Pop Culture

Kickstartable: Reading Rainbow on the Web

Raise your hand if you remember watching Reading Rainbow, or if the kids you babysat for did! Reading Rainbow is as iconic as Sesame Street or Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. I was excited when this Kickstarter was brought to my attention, because who doesn’t love LeVar Burton and Reading Rainbow? And yes, the theme song will now be in your head for the rest of the day.

Why does this nationally acclaimed, award winning brand need Kickstarter support? It’s because they have a BIG idea. Reading Rainbow wants to take its program online. As described in their Kickstarter pitch, Reading Rainbow first met children where they were, when they were in front of the television. Now that children are online, they need to meet them there as well.

This Kickstarter project will specifically raise funds for getting Reading Rainbow online, and getting its content available for free for children who need it most. Spoiler Alert: This project was fully funded in one day! How much do people love Reading Rainbow? Enough to pledge an excess of $1,000,000 in one day. This is enough to get the content on the web and into more than 1500 schools. The project alludes to some stretch goals, and if you think about it, more money should equal more accessibility for more children.

I was stunned to learn that 1 in 4 American children will grow up not learning how to read. It saddens me to think that as a nation, this generation is going to be less educated than the one that came before it. Reading Rainbow is a proven program that helps children connect to books in a unique way, and the more children who have access, the better. Click through to see their nifty infographic outlining the problem and their plan.

In addition to a good cause, there are several very fun donor thank yous for those you donate. There are Star Trek incentives, social media incentives, incentives for schools (Reading Rainbow! At your school! Can you imagine?) and more.

A couple of notes: LeVar Burton bought the rights to Reading Rainbow years ago, and now runs the brand in a for-profit model. Donations will go to RRKidz, Inc., not PBS. The Reading Rainbow app already exists, and a subscription is required to use it after your trial period is over. Donations will not bring Reading Rainbow back to television, even if you wish upon a star.

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