Crossing Back Over: ‘Reading Rainbow’ Revitalized

Remember Reading Rainbow? As a kid I lived for those 30 minutes each week when my teacher would wheel in the TV, pop in the VHS tape, and LeVar Burton would take us to other worlds through books.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about (or would like a good bout of nostalgia), watch this:

YouTube Channel: Reading Rainbow

Besides the catchy theme song (remixed or not), this program has been offering a gateway to other worlds, reliable knowledge, and an inspiration for reading new and different stories for more than 30 years. Their mission statement “is to ignite the love of learning in children.”

Great news is: LeVar (also a famous Star Trek actor) is now an author and is still going strong promoting Reading Rainbow’s Skybrary – a new site and application launched in 2015 that is constantly developing to inspire young readers. After the Reading Rainbow show ended in 2009, the RRKidz team began a Kickstarter campaign to extend their scope. Now the site has gone beyond the lovely interactive eBooks – of actual texts in print – to also have videos of places and scenarios to enhance learning.

Skybrary Overview:

YouTube Channel: Reading Rainbow

Subscriptions are available for both schools and families. If you can’t afford that, the app still offers some free books. They are adding new interactive stories all the time. What I find most impressive is Reading Rainbow’s ability to offer such authentic insight to people that otherwise might never experience such places and stories.

Skybrary for Schools:

YouTube Channel: Reading Rainbow

Richard C. D., a 5th grade student at an international school in Germany said, “I very much liked Skybrary because I could access different genres of books and read them directly on the website.”

If you’d like to compare this technological enhancement with one of the original full shows, here is an example:

YouTube Channel: RareTV

As a school librarian, I personally witnessed students ages 3-10 enjoy the various features of our subscription to the site. It has such a variety of benefits, including promoting digital literacy. I felt fulfillment in knowing I could help pass on this inspiration. I attribute much of my curiosity about the world and my wanderlust to explore it to books!

YouTube Channel: Reading Rainbow


Featured image via PRI

h/t Reading Rainbow