Growing up poor in America, I was the exact type of child PBS created Reading Rainbow for. In the 80’s I looked forward to Levar Burton‘s show and sang along with the catchy theme song, “Butterfly in the sky, I can fly twice as high. . .” I was the fifth child born into poverty to a single mother who could barely afford to feed us. However, she believed in education and taught all five of her children to learn and never stop learning. We were rarely allowed to watch TV, even though we were poor, it didn’t mean that it was OK for us to sit in front of a tube all day. Reading Rainbow and other PBS shows were on my approved watching list.
I can vividly remember the humid afternoons, climbing on top of my older sister’s twin bed and watching her tiny black and white TV. Through Reading Rainbow, I had the opportunity to go on many adventures inside books and see the world around me. The show gave me hope that one day I would be able to see all of those wonderful places on my own. Because of my mother’s love for books and the show, I thought reading was for the cool kids and did so every chance I could.
Every time I watched the show, I imagined that one day I would be on the show sharing my favorite book with the world. Although I was never on the show, the very first gift I bought my own kids when I found out I was pregnant was a book. My love for books continues to grow even now. I also majored in English in college because I want to share books with children around the world. My goal to write children’s books remains at the stop of my list.
To a kid without a dad, Levar Burton was one earthly figure who I imagined would be a great dad. He seemed so knowledgeable and fun and he looked like others within my community. I admired him a lot and I still do. Literacy gives people hope. Early literacy gives children; especially ones from low income communities, a place where they can imagine happiness outside of their four walls. Literacy teaches and reshapes generations.
One of the first lessons I taught my children was how to read, to me it was a gift that will forever continue to bless them throughout their lives. My heart felt full as I watched Levar Burton react to reaching his KickStarter goal. I almost feel his sincere emotion as he continues to be passionate about children who need to learn to love through books.
Thank you Mr. Burton for your passion. Thank you for dedicating your life to others.
My children have adored his Reading Rainbow app since 2012 and will continue to enjoy it for years to come. Blessings to him and all of the work that he will do to prepare children for the future.
Although Levar Burton has already reached his initial goal, he continues to raise money and has set a new goal of $5 million so that more schools can have access to this web educational tool for free.
3 of his Kickstarter goals are as follows:
- Develop a web-enabled Reading Rainbow for the home.
- Create a classroom version with the tools our teachers need.
- Subsidize cost so that the schools most in need can use Reading Rainbow for FREE.