A Kickstarter.com projected titled: Bring Reading Rainbow Back for Every Child, Everywhere, began earlier today headed by its former host, LeVar Burton to bring the show back from its heyday to educate and enlighten a new generation of youth.
Within mere hours, the $1 million goal was surpassed, and is still climbing so quickly that to report an accurate figure now would be implausible.
Over 31,000 backers contributed to raising over $1.4 million in the project's first day alone, and with 34 days left to contribute, there will be no shortage of patrons to support the endeavor.
"It was my mother who taught me that, by picking up a book, I could "go anywhere" and "be anything." Burton wrote on the Kickstarter Project's web page. "Ever since Reading Rainbow began in 1983, I have dedicated myself to fostering a love of reading in children, just as my mother did for me."
In it's 23-year-run, Reading Rainbow accrued over 200 awards in broadcasting including a Peabody award and 26 Emmys. In 2012, an educational application was launched, and within 36 hours became the number 1 educational app on the market, surpassing 10 million books read by children in a mere 18-month run.
Reading Rainbow originally ran from June 6, 1983 until November 10, 2006 when the show came to a demise because of the financial troubles PBS was facing at the time, which LeVar confided to Trek Today in an interview.
The project offers some visual aid into why bringing back the programming matters in today's world, citing that 1 in 4 children in the US will reportedly grow up illiterate according to the graphic representation offered on the website, and children who can't read at grade level by 4th grade are 400 percent more likely to drop out of high school. Additionally, the site is quoted as reporting "...as of 2011, America was the only free-market country where the current generation was less well educated than the previous."
By bringing back the program, Reading Rainbow will be capable of utilizing social media and the internet to expand who it can reach and what sort of impact it can create, building a specialized classroom version, and even delivering the programming free to schools in need across the country.
"First, not all families have access to tablets." LeVar wrote of the challenges left to face in educating the youth of America. "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."
He continued by saying that a number of teachers have approached him about wanting Reading Rainbow in their classrooms, where they know it can make a difference. LeVar promised to provide this, along with tools that teachers would need, including guidelines, leveling, and dashboards, and that in disadvantaged classrooms, said services would be provided free of charge.
The Kickstarter team includes LeVar himself as Curator-in-Chief, Mark Wolfe, CEO and Writer/Director, Teri Rousseau, CMO and Educational Officer, and Jenni Buchanan, Reading Rainbow Mom.
You can get involved with the project by clicking here, and donating to the ongoing fund. Although the project has been fully funded already, every bit helps to ensure that Reading Rainbow can continue onward indefinitely, and expands how far it may be able to reach.