Reading with Lenny

From Broadcast for
Jump to: navigation, search
started20th Sep 1977
ended26th Jun 1979
last rpt25th Jun 1982
5 school years
duration10 mins
subject 📚EnglishReading
age rangeAge 4-6Age 3-5 & Age 5-7
languageenIn English
ITV early readingHierarchyPrevious.gifPrevious series: It's Fun to Read Next series: Let's Read with Basil Brush HierarchyNext.gif

Reading with Lenny is an ITV schools TV series from the 1970s and 1980s, covering Reading for primary school pupils.

Lenny and Terry

A series to encourage children who are learning to read. Ventriloquist Terry Hall reads a story to his puppet Lenny the Lion, who is just learning to read. Lenny follows along and comments on the story, and then at the end he reads along with a simplified version of the story with the words shown on screen. After the story Terry and Lenny play a reading-related game, such as thinking of rhyming words or Lenny finishing off a story that Terry starts.

The story books all concern the adventures of Kevin the kitten, his mum and dad, and his friends including Belinda the bear, Duncan the dog, Gary the goat, Leslie the lamb and Rachel the rabbit. The 28 stories are not graded (i.e. they don't increase in difficulty) but remain at roughly the same level of reading to encourage children's enjoyment of reading.

The Kevin the kitten stories were all written by Terry Hall himself, who had previously published a successful series of children's reading books called Laugh and Learn[1], and his puppet Lenny the Lion was chosen for his popularity among young children. The series proved popular both in infant schools and among parents with children at home[2].

The children's reading books were shown on screen, but Terry read each story from a large book propped-up in front of him. He did not actually handle the books, because Lenny occupied both of his hands, but while he was reading the illustrations were shown full-screen with an effect of pages being turned.


# Title Broadcast
1. Kevin's Ice Cream 20 Sep 1977
2. Kevin's Teddy Bear 27 Sep 1977
3. Kevin's Big Toe 4 Oct 1977
4. Kevin's Bike 11 Oct 1977
5. Kevin's Tickling Game 18 Oct 1977
6. Kevin and the Rocking Horse 25 Oct 1977
7. Naughty Kevin 8 Nov 1977
8. Kevin's Pedal Car 15 Nov 1977
9. Kevin's Toy Tractor 22 Nov 1977
10. Kevin's Scooter 29 Nov 1977
11. Kevin Plays Leapfrog 10 Jan 1978
12. Kevin At The Launderette 17 Jan 1978
13. Kevin Goes to the Library 24 Jan 1978
14. Kevin Washes the Car 31 Jan 1978
15. Kevin Goes on a Picnic 7 Feb 1978
16. Kevin's Dirty Shirt 14 Feb 1978
17. Kevin in a Hurry 21 Feb 1978
18. Kevin's Little Trick 28 Feb 1978
19. Kevin's Pillow Fight 7 Mar 1978*
20. Kevin's Bag of Marbles 14 Mar 1978
21. Kevin's Jelly 1 May 1979
22. Kevin's Umbrella 8 May 1979
23. Kevin at the Fair 15 May 1979
24. Kevin and the Bucket 22 May 1979
25. Kevin and the Door 5 Jun 1979*
26. Kevin at the Car Wash 12 Jun 1979
27. Kevin's Dinner 19 Jun 1979
28. Kevin's Paddling Pool 26 Jun 1979

* Kevin's Pillow Fight was previewed in a What's New preview programme on Monday 19th December 1977.

* Kevin and the Door was previewed in a Next Year at School programme on Tuesday 5th December 1978.


Written and presented by Terry Hall
with Lenny the Lion
Book illustrations Frank Bird
Graphics Anna Farrar
Steve Williams
Phil Buckley
Series adviser Betty Root
Designer Stephen Fineren
Director Pauline Shaw
Pat Baker
Producer John Coop


Pupils' books

A selection of pupils' book covers

All of the Kevin the kitten stories were published as children's reading books, with the full text of the story on one side of the page, and illustrations with simple captions on the other side.

They originally cost £1.70 for a set of ten reading books covering one whole school term.

Teacher's notes

Teacher's notes

A booklet of notes for the teacher, covering the background to the series, a brief overview of each episode with all of the picture captions and a basic description of the game that Terry & Lenny play, and extensive suggestions for follow-up work in the classroom.

There was also a set of tear-off gummed stamps with Lenny's face on them, for giving out to the class.

The notes were written by the series advisor Betty Root, tutor in charge of the Centre for the Teaching of Reading at the University of Reading School of Education. The notes booklet covered the whole year of programmes, and originally cost 40p.


Year Term Day Time Rpt Time Channel Details
1977-78 Autumn 1977 & Spring 1978 Tue 09:47 Fri 11:43 ITV
1978-79 Autumn 1978, Spring & Summer 1979 Tue 09:47 Fri 11:44 ITV
1979-80 Autumn 1979, Spring & Summer 1980 Tue 10:04 Fri 11:10 ITV The first five episodes were not screened due to the ITV strike
1980-81 Autumn 1980, Spring & Summer 1981 Fri 11:14 ITV
1981-82 Autumn 1981, Spring & Summer 1982 Fri 09:35 ITV


Sources & References

  • IBA (1978) Independent Broadcasting Authority Annual Report & Accounts 1977-78. London: IBA
  • ITN Source (Granada TV archive catalogue)
  • Root, Betty (1977) Reading with Lenny teacher's notes 1977-78. Manchester: Granada Television
  • Root, Betty (1978) Reading with Lenny teacher's notes 1978-79. Manchester: Granada Television
  • Thames (1977) Independent Television for Schools and Colleges Annual Programme 1977-78 age 4-18. London: Thames Television
  • TV Times London edition television listings (1977-82) via TV Times Project database

With thanks to Simon Collins

  1. Root (1977) p.4 says "Terry Hall, with his successful reading series Laugh and Learn, has already established himself as a writer of simple, humorous stories." Thames (1977) p.7 describes the Laugh and Learn series as "lively and widely acclaimed".
  2. IBA (1978) p.26 says "Reading with Lenny used the popular puppet Lenny the Lion as an incentive to first and second year infants to enjoy learning to read, and rapidly built up a large following both among schools and among parents with children at home."


School topics covered in this programme. Click to find other programmes covering the same topics, but bear in mind topics are a new addition to the site in 2023 and not many are set up yet.

Keyword tags

Some features of this programme. Click to find other programmes with the same features, but bear in mind tags are also a new addition to the site in 2023 and not many are set up yet.


Want more on this programme?

This site attempts to cover thousands of programmes and it will take ages to update them all. If you would like to see this one updated soon please click on the star to 'vote' for it and I will do my best to prioritise it!

Voting is anonymous and you can vote for as many programmes as you like. The number in the box above shows how many people have already voted for this programme. You can also see a list of all the votes so far.

More Programmes