WTIU Expands Reach of Literacy Labs Program

(UNDATED) – Through a grant from the Boston Scientific Foundation, nearly 4,000 children in south-central Indiana gained access to learning applications related to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), along with reading and vocabulary.

Boston Scientific, Owen County’s largest employer, facilitated a $15,000 grant to fund the Literacy Labs initiative from February 2018 through February 2019. Compared to 2017, this grant resulted in a 121% increase in the number of children in Bartholomew, Brown, Greene, Lawrence, Monroe, Morgan, Orange, Owen, and Vigo counties served by the Literacy Lab program.

WTIU Kids Literacy Labs are mobile technology kits that include iPads and other tablet devices loaded with learning applications developed by PBS Kids for children 2-4 years old and grades K-3.

The mobile apps bring the educational mission of WTIU Public Television directly to children. WTIU has taken these Literacy Labs to community spaces, libraries, and special events in central and south-central Indiana, providing children with early access to digital learning tools.

The Boston Scientific Foundation’s grant allowed WTIU to improve and expand the reach of the Literacy Labs service and ensure that it was accessible to the kids who need it most. This included hiring additional staff to specifically monitor and track how each Literacy Labs kit is being used, the number of children using them, and the responses from parents and teachers.

During the past year, WTIU’s Literacy Labs have visited the public libraries in Bartholomew County, Bedford, Brown County, Jasonville, Mitchell, Monroe County, Orleans, and Paoli; the YMCAs in Bloomington and Spencer; the kidscommons in Columbus and the Terre Haute Children’s Museum.

Organizations interested in hosting a WTIU Kids Literacy Lab may contact WTIU Children’s Outreach Coordinator Mary Ducette at mducette@indiana.edu or 812-855-8531.