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Noggin Starts Book Drive

Noggin, working with Time Warner Cable of New York and New Jersey, last Thursday turned the first page on a new literacy campaign. As part of its “Get Ready to Read” program, Noggin has partnered with national nonprofit organization First Books to generate 1 million books for low-income children that otherwise might not have access to any books in the home.

Noggin officials also want to work with other cable operators, arming them with a turnkey program, to bring the literacy initiative to other markets.

To start the campaign, Noggin joined with First Book and Time Warner Cable at a celebrity-driven event held last Thursday at P.S. 111 in Manhattan. They were joined there by Jim Jinkins, creator of Nickelodeon’s Doug and the author and driving force behind Noggin’s first enhanced early literacy series, Pinky Dinky Doo, which premieres on the educational service on April 10.

In addition to Jinkins reading from and screening his latest creation, The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart, actress Joan Allen and Harriet Novet, vice president of public affairs for Time Warner Cable of New York and New Jersey, engaged in a speed reading contest that yielded 100,000 book donations from Random House.

For its part, Noggin is supporting Get Ready to Read with new on-air “Story Time” interstitials, and public service announcements, featuring Chris Meloni (Law and Order: Special Victims Unit), which direct viewers to www.firstbook.org/Noggin, where they can find more information about volunteering and getting free books to those in need. Moreover, Time Warner Cable of New York and New Jersey, which has pledged to extend the program to other communities it serves, will run a customized version of the PSA.

“We are thrilled to support Noggin’s Get Ready to Read and to be donating over $500,000 in airtime and print promotion to help make this effort a success,” said Novet in a statement.

Noggin.com has also launched a dedicated Get Ready to Read Web page that includes parent and child-directed educational content, including original games, printables and downloadable files. Beginning in June, Club Noggin, the network’s interactive outreach program with over 80 General Growth Property malls, will also incorporate Get Ready to Read literarcy-based tips.

“We’re eager to work with Time Warner and with our affiliate partners in rolling this program into other local communities.” said Juliette Morris, vice president of affiliate marketing for Nickelodeon Digital Television.

To that end, Sarah Burke, manager of affiliate marketing for Nickelodeon Digital TV, said the network has developed a customizable “Get Ready to Challenge” kit, that includes a host of comprehensive materials aimed at helping operators set up their own local events.

“Many of our affiliate partners, including Time Warner and Comcast [Corp.], already have reading initiatives of their own, so maybe we can piggyback on their efforts,” said Burke.

Morris said Noggin is encouraging operators to work with book retailers, and that local events could unfold in these stores, libraries, malls or parks.