For three decades, Reading Rainbow helped inspire joy in reading and books for generations of children. A new app aims to reboot the popular children’s program.

Reading_rainbow2ndlogoFrom 1983 to 2009, the nonprofit PBS television program Reading Rainbow helped improve children’s literacy with fun and interactive skits led by actor LeVar Burton.

“But you don’t have to take my word for it.”

If you remember Burton’s famous catchphrase, you might get sentimental watching his new Kickstarter campaign to help teach children how to read.

The Kickstarter campaign pledge was $1 million. At the time this article was written, over $3.2 million had been raised.

(Next page: How your donations will impact children’s literacy)

reading rainbow

After the show’s cancellation, Burton acquired the Reading Rainbow license, and with his business partner repackaged the popular television show under a new name, RRKidz.

In 2012, a new Reading Rainbow app was launched for children to access digital stories. Donations to Burton’s Kickstarter campaign will allow RRKidz to expand its digital content and mobile app to not only on kids at home, but to children in the classroom as well.

“We’re creating an unlimited library of books and video field trips for today’s digitally connected kids,” says Burton, who insists that the Reading Rainbow app will be free for classrooms.

Burton states that the money will go towards three areas:

  • Develop a web-enabled reading for the home.
  • Create a classroom version with tools our teachers need.
  • Subsidize cost for disadvantaged schools to use Reading Rainbow for free.

Expectations are high that this project will deliver on its proposed goals. Watch Burton’s emotional reaction after raising $1 million within the first 24 hours.

What impact do you think this Kickstarter campaign will have for a new generation of children? Share your thoughts in the comments section below and by joining the conversation on Twitter @Michael_eSM.