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‘Reading Rainbow’ is Making a Comeback

LeVar Burton

LeVar Burton

By Jessica Toomer 

You’re about to come down with a severe case of childhood nostalgia.

“Reading Rainbow,” the 1980s children’s show that aired on PBS, was responsible for teaching literacy to millions of children across the country. In fact, America probably wouldn’t be able to read without host LeVar Burton smoothly narrating us through adventurous tales and teaching us the life lessons held between the pages of his favorite books. And now, after ending its 26-year long run on TV, Burton is hoping to save America’s youth once more by reviving “Reading Rainbow” via his Kickstarter campaign.

The Kickstarter campaign reached and then exceeded its goal in half a day. They’re still accepting contributions.

The campaign is raising funds in order to offer a version of the Emmy-winning children’s program on the Internet. Burton says the world wide web is the best way to reach his select audience and it totally fits with what the show is all about. “You take advantage of where kids are. Back in the ’80s that was in front of the television set,” Burton told The Verge. “Today, you have to have access to the web.”

The show is already available as an app for tablet users, but with only 33 percent of families having access to these devices, it’s time “Reading Rainbow” expanded to meet the needs of all children. The project’s goals don’t just include bringing the show online. Burton wants his reading program to be available in classrooms and low-income schools for free. For individuals and families who’d like to sign their kids up for story-time, they can buy a subscription similar to the tablet app which costs roughly $60 per year.

While that number may seem steep, Burton says you can’t put a price on education. “Our educational system — the way we educate our kids — is failing our children,” Burton said. “We’re getting our assess kicked right now. Long term, I know if we’re successful we’re going to have a better educated populace in America, and we’ll be better prepared to compete going forward.”

While all that may be true, we’re just excited to have an excuse to play this little jingle again.

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