My brother set me on the road to bibliophilia by teaching me to read dinosaur books at age two, but it was LeVar Burton who guided me down that path with his Reading Rainbow. I consider the television show to be a major part of my childhood and even created a little bookclub in its honour. But Reading Rainbow never meant more to me than when I had children with whom I could share my love of reading.
But you don’t have to take my word for it.
You can check with the 40,000 and counting backers who helped fund the Bring Reading Rainbow Back for Every Child, Everywhere Kickstarter within eleven hours of its announcement.
In the first project update, Mark & The Reading Rainbow Team wrote:
We all dreamed and believed we could hit $1,000,000 in the 35 days of the campaign…but never, ever did we imagine you would get us there in 11 hours.
The moment my friends alerted me to this, I immediately donated. While we chatted about how much Reading Rainbow meant to us as youngsters, we watched the funding numbers rise in leaps and bounds. LeVar Burton himself was doing the same, as the project neared the one million mark, and offered a tearful thank you to every supporter.
It was my mother who taught me that, by picking up a book, I could “go anywhere” and “be anything.” Ever since Reading Rainbow began in 1983, I have dedicated myself to fostering a love of reading in children, just as my mother did for me.
~ LeVar Burton
Literacy is an important privilege that no child should be denied. With the successful funding, the team intends to bring Reading Rainbow‘s digital collection of books and video field trips to more devices (it is currently only available to Apple users) as well as launching a new web-based version of the program. The ultimate goal is to make Reading Rainbow available to children in every home, and free in every classroom.
The Kickstarter is approaching the two million dollar mark as I’m writing this, and I can’t help but join Mr. Burton in his happy tears. It is thrilling to see that so many people share my love of reading, and want to share that with others. And we were all inspired by a butterfly in the sky.