On Friday, August 28, the award winning children’s program Reading Rainbow aired its final episode. It marked the end of an era. For the past 26 years, host LeVar Burton has introduced countless children worldwide to the joys of reading. In that time the show has been the recipient of over 250 awards, including 26 Emmys (ten for “Outstanding Children’s Series”), a Peabody, and nine Parent’s Choice Awards. While the show stopped producing new episodes in 2006, PBS had continued to air reruns until last month, when lack of funding made it impossible for them to renew the show’s broadcast rights. This unfortunate happenstance is at least partially due to a paradigm shift in children’s literacy work which asserts that the focus should be on teaching the mechanics of reading instead of attempting to foster a love of books, as Reading Rainbow did (See the NPR article for more on this).
The Library has many Reading Rainbow videos available for checking out. Additionally, the Reading Rainbow section of the PBS kids website is still running and will remain accessible until December 2009.
I was a huge fan of the show as a kid, and though it has been many, many years since I last had the pleasure of viewing it, I still remember the words to the theme song. I bet you do too.
Correction: originally, this post said that the Reading Rainbow series was not available at the Library. This was a mistake, and has been corrected above. Thanks to the readers who pointed this out to us!