Monday, September 26, 2011

A New Kind of Reading Rainbow

A little over two years ago, PBS announced the ending of the beloved television show Reading Rainbow. Now, host LeVar Burton is bringing it back in a new medium, according to GalleyCat:
Reading Rainbow host LeVar Burton has raised funds for a follow-up to his beloved public television show, a series of smartphone and tablet enhanced eBooks for kids. His new company is called RRKidz.

The new website includes Burton’s trademark slogan from the show: “Coming Soon … but you don’t have to take my word for it.” Burton summarized the show with a twitter hashtag: “Reading Rainbow for today’s connected kids.”

Here’s more from FishbowlLA: “Fifteen months after indicating to New York Times columnist David Pogue at a Macworld event that he was raising money for a start-up, actor LeVar Burton is fully focused on the twain of education and enhanced children’s e-books. He tells Venture Beat that his company RRKidz has got $3 million in seed funding and is compiling a library of 300 iPad and Smartphone titles, with roughly 50 of those to be voiced by Burton himself. The actor is partnered on the project with Buffalo’s WNED-TV, rights-holder to the 1983-2006 PBS series Reading Rainbow.”

See the original post HERE

I'm impressed and excited by Burton's initiative here. It makes me happy to see that he's so much more than just a host and really invested in Reading Rainbow's goals and mission statement.

Yay for reading!


  1. I vaguely remember watching Reading Rainbow. But I read above my grade level so I feel like I was bored by the show sometimes. I'm glad that new generations though will have a chance to get at this.

    I just worry about the technology gap. Part of me feels that the kids who might really need this sort of thing won't have access to the tech to participate.

  2. Oooh that's a really interesting point. The television show was pretty widespread--even if you didn't have cable you could usually arrange those bunny ears to get reception.

    These apps will require enough financial stability to afford an iPad or a Smartphone, something kids in danger of illiteracy most likely don't have access to. :(

    Hmmm...there is fundraising happening in my head LOL

  3. My oldest son loved Reading Rainbow, he used to ask for Read Row when he was 18 months old.

    I can't wait to see what Burton does with this, my kids love the apps on the Ipad and our smartphones. The only problem is the cost of these devices, there is no way I will let my kids hold one without me standing right there. One good drop on the ground and the phone or Ipad can break. Children can get very...enthusiastic with such things.

    If I had my choice between using an app or reading a real book aloud to my kids, I'll pick the real book. Especially if I have to be right there supervising the use.

    There are some great devices already out there geared for kids. There's the Bugsby that is a pen that takes cartridges and interacts with the books tied to the chips. The pen knows what page the kid is on and has different settings depending on reading level.

    It will be interesting to see what Burton does with this and the direction it goes.