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How you can help bring back Reading Rainbow

Kickstarter has famously funded cool tech gadgets, small businesses and even feature films like Veronica Mars. Today, a Kickstarter launched that has the potential to benefit children around the world.

Update: The Reading Rainbow Kickstarter met its goal, making $1 million in 11 hours. The project continues to receive funding, with over 40,000 backers so far.

LeVar Burton hosted Reading Rainbow from 1983 to 2006. He wants to bring it back in a bigger and better way, and he’s asking fans to help. Whether you watched Reading Rainbow as a kid, you tuned in to Star Trek: The Next Generation or you’ve spent any amount of time online, you know LeVar Burton’s face. His new Kickstarter campaign plays on his fan-favorite status in an appeal to spread literacy.

Will fans make Reading Rainbow available to kids everywhere?

For those of us who grew up watching Reading Rainbow, it’s hard to imagine a PBS lineup without LeVar Burton’s smiling face and epic “field trips” into the world of books. Like most adults in my generation, I know the theme song by heart. I can actually remember exactly where I sat when I tuned in, excited to find out where Burton would take me next. The show ended in 2006 and reruns ended in 2009, leaving parents like myself seriously bummed out over having no way to share a childhood favorite with our own kids. In 2012, Reading Rainbow returned as an iPad app and skyrocketed to the top of the iTunes App Store. The problem is, not all children have access to an iPad. While those who do can enjoy the app and unlimited access to kids’ books, there’s no other way for kids to tune into the award-winning program.

Take a look, it’s on your PC or mobile device

That’s where the Reading Rainbow Kickstarter comes in. With Kickstarter funding, Burton will launch a web version of the popular app. Parents can subscribe to Reading Rainbow, giving their kids convenient PC access to books and educational videos. More importantly, Burn plans to make the Reading Rainbow web version available to over 1,500 classrooms in disadvantaged schools for free. According to the campaign, “Children who can’t read at grade level by the fourth grade are 400 percent more likely to drop out of high school.” With statistics like this in mind, it’s easy to see the benefit of any efforts to boost literacy in the classroom.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. Check out Reading Rainbow‘s cute Kickstarter pitch, and stay tuned until the very end if you’re a Star Trek: The Next Generation fan.

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