LeVar Burton Kickstarts Reading Rainbow and Exceeds $1M Goal within 24 Hours


LeVar Burton is on a mission to educate the next generation and change the world for every child, everywhere through literacy. He launched a campaign last Wednesday on the popular crowd-funding site Kickstarer, with the hopes of raising $1Million dollars to bring back the Reading Rainbow learning experience.

The campaign introduced the newly re-imagined Reading Rainbow digital media platform, which features an unlimited library of acclaimed children’s books and video field trips. Within 24 hours the campaign had surpassed the suggested $1Million dollar goal which was originally set to 35 days of fundraising.

If you aren’t an 80s Baby that grew up in the 90s like myself, then you probably won’t be familiar with LeVar Burton or the Reading Rainbow. But not to worry I’ve got the Street Intell.

LeVar Burton is a well-known actor, director, producer, author and tv host. In the early 80s he was associated with the popular mini-series, Roots as the lead character Kunta Kinte. He was also a character on the beloved science fiction TV-series, Star Trek: The Next Generation. And of course he was the host of one of PBS networks most popular educational broadcasts, Reading Rainbow.

Reading Rainbow is a educational program that aired on the PBS network for much of the 1990s on into the late 2000s. The shows’ premise was centered around fun ways to engage children in reading books. In the show, Burton was in charge of narrating some of the most popular children’s books of the time; as well as taking viewers on  exciting and informative adventure field trips. The field trips were backstage tours of real world proffessions that coincided with the content presented in the featured books.

After the shows cancelation in the late 2000s LeVar and his business partner bought the rights to the Reading Rainbow name and formed their own company; committing themselves to continuing the legacy of the illustrious literacy brand. In an interview with Mediabistro  Burton states how “the [Reading Rainbow] brand has not outlived its usefulness.” As a result of this awareness Burton has used his celebrity in a big way, not only  has he brought back Reading Rainbow in a new app but he’s committed  himself to taking the Reading Rainbow brand into the uncharted territory of new media.

Growing up in an era of reading buddies, book fairs,  and library cards I am please to know that LeVar Burton has picked up the torch and carries on the legacy of empowering children and their families to share in the love of literacy.

Take a trip down memory lane with me and check out this mini flashback of Reading Rainbow and as always don’t forget to leave your comments below: