Between the Lions

Between the Lions

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Between the Lions is an excellent program designed to promote literacy. A recent summative evaluation of Between the Lions concluded that, "kindergarten children who watched [Between the Lions] outperformed kindergarten children who did not watch [Between the Lions] by nearly 4 to 1 on measures of specific program content. Skills measured included phonemic awareness, letter-sound correspondence, and concepts of print. Average performance from pre-test to post-test improved 50% for those who viewed the program and only 13% for those who did not view the program."

The July 2000 study was conducted by Deborah L. Linebarger, Ph.D., of the Juniper Gardens Children's Project at the University of Kansas.

The educational mission of Between The Lions is to help young children learn to read. Episodes incorporate the following educational goals:

  • Dramatizing the many benefits of access to the world of print
  • Showing that learning to read and spell can be a struggle, but it's worth it
  • Showing that there are many reasons to write
  • Introducing new vocabulary words and their meanings
  • Showing how words work by dramatizing phonemic awareness, the alphabetic principle and other spelling conventions
  • Using key words and related words in simple, decodable, connected text presented as print on screen-giving viewers the chance to have meaningful and manageable reading experiences
  • Showcasing high-frequency "sight" words


This comprehensive literacy program is geared for children 4 to 7 years of age. The series combines innovative puppetry, animation, live action and music to achieve its educational goals.

The series utilizes a variety of strategies for developing language and reading skills. Strategies include:

  • Modeling reading, writing, speaking, and listening behaviors-all vital to literacy acquisition
  • Motivating children to read and write by demonstrating that both are a source of pleasure and a steppingstone to every other kind of learning experience
  • Introducing young readers to the skills that enable literacy acquisition: phonemic awareness, letter-sound knowledge and basic concepts about print
  • Acquainting children with a wide variety of texts found in stories, letters, newspapers, magazine articles, poetry, plays, songs, nonfiction, Web materials and more.


Workshops assist parents, caregivers and teachers in the use of Between The Lions as it explores program clips, educational goals, hands-on activities and the Between The Lions website.

PBS Ready To Learn is supported by a cooperative agreement from the U. S. Department of Education, PR/Award Number R295A00002.