The show that inspired a generation of young readers and fostered a love of reading is making a comeback, and a big one at that. The popular children's show, hosted by Levar Burton, ran on PBS from 1983 to 2006, and reruns continued until 2009 when the show was canceled due to a lack of funding. Undeterred, Burton took matters into his own hands this year, launching a Kickstarter funding project for a new digital version of Reading Rainbow. The Kickstarter has received a huge amount of support. On June 30th it broke the record to become the most popular Kickstarter ever, with more than 92,000 backers. After reaching $1,000,000 in support in just a few days, the project is now up to $4.5 million, with a goal of $5 million.
So what will the new Reading Rainbow be? First things first, it won't be on TV. The project is no longer associated with PBS. Burton formed a new company two years ago to create a Reading Rainbow application that contains books, educational video field trips, and more. It's important to note that the app is not designed to teach kids how to read, but rather to encourage and inspire a love a reading within them, as the original TV show did.
With the Kickstarter, Burton is hoping to expand the reach of the app (which is currently available on tablets such as the iPad) across multiple digital platforms and into classrooms across the country. From the project's website:
Our goal is to cultivate a love of reading in all children, not just those that have tablets. 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.
Second, a resounding number of teachers have told me that they want Reading Rainbow in their classrooms, where they know it can make a difference. We will provide it, along with the tools that teachers need, including teacher guides, leveling, and dashboards. And with your help, we'll provide it to thousands of disadvantaged classrooms for free.
Read more at the official Kickstarter here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/readingrainbow/bring-reading-rainbow-back-for-every-child-everywh