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Between the Lions; American Indian Head Start Literacy Initiative

Between the Lions Head Start Literacy Initiative 219 But, Mama, But... Recuts 2004

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Between the Lions
American Indian Head Start Literacy Initiative
Program Number

219 (wt 223)

Series Description

BETWEEN THE LIONS is designed to open up a world of literature and learning for 4-7 year-old children. The daily, half-hour series is named for a family of lions -- Theo and Cleo and their cubs, Lionel and Leona. They run a library where books, words, and story characters come vividly and magically to life, transforming the sometimes confusing process of learning to read into an entertaining adventure for young viewers. Each of BETWEEN THE LIONS' 30 episodes centers on a book or other reading material that the lions and their friends discover in the library. In addition to its lions family, BETWEEN THE LIONS features an eclectic cast of characters including Click the Mouse, the library's cyborg communications expert; Cliff Hanger, a swashbuckling comic book hero who escapes from sticky situations through quick thinking and literacy skills; Tiger Words, a multi-talented sports figure who plays with vowels and consonants instead of golf balls and tees; Martha Reads and the Vowelles, a rhythm and blues group that sings only vowel sounds, and the stalwart knights of "Gawain's World" whose jousting matches create words instead of wounds. At the core of each episode is a state-of the-art curriculum designed to teach reading skills. Several of the nation's leading experts on reading and literacy have worked with the producers to develop a viewing experience that not only will motivate kids to read and write, but give them the skills to do so. Series release date: 4/2000

Program Description

During the 2004–05 and 2005–06 school years, the Between the Lions American Indian Head Start Literacy Initiative was developed to increase the early English language literacy skills of American Indian children in New Mexico Head Start centers using the award-winning PBS children’s literacy series Between the Lions along with related resources that were adapted specifically for a variety of American Indian communities.

Specifically, the initiative: • Provided all classrooms with a set of 16 edited Between the Lions episodes on DVD, a DVD player, companion print materials, children’s books, and additional related resources. • Conducted training for Head Start teachers and aides prior to project implementation. • Provided follow-up workshops and met with sites regularly to help them carry out the project effectively. • Assessed the effectiveness of the intervention through a research study.

The research study was conducted by Dr. Deborah Linebarger, Assistant Professor, Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.

Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Stoia, Judy (Series Producer)
Chicago: “Between the Lions; American Indian Head Start Literacy Initiative,” WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed April 22, 2019, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_6B087E59A79D40F5B887018662EF63D7.
MLA: “Between the Lions; American Indian Head Start Literacy Initiative.” WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. April 22, 2019. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_6B087E59A79D40F5B887018662EF63D7>.
APA: Between the Lions; American Indian Head Start Literacy Initiative. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_6B087E59A79D40F5B887018662EF63D7
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