What the Public School System Can Learn from LeVar Burton and Reading Rainbow

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My childhood has just been revived thanks to LeVar Burton, his new vision, and $1 million dollars.

The former Reading Rainbow star initiated a Kickstarter campaign to help revive the classic children’s show online. The former PBS series ran from 1983 to 2006 and has already reached it’s $1 million dollar goal after only one day of fundraising.

“We can genuinely change the world, one children’s book at a time,” the Star Trek actor recently said in a video announcement of his project. “Reading Rainbow is back for every child, everywhere.”

For me, it’s funny how our public school systems can’t find the funds to adequately give our children the classroom tools they need, yet the children of my generation are able to dig a little deeper into their pockets to help fund an old-time classic that not only brings great childhood memories, but reignites a love for reading books.

With today’s schools putting so much emphasis on test results and the Common Core (along with the No Child Left Behind initiative that’s leaving every child behind), I’m more than thrilled to see Reading Rainbow potentially reintroduced to children and teaching them that all they really need is a book and a good story to bring them into a world full of intriguing characters and faraway places. That’s what making childhood memories is supposed to be all about, right?

I mean, the message of Reading Rainbow was simple: Books are awesome and reading helps improve your life. “Take a look, it’s in a book” is a line that I’m sure every millennial can still recite until this day. Personally, I just wish that our school administrators would realize that education should be simple, fun, and most of all, engaging for our young children. I’m sure kids could learn so much more from a few short episodes of Reading Rainbow than a heavy, pencil-and-paper lesson in the classroom.

Meanwhile, the Internet basically exploded with positive commentary and 30- and 40-year-old Reading Rainbow fans that are not only looking forward to the new episodes, but reliving old ones, too.

As a parent, I’m extremely excited about the return of one of my favorite series as a child and can’t wait to re-watch episodes with my 6-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son.

As LeVar himself simply said: “If you spend time outside, why not take along a good book. Head to the park or sit under your favorite tree and read.” This is a message I wish schools would send to our kids, too.

LeVar, welcome back. We’ve needed you.

Photos via YouTube.com

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