TV show aims to encourage reading

LAWRENCEVILLE — Gwinnett County Public Schools is set to debut a new, locally produced television show that will encourage a love of reading.

“Love that Book!” is set to premiere Monday on GCPS TV, the award-winning educational access channel operated by the school district. The series will be hosted by storyteller and New York Times bestselling children’s book author Carmen Deedy. Each episode takes students on a reading adventure exploring a featured book, a new publication and what’s considered an “oldie but goodie.”

“Think of it as a Reading Rainbow for the 21st century student,” said Greg LaHatte, GCPS’ director of Broadcast and Distance Learning.

“Reading Rainbow,” hosted by LeVar Burton, began airing on the Public Broadcast System in the mid-1980s.

The show has been a collaboration that has included the school district’s Language Arts and Media Services departments, as well as students from Sugar Hill Elementary who sang the opening song under the direction of music teacher Tiffany English. Broadcast and Distance Learning staff members Chris Smith and Randall Tolliver, along with Mark Coughlin, created the introduction and theme song for the series.

“From beginning to end, we worked with staff members, students and local personalities to develop the program,” LaHatte said.

The first three episodes of “Love that Book!” will include on-location segments at kid-friendly places, including the Decatur Public Library, which is Carmen Deedy’s hometown library, in the episode running Oct. 18 through 24. There’s also a visit to children’s bookstore Little Shop of Stories in the episode slated for Jan. 17 through 23 and a stop by the Hudgens Center for the Arts in Duluth in the episode that will run April 18 through 24.

Viewers can watch “Love that Book!” by tuning in to GCPS TV on the following Gwinnett County cable channels: Charter channel 22 and Comcast channel 24 or 26, depending on location, and programming is also accessible via live video stream at www.gcpstv.org.