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A Rainbow That Reads

Do you remember turning on PBS in the 80s and having a strong desire to read a book? If you ever watched The Reading Rainbow, the answer is definitively “yes”.

The Reading Rainbow was created in part to counter the “summer loss” concept. Research demonstrated that students’ reading scores plummeted each year after the long summer break. The show’s creators believed that encouraging kids to read throughout the summer would help combat summer loss.

The Reading Rainbow first appeared on the air in 1983. The show’s stated goal was not to teach kids how to read, but instead to encourage them to love to read. This would be accomplished by following three basic objectives:

  1. Read to kids out loud.
  2. Involve kids in the reading experience.
  3. Encourage kids to talk to each other about reading.

Over 25 individuals were interviewed and considered for the coveted host role. Scott Baio and Bill Cosby were included in that mix. However, it was decided that LeVar Burton was perfect for the role. He had recently finished the groundbreaking TV series Roots and was a national sensation.

The Reading Rainbow went on to win 26 Emmy’s and 1 Peabody Award. And more recently, it received a little love from Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show. Enjoy!



Portions of this article were curated from the following:

http://mentalfloss.com/article/93884/take-look-oral-history-reading-rainbow

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