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UPDATE (5/30/14 12:00pm): In less than 48 hours the “Reading Rainbow” Kickstarter campaign more than doubled their goal and hit $2 million dollars! As of right now the campaign is currently at $2,731,373  raised from 61,864 backers and there’s still 33 days left to go!


If you’re a ’80s baby you likely learned how to read or developed an affinity for some of your favorite child books while watching the PBS series “Reading Rainbow.” Well now the Peabody and Emmy Award-winning program, that ran on TV from 1983-2006, is coming back thanks to a Kickstarter campaign that hit its goal of $1 million dollars in just one day!

Actor LeVar Burton, the show’s host for its entire run, organized the campaign to “bring Reading Rainbow’s unlimited library of interactive books and video field trips to kids everywhere & help classrooms most in need.”  The Kickstarter page had a goal of raising a million dollars by June 2, but thanks to some 23, 0000 backers it hit goal in just 11 hours on May 28.

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As the campaign noted, right now 1 and 4 kids in the U.S. will grow up illiterate and children who can’t read at grade level by 4th grade are 400% more likely to drop out of high school.  “Reading Rainbow” previously used TV to help bridge the gap and loop children into the joys of reading (I affectionately remember discovering classic Black children’s books like “Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters,” and “Amazing Grace” which are still favorites today!). But for a new generation, the reboot will focus on the digital platform, building off of its successful 2012 tablet app filled with interactive books and video and expanding to more digital platforms.

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“Just being on tablets simply won’t get the job done for way too many of our families,” Burton said in an initial video promoting the campaign. “This Kickstarter campaign is about reaching every web-connected child. Universal access. Thousands of more books than what we have now. And hundreds of more video field trips.”

With 34 days to go in the campaign and currently $1,784,814 — and counting — in funds raised, the Reading Rainbow brand is perfectly poised to educate a whole new generation of readers!

“I’m overwhelmed, thank you so much” Burton said through tears in an updated  video message on the Kickstarter page. “This is going to allow us to do so much. I am so proud that this community came together to do this effort.”

It’s not too late to donate! Click here to visit the “Reading Rainbow” Kickstarter page which will be up through July 2.

Now sing along for nostalgia’s sake (because you know you still remember the words!):

“Butterfly in the skyyyyy….” 


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