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Take a look, it's in a book

May 29, 2014 - Craig Howell
"Butterfly in the sky, I can go twice as high."

Chances are if you were growing up anytime in the 1980s, 90s or even into the 2000s, you know the show to which those lyrics belong. For almost three decades, those words were heard at the beginning of every episode of Reading Rainbow, a television show hosted by actor LeVar Burton where viewers were magically transported into the pages of books and encouraged to read.

Generations of kids witnessed Burton's love of reading and, through the program, became just as enthusiastic about literacy. The show finished airing on television in 2009, leaving an empty space in the lives of many.

That's why it was really no surprise when I heard about a year ago that Burton was working to find ways to bring Reading Rainbow back so future generations could enjoy it just as much. The idea was not to focus on a television program, but instead to work on redeveloping the concept for the online age as a webshow. That's exactly what is happening as Burton launched a Kickstarter campaign this week to raise enough money to launch a webshow and a mobile app to feature the new Reading Rainbow and various extra, and possibly interactive, features.

It also wasn't a surprise when the goal of $1 million was reached in less than 24 hours, even though the deadline for fundraising isn't until early July.

For those unfamiliar with Kickstarter, it is a website where people can look to obtain funding for various types of projects. Some of launched webshows, others have created board games or raised money for some kind of social awareness program like providing water to people in third world countries. It's a new avenue to use for fundraising projects, and if you have enough people showing their support the results can be amazing.

Literacy is important and should be encouraged at the earliest age possible. It's great when there are multiple avenues to assist kids in learning to read and finding new ways to enjoy it. Whether it be in an actual book, a newspaper or some electronic format of those media, reading helps to inform, teach and lead to temporary escapes simply by flipping through a few pages at a time.

It is good to know Reading Rainbow and LeVar Burton will be around for a while longer to help foster that same enjoyment of reading my generation and those who have come after have been able to experience.


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