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The Corporation for Public Broadcasting has awarded the Children's Television Workshop a grant of up to $3 million to produce a major new television series to help children improve their mathematics skills.

The ctw, creator of "Sesame Street," "The Electric Company," and "3-2-1 Contact," plans to develop a 65-part series for 8- to 12-year-olds designed to supplement classroom instruction. The series, to run on public broadcasting stations weekdays in the late afternoon, will premiere in the fall of 1986 or early 1987.

The half-hour programs will focus on basic mathematical concepts and problem-solving techniques, according to ctw officials, who for the past year have been assessing the mathematical awareness and educational needs of the target audience. They will test five pilot segments of the program this summer before proceeding with the full $13.6-million series.

The Gannett Foundation has announced a $300,000 nationwide pro-ject to help fight adult illiteracy.

The project, designed to coincide with the foundation's 50th anniversary, will provide grants to programs in local communities, with an emphasis on increasing the number of literacy tutors and students.

Officials of the Rochester, N.Y., foundation said $200,000 will be earmarked for communities that are served by newspapers, broadcast stations, and other subsidiaries of the Gannett Company. Half of the $200,000 will be awarded to local chapters of Literacy Volunteers of America. The other half will be divided among local Laubach Literacy Action chapters, libraries, job-training programs, adult-education programs, prisons, and other literacy groups.

Local literacy organizations are6invited to apply for individual grants of up to $10,000, which will be awarded on a first-come-first-considered basis by local Gannett Company affiliates.

Officials of the Syracuse, N.Y.-based Literacy Volunteers of America said their national staff will try to locate communities that have no existing programs in order to establish new chapters.

The other $100,000 will be used by the Gannett Foundation to support national literacy programs, including a project designed to integrate computers into adult-literacy instruction, and to help with the development of a daily 15-minute television program offering literacy instruction that will be made available to public television stations around the country.

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