Initiative, PBS NewsHour, NPR and Tavis Smiley Reports: Too Important to Fail.

Five stations in Florida are working collaboratively on this project.

For more information visit

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FPBS and Emergency Management

FPBS and Emergency Management

FPBS is a critical link in the state’s Emergency Management Network during a crisis. Through our statewide communications network and unique infrastructure, our stations provide key safety and evacuation information updates to residents during hurricanes and other natural disasters. We are equipped and prepared to stay on air during times of crisis.

For additional information, go to our Emergency Management page.

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Major Journalism Partnership Creates Network Of Station-Based Public Radio Journalists Dedicated To Covering Impact Of State Government Actions

Washington,D.C.– NPR and public radio stations in eight states are collaborating to pilot StateImpact, an ambitious local-national journalism initiative to   report on state government actions and their impact on citizens and communities. The partners include NPR member station clusters inFlorida,Idaho,Indiana,New Hampshire,Ohio,Oklahoma,Pennsylvania, andTexas(the full list of stations and the focus of their projects follows). All are participating in a two-year pilot phase of the project. NPR will invite applications from additional stations and states to join the project this Fall.

The StateImpact network builds upon the best of local and state reporting at NPR member stations across the nation by focusing on how governmental decisions affect citizens in such areas as education, healthcare, business, the environment, energy and jobs. StateImpact will ultimately put reporters on the ground in all 50 states to serve public radio’s growing audience of 34 million listeners, and tens of millions more online and on mobile.

Reporting produced by the participating stations will appear on every available media platform to reach the widest audience – including radio stations throughout each state, websites, blogs and mobile services. One station in each state serves as the project lead, creating a reporting “hub” to focus on an issue critical to that region or state. ForIndiana, its education;New Hampshireis reporting on the impact of economic and tax policies on business; andPennsylvaniawill tackle energy policy and regulation. Each lead station will collaborate and partner with other public radio stations throughout their state, and with each other. Lead stations will provide a two-person reporting team, with one correspondent focusing on coverage for radio and the web, and the other developing an extensive web site featuring original reporting, content curated from across the web and a destination for public discussion. Station web sites will launch this summer, with all eight sites live by September 2011. They will be linked through a central hub at

“StateImpact is launching at a time when investments in local media are shrinking or have disappeared all together, “ saidMargaret Low Smith, NPR’s interim SVP for News. “StateImpact will deliver first class accountability reporting at the local level. This vital reporting is nowhere to be found in dozens of cities and towns acrossAmerica, and we want to fill that void.”

Several foundations, corporations and individual donors have made philanthropic contributions to NPR and partner stations in support of StateImpact: including the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Foundation, the Florida College Access Network, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The Melville Charitable Trust, the Open Society Foundations, the School of Business at Southern New Hampshire University, the William and Salomé Scanlan Foundation of Austin and San Antonio, and The Wallace Foundation. These grants fund the planning and launch phases, and have made it possible for NPR to staff an eight-member StateImpact desk to run the project. NPR is working collaboratively with partner stations to seek additional funding for the overall initiative, and local and regional matching funds.

NPR serves as a central editorial and technical resource, enabling stations in every state to work collaboratively with one another to develop stories and share content on common issues, and identify national trends. The StateImpact desk is led by deputy director Cathy Duchamp, former editor of the Northwest News Network based in Seattle, Wa.; editorial coordinators are Ken Rudin, longtime NPR Washington editor, and Elise Hu, who recently joined NPR from the Texas Tribune.  Helping stations to uncover stories now locked in state databases will be the mission of Matt Stiles, database reporting coordinator for the project, who also came to NPR from the Texas Tribune.

StateImpact is the latest NPR initiative to build the reporting capacity of public radio across all platforms at both the national and local level. Earlier contributions by The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) jointly funded the first phase of the Argo network. Knight previously funded intensive multiplatform training at NPR, and CPB is supporting the planning phase of the Public Media Platform, a digital distribution network to serve all public media via a common infrastructure. Each of these projects sets the stage for the ambitious and broad scope of StateImpact.

NPR is an award-winning, multimedia news organization and an influential force in American life. In collaboration with more than 900 independent public radio stations nationwide, NPR strives to create a more informed public – one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas and cultures.


NPR Media Relations:          Anna Christopher 202.513.2304 /

List of Pilot StateImpact Stations:

StateImpact Florida: Putting Education Reform to the Test

WUSF, Tampa(project lead)

WJCT, Jacksonville

WLRN, Miami

WMFE, Orlando

WUWF, Pensacola

StateImpact Idaho: Bringing the Economy Home

Boise State Public Radio, Boise(project lead)

Idaho Public TV

KISU, Pocatello

Northwest News Network

StateImpact Indiana: The Education Shift, from Pre-K to College

WFIU, Bloomington(project lead)

WNIN, Evansville

WBAA, West Lafayette

WFYI, Indianapolis


WBST, Muncie

WBNI, Roanoke, Ft.Wayne

WVPE, Elkhart

StateImpact Ohio: Eye On Education

ideastream, Cleveland(project lead)

WKSU, Akron

WOSU, Columbus

StateImpact Oklahoma: On the Money Trail

KGOU, Norman (project lead)

KOSU, Oklahoma City

KWGS, Tulsa

Oklahoma Educational Television Authority (OETA), Oklahoma City

StateImpact New Hampshire: Business and the Economy in the Granite State

New Hampshire Public Radio, Concord

StateImpact Pennsylvania: Energy, Environment, Economy

WITF, Harrisburg (project lead)

WHYY, Philadelphia

WDUQ, Pittsburg

WPSU, State College

WDIY, Lehigh Valley

WQLN, Erie

WVIA, Wilkes-Barre

StateImpact Texas: Connecting Power Policy and the People

KUT, Austin (project lead)

KUHF, Houston

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