« Louis C.K. Offers Another Take on Public Education | Main | Maya Angelou Urged Teachers to 'Go Forward' With Flair, Passion, and Humor »

'Reading Rainbow' Aims High With New Kickstarter Campaign


"Reading Rainbow," with its infectious theme song and simple premise, became a powerhouse for teaching a love for books when it launched in the '80s.

Cancelled in 2006 after over two decades on air, the show has found new life as an app for tablets. Today, actor LeVar Burton, the show's original host, launched a Kickstarter project looking to raise $1 million with which he hopes to expand the program's reach.

The Reading Rainbow app costs nothing, but the content comes with a subscription cost: $9.99 per month or $29.99 for six months.

The Kickstarter funding would allow Burton's company, RRKIDZ, to develop a version of the program for the Web, significantly expanding the number of families able to access it. In addition, the money would allow development of a specialized classroom version, which would purportedly be offered for free to teachers in low-income schools. (The campaign pledges this for at least 1,500 classrooms.)

"It's a huge undertaking, and I can't do it alone, nor frankly, should I have to," Burton says in his Kickstarter video. "'Reading Rainbow' has always been made possible, as the saying goes, by viewers like you."

Lofty though the goal may be, Burton has a natural charisma that should combine well with our collective love of TV nostalgia. (For instance: The "Veronica Mars" movie, based on the short-lived TV show, raised $5.7 million on Kickstarter.) And as added bonus, the first five people to shell out $10,000 will get to meet Burton for dinner and wear the visor he sported as Geordi La Forge on "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Set your phasers to fun! There are also rewards specifically aimed at helping schools, including an assembly with Burton himself.

I, meanwhile, am still waiting for someone to bring back "Wishbone." Such big imagination, on such a little pup ...

UPDATE (May 30, 2014):  Talk about going twice as high: The Kickstarter campaign surged past $1 million in less than 24 hours, and now hovers just below $3 million. The campaign also released a video featuring Burton and his staff waiting as their initiative crossed the $1 million threshold. Things got a little emotional.

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Follow This Blog


Most Viewed On Teacher



Recent Comments