March 20, 2009
The Screen Actors Guild Foundation continues its dedication to children’s literacy by adding another notable story to its streaming video website Storyline Online (storylineonline.net), this time read by renowned stage and screen veteran James Earl Jones.
The award-winning actor lends his distinctive voice to Evelyn Coleman’s powerful To Be a Drum, with illustrations by MacArthur Fellow folk artist Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson coming to life through computerized animation.
Mr. Jones joins an illustrious line-up of volunteer readers including Jane Kaczmarek, Bradley Whitford, Sean Astin, Esai Morales, Amanda Bynes, Robert Guillaume, Elijah Wood and Vice-President Al Gore.
Offered twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week and free of charge, Storyline Online receives over three million views per month from educators, parents and children around the world, showcasing videos which capture the illustrations, colors and textures of each book. A supplemental curriculum developed by an early literacy specialist aims to strengthen comprehension, verbal and written skills for English language learners worldwide.
The site’s push for tax-deductible contributions addresses a shortage of funds, spurred by the high cost of streaming video to an ever-expanding audience. Despite imminent shutdown, Storyline Online continues to enlist celebrity participants in the name of literacy. “It is a wonderful opportunity for actors to volunteer their time and talent, contributing to a child’s education and imagination.” said Marcia Smith , Screen Actors Guild Foundation Executive Director.
Storyline Online ensures that every child with access to an internet connection can benefit from the written word. The SAG Foundation is honored to recognize James Earl Jones’ commitment to Storyline Online and hopes that like-minded individual and corporate donors will respond to the project’s financial challenges.