Reading Rainbow rises from the ashes
Philip Ellison 02 July, 2014 at 12:07
As of Monday, the revival of Reading Rainbow, the beloved educational children’s show, is officially the most backed project on Kickstarter. It has even fared better than that other resurrected TV favourite, Veronica Mars, which was brought back in movie form by fans last year
For long time Rainbow host LeVar Burton (who some of you may know as Geordie), this campaign is much more than a passion project. “One in four children in America are growing up functionally illiterate,” he says, “and that is a situation that is completely unacceptable… I believe that we should all be part of the solution.”
Reading Rainbow might have been off the air for eight years, but Burton has been busy. In 2012 he launched a tablet app designed to improve children’s reading abilities both in school and at home. With Kickstarter’s help, he intends to expand on the app’s success, and create literacy programming across all platforms.
The original donation target of $1 million was reached in just 11 hours. The project will end on Wednesday, and at the time of writing this has racked up over $4,717,000 in donations. Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane is just one of the campaign’s supporters; he has pledged to match every dollar donated after $4 million, up to a total of $5 million. Reading Rainbow has also attracted support from Kickstarter’s other best-performing projects, with Pebble, OUYA, Pono and Veronica Mars all offering rewards from their own campaigns to new backers.
If the project reaches $5 million, Burton has promised to build apps for just about every platform going – iOS, Android, Xbox, Playstation, Apple TV and Roku – and says 75,000 classrooms will have free access to Reading Rainbow. With less than 24 hours to go, and the donations still flying in, it looks like Burton will have to put his money where his mouth is.