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Reading ‘Between the Lions,’ Free Resources for Your Young Reader

Updated: Sep 25, 2021

By: Sydney Spangler


Theo, Cleo, Lional, and Leona. Four lions operating and living in a large, busy library called, “The Barnaby B. Busterfield III Memorial Public Library.” This extra special family of cool cats is the center of a children’s television series designed to promote reading called “Between the Lions.”


The show began airing in April of 2000. At that time, I was a kindergartener learning my ABCs and 123s. I remember waking up early and watching “Between the Lions” when I was at home, eating snacks on the weekends. It used puppetry, animation, and live-action to not only tell stories but also to make kids like me excited to open a book. Words literally popped out of pages and onto the screen. A voiceover would read along as the words appeared one by one. Skits such as “The Word Doctor with Dr. Ruth Wordheimer” also worked to encourage kids to decipher difficult words.


As a kid, watching “Between the Lions” helped me gain confidence as a reader and taught me how to overcome hurdles on a page, expanded my vocabulary, and gave me an introduction to understanding stories, which is why The Traveling Library CCTX is recommending PBS Learning Media’ Between the Lions Early Reading Collection to help get your kid(s) “wild about reading.” The collection provides segments from the show that offer early Reading/Language Arts resources to improve early elementary and preschool literacy skills. Some of the topics include fluency, phonemic awareness, text comprehension, and vocabulary. These videos are free to stream and are appropriate for grades PreK-K and K-2.


Between the Lions Early Reading Collection was produced by WGBH Education and WGBH Digital in collaboration with Mississippi Public Broadcasting. Funding for this project was provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.




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