Help LeVar Burton bring Reading Rainbow to the web and classrooms


He was Kunta Kinte in Roots and Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: The Next Generation, but for a generation of kids growing up in the 1980's and 90's, LeVar Burton was the guy that did Reading Rainbow, which ran from 1983 - 2006.

Reading Rainbow was after my time but pretty much all of my younger friends speak fondly of the show, which aimed to foster a love of books and reading in kids. Now LeVar Burton is trying to bring it back, and he's turned to Kickstarter for help.

We're not talking about a new television show. Burton acknowledges that kids today are more apt to be on the web or playing around with a tablet than sitting in front of a TV. In fact there is already a Reading Rainbow app for the iPad. But what about kids in families that can't afford a tablet?

The Kickstarter project blew past its goal of $1 million in the first day. Hitting that figure means Burton and team can launch a new version of Reading Rainbow on the web. They'll also bring a specialized classroom version of Reading Rainbow to over 1,500 schools for free.

Past the initial $1 million goal, additional funds will let them bring the content to even more schools for free, so just because the goal has been met doesn't mean we shouldn't keep spreading the word and pushing that number higher!

Here's the video pitch. Stay to the end for a chuckle.

Pledge rewards run from little stuff like thank you tweets and bumper stickers up to (if your pockets are deep enough) a private dinner with Burton and a chance to wear his visor from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

How high do you think this Kickstarter will go? I think it'll hit $2 million easily and hopefully that'll mean 3000 schools get the program for free. Think it can go higher than that?

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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