Iowa Public TV Advances Early Learning

Iowa Public Television (IPTV) has deployed an extensive community-based early learning effort known as Ready for School. Ready for School seeks to use educational media to increase the early literacy and math skills of economically deprived children ages 2-8. This relates to the more than 12 hours of children’s educational programming that IPTV broadcasts each day. This project has been implemented in more than 50 communities across Iowa.


IPTV educational outreach staff worked with community partners to deploy 155 IPTV Ready for School Learning Centers and 89 IPTV Ready for School Library Corners. The Learning Centers feature a TV/DVD player tuned to IPTV, a book shelf with a hundred children’s books, a set of DVDs and other materials. The Learning Centers are located in health clinics, dental clinics, WIC Centers, faith-based organizations and community nonprofits. The Library Corners are located in public libraries. The Library Corners include a PBS KIDS character stand-up, logo area rug, a banner featuring PBS KIDS characters, PBS KIDS DVDs and books for a read-aloud program.

Why is it important?

Iowa Public TV has been able to change the lives of children for the better. Both children and adults have engaged in the learning activities made available in Libraries. IPTV provided iPad Labs to help children and family members learn to use the PBS KIDS apps. Almost 12,000 children and 4,800 adults made use of the IPTV iPad labs in 2015.

IPTV has provided scholarships for up to 300 child care providers per year to enable them to participate in the Raising Readers: Preparing Preschoolers for Success online course available from PBS TeacherLine. The course is designed to teach new child care providers how to help children in their care improve early literacy and math skills. More than 1,200 Iowa child care providers have completed the course and evaluation studies show improved knowledge of early learning and improved engagement in early learning activities with children as a result.