In January 2005, WGBH Boston and Sirius Thinking, Ltd., in New York partnered with Mississippi Public Broadcasting (MPB) to produce the Emmy® Award-winning PBS KIDS® Raising Readers series Between the Lions in the MPB studios. Between the Lions features a loveable family of lions—father Theo, mother Cleo, son Lionel, and daughter Leona—to introduce pre-kindergarten children to the concepts of print, language and reading.
In September 2005, Mississippi Public Broadcasting, in partnership with the Barksdale Reading Institute, the Early Childhood Institute-MSU and WGBH Boston, began Mississippi’s Between the Lions Preschool Literacy Initiative. The program helps children develop strong foundations in basic reading skills by providing a hands-on curriculum, learning materials, professional development, and mentors who model activities using Between the Lions episodes. In addition to this initiative, MPB has developed the Between the Lions Preschool Literacy Library Project, the Delta Revitalization Preschool Literacy Project, and formed a partnership with Mississippi Rotary Clubs.