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'Reading Rainbow' $1-million Kickstarter goal reached in a day

By Sylvannia Soulet     May 29, 2014 in Internet
An emotional LeVar Burton reaches out to express his gratitude on Youtube when his campaign to bring back Reading Rainbow hits its goal of $1 million in only a day.
Burton’s pie in the sky just reached twice as high.
On Wednesday, former visor-wearing sci-fi alum LeVar Burton took to Kickstarter to ask for help in funding an initiative to bring Reading Rainbow “to the next generation” of youths. However, Burton aspires to revive the program in a medium outside of its television roots.
"In 2014, TV is not that place anymore,” he wrote on the Kickstarter page. “Now, we’re trying to reach a new generation of digital natives."
Burton’s intent is to launch Reading Rainbow as an online platform that both children and educators can access from the Internet. Some may recall that Reading Rainbow was originally relaunched as an iPad app in 2012; now Burton wishes to expand the project’s reach even further.
According to an interview Burton gave on the Verge: "Only about 33 percent have access to tablet computing" in the United States. That’s in comparison to the overwhelming majority of families in America (97 percent!) which are connected to the Internet.
Burton has three goals in mind in regards to the project: to reach a wider audience of children, to have Reading Rainbow be used as an educational tool by teachers, and to offer the resources for free to less fortunate classrooms across the country.
Burton approximates that one in four children are illiterate, and that the stats are only going to get worse as the American government gets increasingly hesitant to subsidize education. A subscription will otherwise cost $60 a year for access to the web-based series and its comprehensive collection of interactive books and video field trips.
The original fundraising target was to raise $1 million by July 2nd, and is sweetened with many incentives (or “perks”) to donate, including meet-and-greet appearances, private dinner with Burton, and even a once-in-a-lifetime chance to wear the actual chrome visor of Geordi La Forge, the blind character that Burton played in Star Trek: the Next Generation. Not only has the goal been surpassed on the first day, but at the time of this article’s publication, the campaign has more than doubled its donations, steadily creeping towards the $2.5-million mark; according to the Kickstarter page, new stretch goals are to be added soon.
By Wednesday evening, Burton recorded the pivotal moment when the campaign breached seven-figure territory. He looked overwhelmed as he expressed his teary-eyed gratitude to the thousands of backers who had made it possible – as PBS might have coined it, “viewers like you”.
Reading Rainbow is a popular children’s television show that aired from 1983 until 2009. LeVar Burton was the program’s energetic host, instilling into his young viewers a genuine love and interest in storytelling and books. Over the show’s 26-year run, it has acquired 26 Emmys and a Peabody award, amongst other critical acclaim. Reading Rainbow is the third longest-running show on PBS, bested only by Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and Sesame Street.
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