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Between the Lions

Between the Lions is an award-winning PBS television series designed to foster the literacy skills of its viewers, while playfully demonstrating the joys of reading. Each show aims to give children ages 3-7 some of the experiences they need to become successful readers.

Unique among the hundreds of children's programs on the air, this puppet, animated, and live-action show is based on a detailed and rigorous literacy curriculum, and was developed in extensive and ongoing consultation with reading professionals. The result is a lively, educational blend of phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, and other teaching methods for preschool, kindergarten, and first grade students. Several independent, scientifically-based reading research studies have shown that Between the Lions has a significant impact in increasing children's literacy.

The show's "mane" characters, lion cubs Lionel (age 7) and Leona (age 4) serve as role models for younger viewers. Cleo and Theo are the cubs' playful, understanding, and literary parents, who eagerly demonstrate the power and pleasure of literacy.


Watch at the Between the Lions website.


Meet Theo, Cleo, Lionel, and Leona - plus all their friends!


Games / Online resources

Here you can find games practicing rhyming, following directions, vocabulary and much more!


Watch these Folktales and Fables online!

Lions To Go

Download audio, music, and video clips to your portable media player and take the Lions with you wherever you go!

Parents and Educators

Whether you're a parent, teacher or a caregiver, here are some activities for kids ages 4 to 7, including printable coloring sheets and games, that you can do anywhere. Many of these materials are provided in the PDF format. To access these materials, you will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.

  • Anywhere Games: Any time can be a great time to help your children learn to read and write. Try these games at home or on the go.
  • Literacy Tips: Here are some expert-approved ideas to help your child learn to read and write, and have fun doing it!
  • Early Literacy Activities: Each activity is related to a Between the Lions episode, but you can do the activities without watching the show.
  • Printable Activities: These special pages that capture the fun of coloring and games while building skills to help your kids learn to read and write.
  • Recommended Books: A collection of our favorite books for reading aloud, books about reading (for families and educators) and, of course, books featured on the show. Bring this list along on your next trip to the library.
  • Leading the Way to Literacy Videos: Meet literacy experts with lots of helpful tips about what you can do to help your kid learn to read and write. Then watch a family put these tips into action and make together time both fun and educational.
  • Family Activity Booklets: Before they become readers, children need lots of opportunities to talk and to listen to stories. They need to draw, sing, and play with the sounds in words. These booklets are full of fun activities you can do with kids ages 3 - 5 to help get them ready to learn to read and write. Most of the booklets are available in both English and Spanish. And don't miss our related videos that showcase families as they make reading and writing come alive for their kids

Especially for Educators

  • Find it!: Our Find It! index sorts the games, stories, activities and videos on the site into categories you can use to help young readers build literacy skills.
  • Lions in the Classroom: Lesson plans and early literacy guides help you integrate Between the Lions into your literacy curriculum. You can also download family activity booklets and literacy tips to reproduce and distribute to your students' families.
  • Family Connections: Looking for materials to give to parents so they can build on what their kids are learning in school? Download and print our family activity guides and literacy tips. The Tips for Parents and most of the family activity guides are available in both English and Spanish.
  • Teachers' Domain: Search Teachers' Domain for Between the Lions segments and lessons correlated with early reading skills curricula and national and state standards. These resources are ideal for early-childhood educators.

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