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Posts Tagged ‘Reading Rainbow’

LeVar Burton: ‘We’re sacrificing our kids’

If everyone loved Reading Rainbow, why in the world was it taken off the air? Politics, says, host LeVar Burton.

“That’s the story that a lot of folks don’t get. No Child Left Behind is doing exactly that, and so the mandate is to teach kids how to read, the rudiments of reading, and there was no money in the budget to foster a love of reading,” he said in our Media Beat interview. “Look, we have spent so much money on the machinery of war in the last 10, 12 years, we are having to make really ridiculous choices. And we’re sacrificing our kids, literally sacrificing our kids.”

So, Burton and his business partner, Mark Wolfe, bought the rights to the name, launched a new company, RRKidz, and created the Reading Rainbow app featuring over 150 books, video field trips and classic clips from the TV show.

“We have value, a product that is of value for families, that is economic and full of the kind of enriching content that the brand, Reading Rainbow, has always been known for,” said Burton.

Part 1: LeVar Burton on the Future of Reading Rainbow & Printed Books
Part 3: LeVar Burton on How Science Fiction Influences Technology

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LeVar Burton on the Future of Reading Rainbow & Printed Books

Who didn’t love Reading Rainbow as a kid?  The iconic 80s show used songs, celebrities and video to actually make literature fun. Well, times they are a changin’, says the show’s onetime host, LeVar Burton.

“Television was the medium and the technology of its time in the 80s and 90s, but you know better than I do that this is the digital-native generation,” he explained in our latest Media Beat interview. “And they consume most of their screen time on mobile devices. That’s where we wanna be. If you want to be where they are, you’ve gotta be on a mobile device.”

Furthermore, Burton said, the days of printed books are also numbered. ”We’re looking at a future, whenever it comes, that we’re gonna consume most of the reading that we do on some kind of electronic device or another. We will still have printed books; they’ll never go away. I think our emotional attachment to them is too strong. What it will do, I believe though, is make the books that we own more valuable to us, more precious.”

(And watch the full interview for a freakin’ awesome homage to that beloved RR theme song.)

Part 2: LeVar Burton: By not focusing on reading, “We’re sacrificing our kids”
Part 3: LeVar Burton on How Science Fiction Influences Technology

Brooke Jackman Foundation Launches Summer Reading List

Celebrating the memory of a victim of the terrorist attacks on 9-11, the Brooke Jackman Foundation has launched its first annual summer reading list. Below, we’ve listed all the books selected by the foundation’s  advisory committee.

The committee includes actor Alec Baldwin, actress Jamie Lee Curtis, Reading Rainbow show creator Dr. Twila C. Liggett, literacy expert Dr. Gay Su Pinnell, and children’s authors Stephanie Calmenson and Katie Davis.

Here’s more from the release: “Each selected two of their favorite books – a favorite from their childhood and a second book that has become more relevant in their adulthood – and added an anecdotal line about their selections … The 12 books selected by the committee convey invaluable lessons about hope, loyalty and individuality.”

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