Frequently Asked Questions

About PBS KIDS ISLAND and readytolearnreading.org:

Is PBS KIDS Island really free?

Yes, it’s free! PBS KIDS Island is funded by a Ready To Learn grant from the U.S. Department of Education, and was developed as part of PBS KIDS Raising Readers, our national initiative to help children learn to read. Our mission is to help children develop and practice basic reading skills through online games and activities. PBS KIDS Island is a completely free resource and we encourage you to sign up so your child, group or class can play all the games and win prizes, while tracking progress through the eight levels of literacy skills. Our companion site, readytolearnreading.org, for parents, teachers, and caregivers, also offers a variety of free materials, and provides extensive information about PBS KIDS Raising Readers.

If you are inquiring about a credit card charge about for PBS KIDS Play, please contact support@pbskidsplay.org, or contact them at pbskidsplay.org/pages/contact.

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What age group is PBS KIDS Island designed for?

PBS KIDS Island is for children who are learning to read and their parents, teachers, and caregivers. PBS KIDS Island can help children gain confidence in the skills they need to become successful readers. These include:

  • Recognizing letters and their sounds
  • Ordering letters
  • Rhyming
  • Identifying word families (like these “-all” words: “tall” and “ball”)
  • Hearing and using new vocabulary words
  • Reading simple sentences.

The games in PBS KIDS Island are from these popular, award-winning television series:

  • Between the Lions
  • Sesame Street
  • SUPER WHY
  • WordWorld

For more about PBS KIDS Island and its companion site for parents, teachers, and caregivers, watch this video tour.

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Can my children or students use these games independently or do I need to be there to help them?

An adult needs to be present to login a child, but your children and students can play on PBS KIDS Island independently. PBS KIDS Island offers lots of audio support to help pre-readers get around the site. And your child can get anywhere she wants to just by clicking a few buttons.

While children can use the site on their own, we think it’s even better if an adult shares the experience with them. PBS KIDS Island is really a fun place for everyone, and readytolearnreading.org offers plenty of resources for parents, teachers, and caregivers.

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What makes PBS KIDS Island’s approach to reading unique?

PBS KIDS Island focuses on helping young children develop a variety of important literacy skills described by the National Reading Panel. These include everything from identifying letters and their sounds to learning new vocabulary. PBS KIDS Island delivers these literacy skills in an entertaining and exciting way, with reading games with favorite PBS KIDS Raising Readers characters, including Elmo, Oscar, Super Why, and Theo. Children can earn tickets, win prizes, and build their own Island amusement park.

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TECHNICAL:

What kind of computer do I need?

Any PC or Mac computer with an updated browser (e.g. Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari etc.), Internet connection, and Flash 9.0.124 player.

You can get the Flash 9.0.124 player for FREE.

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Do I need to be online to play PBS KIDS Island?

Yes. PBS KIDS Island requires an Internet connection and you must be online when you play.

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How do I play the games on the Web site?

To play games in PBS KIDS Island, you’ll need the Flash 9.0.124 plug–in. You’ll also need to sign-up for a free account to play the games and have your child’s progress tracked. Or you can use the site as a “guest” to sample the first level.

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What is the Flash player? Where do I get it?

You can get the Flash 9.0.124 player for FREE. The Flash player is a free plug-in from Adobe. It’s safe, easy to install, and it’s used throughout pbskids.org.

You can also see which version of the Flash player you might already have on your computer.

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I can’t get PBS KIDS Island to work. (Troubleshooting.)

If you’re having trouble with the Flash player, check out these tips.

If you can’t log in with your username and password, you might have skipped an important step in setting up your account. First, go to the email account you signed up with and check for an email with the subject “PBS KIDS Island Account Verification.” (Check in your spam mail, too.) Click on the link within that email to activate your account, then try logging in again on PBS KIDS Island.

If you can’t find the email, then return to the PBS KIDS Island login box and click on the link that says “Resend verification email.” Enter your information into the form provided. We’ll send you a verification email within 24 hours, and you can activate your account.

And finally, a reason your username and password might not be working is if you’ve mistakenly pressed the CAPS LOCK key. Turning the CAPS LOCK key on can create problems because all logins are case sensitive.

If you still have problems logging in with your username and password, please email us and we’ll do our best to answer your question.

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I lost my password. How do I find it?

To get your lost password go to the login page and click on the “forgot password” link. Then, enter your email address and your password will be emailed to you within 24 hours.

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Can I use my PBS login for other parts of PBS.org?

Yes. Once you create your account for PBS KIDS Island, you can use that same username and password to log into our PBS Parents and PBS Teachers sites.

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My child has lost prizes and tickets. What can I do to get everything back?

If your child has lost any prizes, tickets, or their progress in the site, send an email to us using this form, explain your particular problem and we’ll do our best to resolve it. Note: Select “PBS KIDS Island” as the subject of the email. You’ll find it in the drop-down menu.

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I clicked on the “Learn More” link in the cloud and it didn’t do anything.

Clicking on the “Learn More” link in the cloud will either open a new window or a new browser tab. Look to see if a new window has opened on your computer or if a new tab has appeared in your browser. (Note: Sometimes, a new window will open behind another window. So be sure to look around.)

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I’m having some other problem. What do I do?

If you haven’t been able to find the answer to your question in this FAQ section, then send an email to us using this form, explain your particular problem and we’ll do our best to resolve it. Note: Select “PBS KIDS Island” as the subject of the email. You’ll find it in the drop-down menu.

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LOGGING IN:

What are the differences between using the site as a “guest” and “signing up”?

Using the site as a “guest” means that you don’t need to create a username and password for your child to play in the site. But, there’s a downside. As a “guest” your child will only be able to play the first level, and she won’t be able to save her prizes. And you won’t be able to see your child’s progress in the Progress Tracker.

“Signing up” means that you will need to create a username and password and log in. Signing up has lots of benefits. Your child can access all eight levels and win prizes. Plus, logging in enables you to check on your child’s progress using our Progress Tracker tool. Rest assured, your email address won’t be shared and it won’t be used for any promotional or commercial purposes. And no personally identifiable information will be collected or used by PBS KIDS. Please read our PBS KIDS Privacy Policy for more information.

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How does it work if I have two or more children I want to sign up? Or a whole classroom?

You can sign-up as many children as you want under one account. There’s no limit. You can use PBS KIDS Island in your school, home, or childcare facility. When you sign up just identify yourself as a teacher, parent, or caregiver. This helps tailor the experience to your needs.

Parents can add as many children as they want to their account.

Teachers can add as many students as they want to their accounts. They can even organize their students into “classes” to help keep things organized.

Caregivers in daycare settings can add as many children as they want to their accounts. They can even organize their children into “groups” to help keep things organized.

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Why do you need my email address?

To log into the site you’ll need to sign up with your email address. Your email address will be used as your username when you log in. Rest assured, your email address won’t be shared and it won’t be used for any promotional or commercial purposes. You’ll be able to use the same username and password to login into PBS Parents and PBS Teachers.

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Why do I have to give my ZIP code in the registration area?

Your ZIP code will NOT be shared or used for any marketing purposes. The only reason we ask for it is to see where our site is having the greatest impact. For more about this, please read our PBS KIDS Privacy Policy.

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How do I change language preference?

Most text on PBS KIDS Island and the companion site, www.readytolearnreading.org, are available in either English or Spanish. On readytolearnreading.org, you will find a link in the top right corner that says “in English” or “en Español.” Just click on it to switch to the language you prefer.

To change the language setting for the text that appears in the cloud on PBS KIDS Island, you’ll need to log into your account and click “play PBS KIDS Island,” then click the “account settings” button in the upper left corner. Only the text in the cloud will change to Spanish. All the audio and games on the site will remain in English.

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Why aren’t certain features available in Spanish?

The materials most relevant to parents, teachers, and caregivers have been translated into Spanish. These include: our Daily Reading Activity Calendar, Literacy Tips, and all pages of the site that offer activity and lesson plan ideas.

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RESOURCES:

Where can I find reading resources and tips?

Readytolearnreading.org offers extensive resources for parents, caregivers and educators, including a daily reading activity calendar, printable activities, and more.

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What resources are available for educators?

Educators will find links to lesson plans, teaching tips and tools, and professional development videos on how to support struggling readers. In addition to the free resources available on this site, PBS TeacherLine offers a professional development course titled: Raising Readers: Preparing Preschoolers for Success.

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Can I use images, printables, and other materials from your site in my or my child’s classroom?

You can use the materials and printables from PBS KIDS Island and our companion site in the classroom, library, or other educational setting. These items cannot be used or duplicated for any commercial use.

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PBS KIDS: Raising Readers