Go ahead and start singing, we did so too. “Take a look. It’s in a book… reading rainbow.” The man who made reading fun for every child back in 80s with “Reading Rainbow” is back to reach another generation. LeVar Burton kicked off his Kickstarter campaign today and is asking for supporters to help him reach today’s youth where they’re at – online.
The 26 Emmy award-winning show aired from 1983 – 2006 with reruns airing until 2009. Just a few years back in 2012, Burton launched a Reading Rainbow ipad application which has had almost 15 million books read and videos watched. It is currently, the No.1 educational app for kids.But that isn’t enough as Burton notes not all kids, especially low-income students, own a tablet. The Kickstarter campaign is hoping to raise $1 million to bring a new version of the show, an unlimited library of interactive books and virtual field trips to anyone with internet access.
Burton’s plans reach far beyond the net. While he desires at-home and on the go use, he will also offer a classroom-specific version for teachers. This educator-version will be given freely to at least 1,500 classrooms in low-income communities.
On his Kickstarter page, Burton shares facts that bring light to the state of illiteracy in the country. One out of every four children in America will grow up illiterate and studies reveal that children who can’t read at grade level by the 4th grade are 400% more likely to drop out of high school.
Want to donate? The campaign is offering donors a variety of prizes, including tickets to the “Reading Rainbow Live” reading tour to a picnic lunch with Burton in Los Angeles. The campaign, which went live Wednesday morning, has already received over $650,000 from over 13,500 backers.
In the charming video Burton states, ” Thirty minutes on TV was yesterday’s world. In today’s world, today’s kids want today’s technology. Reading Rainbow has always been made possible, as the saying goes, ‘by viewers like you.’ So together we truly can bring Reading Rainbow back for every child, every where. Together we can create and deliver a proven tool for encouraging the love of reading to millions of children.”
Burton hopes to reach his goal by July 2nd, hear his pitch:
May 29, 2014 Update: Levar Burton didn’t need a month. He didn’t even need more than a day! Burton has reached his $1 million goal in just 11 hours and still going. As we last checked Burton was up to $1.8 million in donations and still has 34 days to go! You can still support the initiative.