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LeVar Burton Is Bringing ‘Reading Rainbow’ to the Web


05.28.14 Sophie Weiner

It’s been a rough few days, full of death, grief and depressing news regarding the future. In this atmosphere, LeVar Burton’s new Kickstarter campaign to bring Reading Rainbow to the web is a welcome relief.

Burton’s endearingly silly video finds him walking into a school where teachers and children are rendered speechless by shock that the LeVar Burton is in their presence, one of them even giving him the Vulcan salute. Burton sets out his goal: to bring millions of interactive books and videos online, and to create a teaching program for classrooms to be distributed for free to schools in need. All this can be accomplished, as he points out, by viewers like you.

An infographic on the Kickstarter page delivers some upsetting truths – a staggering one in four children in the US will grow up illiterate, and children reading below grade level at age four have a 400% higher chance of dropping out of high school. But this is countered by a less depressing statistic: Reading Rainbow won 26 Emmy’s in it’s time on the air. Killing it, LeVar.

By donating to the Kickstarter you can expect prizes like tickets to see Reading Rainbow live in your city, or even a dinner with LeVar. On a day when we lost such a legendary literary figure, it’s comforting to imagine supporting the future of reading and creativity for children the world over.