If you loved Reading Rainbow as a kid, now you can help a whole new generation enjoy it too. Star Trek actor and original host LeVar Burton is trying to bring the beloved program back to life online, but he needs the assistance of the public to do it.
Burton opened a Kickstarter campaign to raise money so he can create a Reading Rainbow web series and lower the shocking illiteracy rate in the U.S. He explained his dream in a video on the crowdfunding site.
"Right now, one out of every four children in America will grow up illiterate," Burton explained. "And: Numerous studies reveal that children who can't read at grade level by the 4th grade are 400 percent more likely to drop out of high school.
"And: As of 2011, America was the only free-market country where the current generation was less well-educated than the previous. These problems won't solve themselves. Real change will require us all to work together. We cannot afford to lose generations of children to illiteracy. And if we work together, we don't have to."
While Burton created a Reading Rainbow app two years ago, he said it isn't enough to reach the kids who really need it.
"First, not all families have access to tablets," he said. "Our goal is to cultivate a love of reading in all children, not just those that have tablets. To reach kids everywhere, we need to be everywhere: we need to be on the web.
"Second, a resounding number of teachers have told me that they want Reading Rainbow in their classrooms, where they know it can make a difference. We will provide it, along with the tools that teachers need, including teacher guides, leveling and dashboards. And in disadvantaged classrooms, we'll provide it for free."
Burton's ultimate goal is to raise $1 million and put Reading Rainbow in over 1500 classrooms at no cost to schools.
How can you help? Visit the Reading Rainbow Kickstarter campaign page and donate what you can. Suggested donation amounts come with specific cool benefits, so check out the list near the bottom of the Kickstarter page.
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