AdLit is a national multimedia project offering information and resources to the parents and educators of struggling adolescent readers and writers. We are an education service of WETA , the flagship public broadcasting station in our nation’s capital.
AdLit is made possible by a generous grant from the National Education Association.
Legacy funders include the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Ann B. and Thomas L. Friedman Family Foundation.
According to data from the U.S. Department of Education’s 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress known as NAEP (or “the Nation’s Report Card”), only 34 percent of 8th graders read and write at a proficient level (that is, at a level deemed to be appropriate for their year in school).
And for low-income students, students of color, and students with disabilities, the statistics are even more alarming: just 20% of low-income students (eligible for the National School Lunch Program), 15% of Black students, 22% of Hispanic students, and 9% of students with disabilities were found to be proficient in reading.
Hundreds of school districts have introduced new programs designed to help struggling adolescent readers. Numerous professional associations and other national organizations have moved adolescent literacy to the top of the school reform agenda. Many of the nation’s top education researchers have launched new studies into topics such as how best to teach reading in the academic content areas, how best to teach writing at the high-school level, and how best to support the literacy development of adolescent English language learners. AdLit’s mission is to distill this literacy research and share best-practice information to as many people as possible through the power and reach of the Internet.
AdLit’s project partners — national education and youth development organizations — help us develop new resources for parents and teachers and spread the word about effective literacy instruction.
About WETA and Learning Media
AdLit.org is a service of WETA-TV, the flagship public broadcasting service in Washington, D.C. WETA is the second-largest producing station for PBS. WETA’s national productions and co-productions include PBS NewsHour, Washington Week, and documentaries by filmmakers Ken Burns and Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Elizabeth Campbell, the founder of WETA, once said that there are three great educational institutions in this country: public schools, public libraries, and public television. Our long-term commitment to education is realized through national services that focus on making learning available to all. In addition to AdLit.org, WETA’s Learning Media division has developed and now operates four other award-winning educational multimedia services:
Reading Rockets looks at how young children learn to read, why so many struggle, and what we can do to help them. The website includes an archive of articles, a free online professional development course on reading, video interviews with top children’s authors, a daily headline service, blogs, bilingual parent tips, and much more. The Reading Rockets project also encompasses programs produced for PBS, including A Tale of Two Schools and the the 10-part Launching Young Readers series.
Colorín Colorado is a bilingual website designed for the parents and educators of English language learners. The website gives Spanish-speaking parents a wealth of information in their native language and gives teachers the information they need to be more effective in working with children for whom English is a second language.
Start with a Book
Start with a Book provides parents, caregivers, summer program staff and librarians free resources to engage kids with reading, writing, exploring, and building knowledge about the world. Start with a Book pairs 24 kid-friendly topics with books, hands-on-activities, writing ideas, podcasts, websites, and other resources to deepen learning. The project also offers a variety of STEAM toolkits (Bird Buddies, River Rangers, and Space Rangers) and activity guides on trailblazers, civic engagement, multicultural storytelling, and more.
LD Online provides accurate information about learning disabilities and ADHD for families and educators. The site features hundreds of helpful articles, multimedia, first-person essays, and children’s writing and artwork.
Noel, Vice President, WETA Learning Media , has overseen the AdLit project since its inception. Noel has broad experience in radio, television, print, and the Internet. He has co-written and co-produced award-winning documentaries for NPR and Public Radio International, including: Good Morning Vietnam with Adrian Cronauer (Gold Award, Best Culture/Arts Program, International Radio Festival of New York; Ohio State Award); American Voices: Norman Corwin with Charles Kuralt (Grand Award, Best Documentary Program, International Radio Festival of New York); Gray Matters: Depression with Mike Wallace (Gold Award, International Radio Festival of New York); and Drugs, Alcohol and the Brain (Gold Cindy Award, best documentary; Grand Award, Best Informational Program, International Radio Festival of New York).
For television, Noel’s work includes the PBS documentary A Tale of Two Schools, narrated by Morgan Freeman, and the five-part public TV series Exploring Your Brain. For the Internet, Gunther created and developed the LD OnLine website, which since 1996 has been the leading website in the field of learning disabilities. LD OnLine won a Clarion Award in 1998 as the best nonprofit website in the country. Gunther is co-author of Beyond Boardwalk and Park Place (Bantam Books), which was named by the New York Public Library as one of the best young adult books of the year. He has also written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Village Voice, Washingtonian, American Journalism Review, and many other publications. He is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School.
Christian is the director of WETA Learning Media where her work includes developing television programs, websites, and print materials about reading, learning disabilities, mental health, and brain science. Her work on A Tale of Two Schools included directing, writing, and offline editing. She is currently producing additional episodes of the Launching Young Readers series.
Previously, Christian worked as coordinating producer for Exploring Your Brain with Garrick Utley: The Brain-Body Connection, winner of the Gold International CINDY Award; and for Exploring Your Brain: Stress, Trauma, and the Brain, winner of a Time Inc. International Health and Medical Film Festival Award, a Silver CINDY Award, and the James and Sarah Brady Award for Public Service from the Brain Injury Association; and as associate producer for the three-part series Exploring Your Brain with Garrick Utley, winner of the 1998 National Alliance for the Mentally Ill’s Outstanding Broadcast Media Award for Science.
Previously, she served as production coordinator for the television program Look What You’ve Done! with Dr. Robert Brooks, about learning disabilities and self-esteem, and for When the Chips Are Down… with Richard Lavoie, about learning disabilities and discipline. Lindstrom also played a significant role in developing LD OnLine, WETA’s award-winning learning disabilities website.
Carrie Simkin, PhD
Carrie is the new director of AdLit.org. Prior to joining WETA, Carrie served as a faculty member and director of the University of Virginia’s School of Education and Human Development, Master of Education in Reading program in Northern Virginia. Her research interests focused on preventing and remediating reading difficulties and disabilities, striving adolescent readers and language minority learners.
Carrie has a strong background in curriculum development and instructional design with a passion for teaching and problem solving. Prior to her academic career, Carrie was a research associate at RMC Research where she provided technical assistance to states and large urban districts, conducted program evaluations, and designed professional learning series at the local, state and federal levels. Her previous years as a teacher and Reading Specialist continue to ground her work to support schools where academic success is possible for all students through a culture of excellence.
Tina is the director of Reading Rockets and led the AdLit website relaunch in 2021. She has more than 20 years of experience in non-profit project management and communications, including work as a writer, editor, print and web designer, and creative director. Since 2007, Tina has guided the development of new research-based resources on ReadingRockets.org, and spearheaded significant growth in audience through partnerships and outreach, syndication, and social media. In 2012, Tina launched a companion literacy initiative, Start with a Book , an online and on-the-ground project designed to keep children reading, talking, and exploring during the summer. Reading Rockets has received numerous national awards for its television programs and websites, including recognition by the Library of Congress Literacy Awards program, Parents’ Choice, and the American Library Association.
Prior to working at WETA, Tina was the director of print and web publications at Oregon State University, where she led the development of award-winning communications for the university, academic colleges and departments, research centers, and the K-12 outreach program. Tina has an undergraduate degree from Brown University and an MFA in communication design from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has been a volunteer in public elementary schools and afterschool literacy programs in Virginia and Oregon.
Lydia is the director of Colorín Colorado , which is a part of the Learning Media Department of PBS station WETA in Washington, DC. In this capacity, Ms. Breiseth manages editorial content, multimedia production, partnerships, and outreach for the website. Ms. Breiseth has presented Colorín Colorado’s resources at a number of national conferences, including TESOL, NABE, CABE, NAEYC, OELA, the AFT’s TEACH Conference, and the Latino Children’s Book Conference. Ms. Breiseth has published articles on a variety of educational and literacy blogs on behalf of Colorín Colorado.
Ms. Breiseth has taught both English and Spanish as foreign languages and spent a year in Ecuador teaching English to graduate students with the educational exchange program WorldTeach. Ms. Breiseth received her Bachelor’s Degree in English with a Minor in Latin American Studies from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. She lives in Arlington, VA with her husband and daughter.
Ashley is a Senior Digital Producer at WETA Learning Media . She has produced and written award-winning programs for the Reading Rockets Launching Young Readers series and has an in-depth knowledge of the Drupal content management system.
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