Research shows TVOKids resources help kids to develop key literacy skills

  • TVO and University of Toronto's Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) partner in family literacy program that uses TVOKids resources

TORONTO, Dec. 9, 2011 /CNW/ - New research from a joint TVO and OISE literacy pilot program, Literacy Fun for Families, showed that a test group of children who used TVOKids resources made "significantly greater gains" in key areas of early reading, writing and phonological awareness when compared to a control group who did not use the TVOKids materials.

Dr. Janette Pelletier, Director of the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study at OISE collaborated with TVO to develop Literacy Fun for Families, a literacy-based curriculum for families using both TVOKids resources and curriculum from an ongoing literacy program run by Dr. Pelletier.

The six-week literacy camp consisted of six sessions where parents learned about early literacy development while their children participated in literacy-related activities. The children watched educational programs from TVOKids early learning program block, Gisèle's Big Backyard and participated in the corresponding online activities on The sessions covered essential components of family literacy: Oral Language; Reading; Words, Letters and Sounds; Environmental Print; Writing and Mathematics.

Seventy-two children along with their families speaking more than a dozen languages participated in the literacy camps.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Early writing skills in the TVO group increased by 41.8% over the control group
  • Phonological awareness (including the first sounds of words) increased in the TVO group by 17.8% over the control group
  • The ability to infer meaning from printed letters, words, sentences and paragraphs in the TVO group increased by 11.2% over the control group
  • Additional gains were seen in alphabet knowledge (including letter recognition, names, sounds and syllables) where the TVO group increased by 5% over the control group; and in vocabulary scores where the TVO group increased by 4.9% over the control group
  • Parents who participated in the TVO group also changed their home practices, becoming more involved in their children's literacy development.
  • Parents in the TVO group also:
    • Spent more time reading books with their children and telling them stories; and,
    • Reported that their children asked more often about printed words and sign meanings, suggesting that parents had learned to effectively draw children's attention to print in their daily lives

This research is part of TVO and OISE's ongoing partnership which began in 2005, with the shared goal of developing and testing the effectiveness of educational resources for kids. The 2005 study showed that children whose families used TVO resources related to alphabet knowledge had significantly greater literacy growth, particularly in the area of alphabet knowledge and conventions of print than kids who did not. The next research project begins in 2012 and will focus on working memory which is closely related to children's performance in reading, writing and mathematics and to their self-regulation - if working memory is improved, so too is the potential to learn.

This research reflects TVO's strong commitment to helping kids prepare for school and arrive ready to learn. TVO's educational resources for kids are available on air and online at TVO has developed an Educational Blueprint process which ensures that every piece of TVOKids content addresses a learning outcome from the Ontario school curriculum, is tested in classrooms with students and teachers and is developed in conjunction with our on-staff educator.

For parents, offers valuable resources for those who want to help nurture their child's learning. Fully integrated with, shows you how every TVOKids program or game addresses the Ontario school curriculum.


Dr. Janette Pelletier, Director of the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study at OISE:

"The research clearly shows the link between the Literacy Fun for Families program, TVO programming on TV and online and positive learning outcomes for kids and parents. Children realized significant gains in reading, writing and phonological awareness while at the same time their parents made changes in their home practices to be more involved with their children's literacy development."

Lisa de Wilde, CEO TVO:

"This research shows what we've always believed - that TVO resources are giving kids a fantastic head start at school. We're also giving parents the tools they need to support their child's learning because we know that an engaged parent is key to success in school. Our kids content is unique in the market because we follow a rigorous process to develop every piece of made-at-TVO content. Our Educational Blueprint process ensures our kids content addresses the Ontario school curriculum and is tested to ensure it's an effective learning resource. That's what makes TVOKids such a trusted resource for parents."

Where to Find TVO

On air:
Cable channel 2 (may vary in some areas)
Bell TV channel 265
TVO HD on Bell Fibe TV channel 1265
Rogers TVO HD channel 580
Rogers-On-Demand channel 100
Shaw Direct channel 353


Video with caption: "Video: Research shows TVOKids resources help kids to develop key literacy skills". Video available at:

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PDF with caption: "Literacy Fun For Families Research Report". PDF available at:


For further information:

Media Contact:

Lesley Slack
Corporate Communications, TVO
P: 416-484-2600 x 2281

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