If you were a fan of Reading Rainbow as a child, and miss having the opportunity to share it with your kids or with a new generation of young readers, you’re not alone. When Reading Rainbow officially stopped airing, LeVar Burton noted on Twitter that this wouldn’t be the end of the show (you can follow him, if you don’t already at @levarburton) and now he’s made good on the promise.
LeVar is rebooting the series as an iPad app and other tech-based resources, called RRKidz, along with a wealth of companion content that will get to young readers right where they are these days: on mobile devices like tablets. From an excellent article at FastCompany about this:
LeVar Burton, a children’s literacy advocate and a former star of Star Trek: The Next Generation, plans to make an ambitious comeback, giving the once-loved Reading Rainbow brand a 21st-century upgrade. Burtonâ€™s for-profit venture, RRKidz, plans to launch an educational iPad app that lets children explore topics of interest–such as, say space–in a multimedia-rich environment, with voice-over-enhanced children’s books, familiar videos of Burton at real-life places (like NASA), and, of course, games. Burton tells Fast Company heâ€™s on a mission to “get kids hooked on books,” and says his company is “going to where kids are today; those devices that they love to spend time on.”
From the way that FastCompany explains it, this is just the beginning – the iPad app is only going to be one component in what will hopefully be a rich and long-lived educational venture, and with LeVar Burton behind it, I can’t see how it’ll be anything but wonderful.