LeVar Burton Launches Kickstarter Campaign to Bring Back Reading Rainbow

LeVar Burton wants you to open a book—and your wallet. The actor, 57, is on a mission to resurrect the beloved, Emmy-winning children’s television series Reading Rainbow, which he hosted on PBS from 1983 to 2006. To do this, he’s launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise $1 million, which will be used to revive the show as a web series and classroom tool.

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On Wednesday, May 28, the Star Trek: The Next Generation alum announced his plans for Reading Rainbow 2.0 in a fun little Kickstarter video, complete with snippets of the program’s famed theme song. (“Butterflies in the sky,” anyone?)

LeVar Burton
Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty

“Ever since the show went off the air in 2009, I’ve heard from so many people on Twitter, Facebook, and people that I meet on the street every day, that quality, trusted educational content is fairly scarce in the current media landscape—that Reading Rainbow needs to come back for today’s kids,” he says in the video. “But what does that mean? Thirty minutes on TV was yesterday’s world. In today’s world, today’s kids want today’s technology.” 

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With that in mind, Burton launched a Reading Rainbow iPad app two years ago. He’s now looking to expand to the web, and to individual classrooms, to bring the program to kids all over the globe for free. 

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As of Wednesday afternoon, more than $800,000 of the $1 million goal had been pledged by nearly 18,000 backers. Rewards for donors include Reading Rainbow memorabilia, a meet-and-greet at the Star Trek convention in Las Vegas, Reading Rainbow Live tickets, and a private dinner with Burton. 

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“Let’s do this, y’all,” the Roots actor says in the Kickstarter vid. “Reading Rainbow is back, for every child, everywhere…but you don’t have to take my word for it.”

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