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Everyone Still Loves "Reading Rainbow" (And This New Kickstarter Proves It)

The PBS classic, which taught a love of books to generations of kids, will be coming back in an online version.
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LeVar Burton in

LeVar Burton in Reading Rainbow. Photo courtesy of PBS.

Reading Rainbow debuted in 1983 and ran for more than 20 years, reaching millions of children on PBS and in classrooms and libraries across the country. The show and its host, LeVar Burton, introduced generations of children to the pleasures of reading and the imagination. New episodes aired from 1983 to 2006, winning 26 Emmys and a Peabody Award. PBS continued to air Reading Rainbow in reruns until 2009, when the show was finally pulled.

For schools that cannot afford the program, Burton will provide the classroom version for free.

Today, LeVar Burton launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring Reading Rainbow to the Internet, in an effort to make the show accessible to “every child, everywhere.”

Here’s the case Burton is making:

Kids that cannot read at grade level are 400 percent more likely to drop out before high school graduation. Every child has a right to literacy, and we as a society are failing our children.

Burton’s Kickstarter campaign intends to repair that failure through an online version of Reading Rainbow. The new program will feature a special version tailored for classrooms. For schools that cannot afford the program, Burton will provide the classroom version for free.

The campaign has revealed not only that people recognize the need for literacy education, but just how fond a place Reading Rainbow holds in our hearts. Burton’s seeking $1 million in the next 35 days. As of this writing, Burton has already raised $672,130.

Like so many from my generation, I loved Reading Rainbow deeply and hope to see Burton’s passion for reading reach a new generation of children.

So, America, LeVar Burton wants our help to save Reading Rainbow. How can we say no?

Update: Burton reached his $1 million goal in the first day of his 35-day Kickstarter campaign.

Christopher Zumski Finke Mug

Christopher Zumski Finke wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas and practical actions. Christopher blogs about pop culture and is editor of The Stake. Follow him on Twitter at @christopherzf.

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