Historic “Reading Rainbow” Kickstarter Hits $1 Million Goal

LeVar Burton has a lot of backing in his bid to bring Reading Rainbow into the Internet age. The children’s television classic will likely be making a comeback after its longtime host launched a Kickstarter campaign to revive the show on the web.

LeVar hit his $1 million goal — and then some. Less than 24 hours after its launch Wednesday morning, Burton had already amassed more than $1.5 million.

At press time, donors had pledged nearly $1.8 million to resurrect Reading Rainbow. The Reading Rainbow fundraiser joins the effort to bring teen gumshoe Veronica Mars to the Movies as the second ever Kickstarter campaign to reach its goal on the day of its launch.

The original Reading Rainbow premiered on PBS in 1983, featuring kids and celebrities reading books in segments that emphasized the importance of strong literacy skills. The show was cancelled in 2006; public television networks across the country stopped airing repeats three years later.

LeVar envisions two new versions of Reading Rainbow, with one designed specifically for the classroom. Users must pay an annual subscription fee of about $60. Additionally, he wants to set up a non-profit organization that will distribute Reading Rainbow to schools in underserved communities at no cost.

Burton told The Verge this week:

“You take advantage of where kids are. Back in the ’80s that was in front of the television set. Today, you have to have access to the web. Universal access is really what this effort is all about.”

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