Actor LeVar Burton wants Kickstarter to help a new generation of youth fall in love with the world of books.
Burton wants to breath new life into Reading Rainbow — the Emmy Award-winning children’s television classic that taught a generation of kids to love reading — on the web.
Now all he needs is a million bucks.
The popular PBS series ran from 1983 to 2006, featuring kids and celebrities reading books in segments that emphasized the importance of strong literacy skills. Public television networks across the country stopped airing repeats in 2009.
The world has changed a lot since Reading’s Reagan era heyday, but the relevance of the show’s main objective remains resounding, LeVar told The Verge Wednesday. He’s launched a $1 million Kickstarter campaign (similar to the one that finally got the long-anticipated Veronica Mars into theaters earlier this year) in hopes that die-hard Reading Rainbow fans will help him bring the small screen classic to the desktop…laptop…iPad…you get the picture.
“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.”
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.
So far, the fundraiser is off to a rousing start. LeVar and Co. have already raised nearly $600,000.
If LeVar does manage to resurrect the show, we’ve got five bucks that says he uses Jimmy Fallon’s Jim Morrison-inspired version of the Reading Rainbow theme song!