21 user 1 critic

Reading Rainbow 

TV-Y | | Family | TV Series (1983– )
Levar Burton introduces young viewers to illustrated readings of children's literature and explores their related subjects.
3,637 ( 513)

Watch Now

With Prime Video





16   15   14   13   12   11   … See all »
2015   2012   2006   2005   … See all »
Nominated for 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 36 wins & 90 nominations. See more awards »


Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Family | Fantasy | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

Fred Rogers explores various topics for young viewers through presentations and music, both in his world and in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

Stars: Fred Rogers, Betty Aberlin, David Newell
Schoolhouse Rock! (1973–2009)
Animation | Family | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A series of shorts illustrating various songs that teach multiplication tables, grammar, science, American history, computers, economics, and environmentalism.

Stars: Bob Dorough, Jack Sheldon, Lynn Ahrens
Lamb Chop's Play-Along (1992–1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An enthusiastic singing lady and her puppet animal friends go on a variety of adventures.

Stars: Amy Castle, Brian Ito, Shari Lewis
Family | Game-Show | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Contestants pursue the international thief as junior detectives who must answer questions about geography.

Stars: Greg Lee, Lynne Thigpen, Rockapella
Wishbone (1995–1998)
Adventure | Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

An intelligent and witty dog imagines himself in the role of characters from classic books and gets involved in similar real-life adventures.

Stars: Larry Brantley, Jordan Wall, Christie Abbott
Double Dare (1986–1988)
Comedy | Family | Game-Show
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

One in a long-running series of game shows, where two-member teams of children compete to answer questions and complete stunts.

Stars: Marc Summers, David Faustino, Staci Keanan
The Berenstain Bears (1985–2003)
Animation | Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

We follow a family of bears, known as the Berenstain Bears, as they figure out life together. With friendly neighbors and close friends, the journey is never boring. Inspired by the book series written by Stan and Jan Berenstain.

Stars: David Mendenhall, Ruth Buzzi, Brian Cummings
The Gumby Show (1956–1968)
Animation | Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Innovative "Claymation" adventures of Gumby and his horse Pokey.

Stars: Bobby Nicholson, Dal McKennon, Art Clokey
Eureeka's Castle (1989–1995)
Musical | Family | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In a wind-up toy castle, a fantasy world of talking animals and assorted creatures live together with a giant who's in charge.

Stars: Pam Arciero, Cheryl Blaylock, Lynn Hippen
The Magic School Bus (1994–1997)
Animation | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

An eccentric school-teacher takes her class on wondrous educational field trips with the help of a magical school bus.

Stars: Lily Tomlin, Daniel DeSanto, Erica Luttrell
Sesame Street (TV Series 1969)
Animation | Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

On a special inner city street, the inhabitants, human and muppet, teach preschool subjects with comedy, cartoons, games, and songs.

Stars: Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Caroll Spinney
Animation | Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The world famous thief, Carmen Sandiego, plays an intricate game of cat and mouse with teen ACME detectives, Zack and Ivy.

Stars: Rodger Bumpass, Jennifer Hale, Scott Menville


Series cast summary:


LeVar Burton introduces an appropriate subject for each episode to go with the featured children's book that is read in its entirety. This is followed by suggestions of other books for further reading. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@execulink.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




TV-Y | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

| |  »



Release Date:

6 June 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Радуга-читальня  »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


LeVar Burton hosted the series while co-starring in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987). Reading Rainbow: The Bionic Bunny Show (1988), the most popular episode of all time, featured a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Star Trek TNG. It included a set of TNG bloopers, the only legal release of such material. See more »


LeVar Burton: [about to have kids introduce more recommended books] Of course, you don't have to take *my* word for it.
See more »


Referenced in Brows Held High: Vase De Noces (2012) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Fantastic Way to Encourage Kids to Read.
13 May 2004 | by See all my reviews

While it has been years since I used to religiously watch 'Reading Rainbow,' I do remember how much I loved it.

Each episode had a particular theme such as teaching kids about different occuptaions or perhaps places. The show's charismatic host, LaVar Burton might travel to a factory to show kids how cheese is made, or play co-pilot in an airplane. So, each episode, provided something different about the world and the people in it to kids, giving them a very diversified and educational show. Additionally, the show would end with suggested reading for people interested in the show's themes. And these books were usually presented with a brief review from kids. I remember our library even had a section of books that had appeared on Reading Rainbow.

LaVar Burton's educational journeys were not the only part of the show. They also read a book during each episode, which was read either by Mr. Burton or by some celebrity reader (I remember James Earl Jones read one of my favorite books about a young African boy who was a rainmaker, though the name escapes me), and they displayed the pictures on the screen. I think they displayed it with the words so you could read along, but I don't remember. I know it wasn't like watching a storyteller sit and read the book to a bunch of kids and showing them the book. You actually got to see the book yourself while the voice was dubbed along. It was a good show that encouraged reading and interest in a whole lot of things. Then again, PBS had a lot of shows like that at the time--Math Net (a take on Dragnet in which the detectives used math to solve each mystery); Square One (a variety educational program); 3-2-1 Contact (which I don't remember much, except for the name); and so forth.

If they don't run the reruns or if Reading Rainbow has retired long ago, I wish that they would try to get kids interested in that again. It did more than just trying to encourage kids to read, it tried to teach them about a lot of different things. I still remember the show that took you inside of a macaroni manufacturing plant and a crayon manufacturing plant. It was cool.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 21 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page