Ready to Learn programming grants from the US Department of Education were put into motion in 2005 to help fund new shows directly through PBS and its affiliate WTTW in Chicago. The funding, set to stretch over five years to 2010, has since been fully allocated to developing programs and resources to help preschoolers build pre-reading and reading skills, using scientifically based reading research. The initiative also has a keen eye on finding new ways to disburse literacy resources to kids in lower socio-economic households and test how kids learn through technologies such as online, handheld devices and cell phones.
Series that benefited from the grant include Between the Lions (WGBH/Sirius Thinking), Sesame Street, Super Why! (Out of the Blue), WordWorld (Word World LLC), Martha Speaks (Studio B/WGBH), a new version of The Electric Company (Sesame Workshop), Everyday Alphabet and R U There (both from The Learning Box).