Choosing as a Family
In Austin, Texas, the Bourgeois family recently started their monthly family time by watching a documentary about girls in rural China. "The story was about girls and how terribly difficult it was for them to get an education," said Katy Bourgeois. "My children talked and talked about it. It affected them. The next day, believe me, there was no complaining when time came to go to school!"
The documentary was part of Family Choice, an initiative created by local PBS station KLRU in collaboration with the local library and other partners. Each month, KLRU identifies a single quality television program appropriate for the entire family to watch together. With that family-friendly program as a launching pad, the station creates a Family Choice viewing guide, which provides background information on the topic, activities, questions for family discussion, related books for various ages, and even regional field trip ideas.
As an active community partner, the library identifies and displays topic-related books and distributes the Family Choice viewing guides. In addition, the largest public school district in the region distributes the guide to teachers.
Through teacher and library recommendations, as well as word of mouth and other promotion, Family Choice continues to grow in popularity among Austin families each month. For the Bourgeois family, Katy Bourgeois had just wanted television her whole family could watch together. "Not just something acceptable, but something we would want to watch," she says.
With Family Choice, they found so much more. The initiative underscores the fact that quality programming for family viewing - and doing - is available, but only on KLRU-Austin PBS. "It's a mind-expanding activity, not a mind-numbing one," says Bourgeois.