I won’t write a second post in a single week very often, but I think something like this warrants it.
There’s a Kickstarter campaign that’s really taken off, and I couldn’t be more excited about it. LeVar Burton has launched a campaign to bring back “Reading Rainbow” as an online series.
For those of you not familiar, “Reading Rainbow” was a TV series on American public television series that ran from 1983 to 2006, picking up multiple Emmys and a Peabody award. It was a show for kids exploring the wonderful world of reading. I really enjoyed the show as a kid, and maybe it’s because I’m looking through nostalgia goggles that are strapped on a bit too tight, but I couldn’t be more excited for this undertaking.
According to the campaign, 1 in 4 kids will grow up illiterate in the States, which contributes to a high high-school dropout rate, and that really limits opportunities for the generation to come. I won’t pretend I know the long-term consequences beyond that, but needless to say, it could be quite problematic.
The good news is, despite being off the air, “Reading Rainbow” still seems to be doing great work for kids. The campaign says the iPad app has seen nearly 15 million books read and videos watched. The crew behind the show and the app, though, aren’t ready to stop there.
What the campaign is trying to do is bring the series online and deliver it for free to the classrooms of 1,500 schools in need across the nation. As of this writing, the Kickstarter has 37,883 backers and has far exceeded its $1 million goal with $1.7 million in support. And I think that’s absolutely fantastic.
I taught myself to read as a kid, and I loved to learn. I still do, and I think “Reading Rainbow” deserves some credit for that. It helped me and countless other kids to see what reading could do. It made books come to life and spurred us all on to explore the worlds and possibilities the written word could open up.
There’s little that makes me happier than seeing kids get into books. It creates in them a thirst for knowledge and a zeal to educate themselves, see it as something that’s fun to do. They’ll find a subject or series of books that really sparks their interest., and when that takes off, who knows what could come of it? Maybe that child picking up a book at their library is the next great inventor. Maybe they’ll grow up to save lives, write history, make history. There’s no limit to what literacy can do for children; it gives them the keys to the world and all the knowledge within.
You can follow the campaign here, and if you’re feeling led to, I’d really encourage you to become a backer.
Thanks for reading, folks, and I’ll talk to you next week.
Photo credits: Kickstarter