Governor Granholm Announces Public Service Partnership With Broadcasters to Promote Early Childhood Reading

Contact: Elizabeth Boyd 517-335-6397

February 18, 2003

Speaking before the Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB) at the Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference and Expo this morning, Governor Jennifer M. Granholm announced a new partnership between the association and her administration to promote early childhood reading.

“If we can find a way to read to every child for just one-half hour every day,” Granholm said, “it would create a revolutionary change in our educational system and in our communities. The partnership we’re announcing today will benefit the families of Michigan and our children by underscoring the critical importance of early childhood reading. I want to thank the Michigan Association of Broadcasters for their efforts in helping spread the word about Project Great Start.”

The association and administration will team up to create and distribute public service announcements (PSAs) to radio and television stations around the state about Project Great Start. The project was announced by Granholm in her State of the State Address on February 5. In part, it encourages parents and adults to read to their children for 30 minutes each day.

MAB will promote Project Great Start as its 2003 Pro Bono project. The Association will encourage its member radio and television stations to air 3-4 PSAs each week in the coming year. In addition, the MAB will encourage its members to cover the issue of early childhood reading in their news and community affairs programs.

“Early childhood reading is not a ‘cause,’ it’s an active way to make an impact on our future,” Granholm said. “MAB’s members recognize that their future viewers, listeners, station managers, on-air talent, and news writers are only babies today. I congratulate them for stepping up to the plate to change the future today.”

Granholm also underscored the scientific evidence pointing to the value of early childhood reading.

“The research indicates that reading to infants and young children ensures great readers in kindergarten and first grade. If children fall behind in their reading in kindergarten, they become less and less motivated to read and learn.”

As announced in her State of the State Address, Project Great Start will promote two initiatives – parent education and early childhood reading. Through a Children’s Action Network within her administration, Granholm will ask departments of state government that impact children to work together to focus on early-childhood learning and parent education. She has also called on the state’s Intermediate School Districts to change their core missions to focus on 0 - 5 education. Project Great Start will rely on public-private partnerships like the MAB partnership to succeed.