Actor and children’s entertainer LeVar Burton (Roots and Star Trek: The Next Generation) seeks to bring back PBS’s Reading Rainbow as a web series. Recently Burton began a campaign to bring back the famous educational TV show. His original goal, one million dollars, was reached within a day of the project being listed on Kickstarter and he’s now asking people to help him to reach a new goal of five million dollars.
“It was my mother who taught me that, by picking up a book, I could ‘go anywhere’ and ‘be anything.’ Ever since Reading Rainbow began in 1983, I have dedicated myself to fostering a love of reading in children, just as my mother did for me.” Quotes Burton via his Kickstarter page.
For a number of young people one of the first places they went for entertainment was PBS, watching classics like Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood and Sesame Street. Reading Rainbow was part of this group from 1983 to 2006. Mr. Burton has already began bring the name back to children in 2012 with an iPad app. Now he plans on expanding the influence of the rainbow beyond this.
“I believe that every child has a right, and a need, to be literate. We have a responsibility to prepare our children… and right now, the numbers show that we, as a society, are failing in that responsibility.”
According to his Kickstarter page, 1 in 4 children will grow up illiterate and a generation of young Americans will be less educated than the one before. He says that the show was always made to encourage reading in young people in an easy medium that kids would grab on too. However, he has concluded that TV is no longer the best way to go with the program and plans to release it on the web.
“To reach kids everywhere, we need to be everywhere: we need to be on the web, on mobile devices, on game consoles and on connected televisions. ”
He also wishes to use this method to help schools use his show to do more good about teaching the basic reading skills, stating that “Together, we want to provide Reading Rainbow to as many classrooms as possible for free!…’ ‘These problems won’t solve themselves. Real change will require us all to work together. We cannot afford to lose generations of children to illiteracy. And if we work together, we don’t have to.”
If you would like to donate to this cause, you can do so by clicking the Kickstarter link located under sources. Also if you have anything to say about LeVar Burton’s cause or some favorite Reading Rainbow memories, go ahead in the comments!
Source: Variety, Kickstarter