J Carlo Gorgone | Why We Still Need Reading Rainbow - J Carlo Gorgone
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Reading Rainbow

Why We Still Need Reading Rainbow

Reading Rainbow has been entertaining and educating children for over twenty years. But when the show was cancelled in 2006, an entire generation of young readers missed out on the opportunity to adventure through its imagination with LeVar Burton as its guide. As a fan of the show and someone who learned to love reading from the first moment he heard that oh so memorable “Butterfly in the sky…”, I was so excited to hear that LeVar Burton and the folks at Reading Rainbow started a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to bring Reading Rainbow to children in schools across America.

Even though the television show hasn’t aired a new episode in eight years, the folks at Reading Rainbow have been vigorously advancing the world of elementary education with their free iPad app, launched in 2012, and persistent promotion of child learning in other media (such as television cameos and other appearances). Their latest campaign promises to bring reading to every child everywhere, a lofty goal for sure. However, the strides they’ve made so far prove to me that 100% literacy in America is certainly within our reach.

Reading Rainbow

LeVar Burton introducing the Reading Rainbow app at the Bronx Zoo in 2012.

Since the Kickstarter campaign launched, Reading Rainbow has already tripled its original goal of $1 million. It’s newest goal ($5 million) will allow Reading Rainbow to launch on multiple platforms such as mobile, Android, Xbox, AppleTV, Roku, Amazon, and Playstation. Reading Rainbow has already raised enough money to make its content available on the iPad and on the Web–and with its new goal of $5 million, Reading Rainbow‘s content will be available to children in over 7,500 classrooms across the country. What’s the best part of all this? The funds raised will ensure that children will have access to a large library of books and other literacy programs without any cost to the schools!

I don’t think there’s any doubt that making an investment in our children’s future isn’t the most important decision we’ll ever make as a society. Right now one in four kids will grow up illiterate, and children who can’t read by fourth grade are 400% more likely to drop out of high school. If that’s not reason enough to invest in this incredible campaign, then I don’t know what is.

Reading is fundamental skill all children should have, and if kids can learn to love it from an early age, all the better. If the last two weeks are any indication, Reading Rainbow will reach its $5 million dollar goal. And I for one will be proud to call myself a contributor to our children’s future.

You can donate to Reading Rainbow‘s campaign here.

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