Reading Rainbow (TV Series 1983– ) Poster

(1983– )

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Fantastic Way to Encourage Kids to Read.
Pepper Anne13 May 2004
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.
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My favorite show
Kimberley (kimmb)14 June 2002
I grew up watching this show, it first appeared when I was 4 years old. I watched it as I learned to read and as I progressed through school. I still watch it on the occasions I find it on PBS, and I'm now a 22 year old grad student in Literature. I think this show really helps instill the value of reading in young kids--values that will follow them throughout life. I can't think of a better show for kids. And unlike most children's programs, it doesn't lose its charm no matter how old you get. A great great show, one of my personal favorites and a big reason I'm studying English and Literature today.
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"Butterfly in the sky, I can go twice as high..."
tubasunshine26 January 2004
I used to love this show! I watched it religiously for years, and wish I had time to watch it now. This show really turned me on to reading as a kid, and we need more shows like this to get kids who have 100+ channels, computers and multiple video games back to the basics of reading. While the theme song was trite, it was catchy & easy to remember. And even though some aspects of the program on the overdone side, this show has wonderful "bones", & contributed overwhelmingly to my childhood, and the childhoods of many others as well.
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Fascinating, informative, entertaining...
Bass-o-matic3 October 2003
This show, at least in it's current state, is better than 99% of the crap one will find on network tv. I've seen up close pottery making by Indians in the mid-west, examined the inner workings of the largest galactic telescope in the world in Puerto Rico, and otherwise been very entertained and informed from the times I've caught this show just before Charlie Rose came on.

Levar does a nice job of imparting important virtues to kids - RESPECT for creativity and craft, your elders, the environment... what more could you ask for, in an age when parents take NO responsibility for raising kids and kids have no respect even for human life??

As far as the books reviewed, I can't vouch for this, but I've always left with a good, warm feeling about people every time I watch this show, (and I usually feel like heaving when I see the other crap on tv).

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Best Show Ever
amh67830 October 2004
As a child of the 80s "Reading Rainbow" was a big part of television for me.

I remember watching it in school sometimes and I LOVED it. Lavar Burton is an awesome host. Hosting the same show for so many years shows his dedication to literacy among children. Each show taught you about a few different books. I even remember the theme song and does my 16-year-old brother. I haven't seen it in years though. For some odd reason PBS doesn't are it in the Atlanta area. I highly recommend this show for parents now. "Reading Rainbow" is a rare show that is educational and entertaining. If it were still aired here, this is one 22-year-old that would still watch it!
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I loved this show
strid33325 August 2003
This was such a great show. I especially loved the story book time. I also really liked the showing how things are done.

I think my favorite of all the episodes would be visiting LeVar's other workplace - the set of Star Trek TNG in its first season. It was one of the first times that they actually showed how they did all the special effects (I only wish that they waited a couple more seasons to make this episode because they might've had some Borg makeup). Now, with DVDs, this episode is pointless, but I still don't care.

On a personal note, one of my friends briefly appeared in an episode. He was 6 (like me) at the time. It was the episode of the Library of Congress and he and his mom are seen running up the stairs. He told me that if he knew better, he would've gone over to LeVar because he would've met Geordi LaForge (but this was a year before TNG even started and there are still ST conventions). Yeah, we are both geeks at heart.
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Great show that all kids should watch.
Nethen-219 April 1999
I started watching Reading Rainbow when I first started to speak English. I've always thought it was a fun and creative show. It made reading better, and more enjoyable. It helped kids like me, to read better, understand books and love books. Also, with Burton as a great host, he helped it even more. Every episode was great to watch, and I liked it when they should us other cultures and how things work in the real world.

If your child needs a show to watch, take it from me, a 17 year old boy: Get them away from those violent TV shows where they won't learn a thing, get them to watch Reading Rainbow. They'll thank you in the latter years...I have.
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I am glad this is still on the air!
Kristinartist794 August 2004
I loved this show as a child. I am a teacher's Aide now for kindergarten students and they watch this show during library! They love it! I am so glad that this show still exists! When I was a child in the early 80s,the media had became a big part of children's lives, and its even more so now. Computers, video games, and fast paste shows, are great but they tend to take children's attention span away, which makes school less enjoyable even for the brightest children. Fortunately, in this show, the media puts children's books to life motivating children to read, which is perfect for children in this technical society! As an education major, I am really glad to have this opportunity to support this show!
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Take a look, it's in a book!
mrskcj29 January 2002
I remember watching "Reading Rainbow" with my youngest sister thirteen years ago. Being an avid fan of children's literature, I love to discover the new titles and receive literary recommendations for my preschool son who now loves it as much as I.

The authors who create such magnificent literature for the youngsters today are to be commended! The illustrators bring such light and color to each story that the story becomes real before your eyes! The celebrity readers bring the authors' stories to life and open up new vistas for children.

Levar Burton seems to really enjoy visiting new places and trying new things; he's the original and continuing host. Find it on a local PBS station near you and watch the magic!
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A Great Flashback
dng200027 August 2003
Although I never saw this on PBS, I remembered enjoying this show throughout my first grade. As a kid, I used to love watching this show once in a while on Fridays since it was an adorable alternative to the boring voice of my teacher reading the same books that were portrayed in Reading Rainbow.
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My favorite Educational show!
reddragonhero1728 December 2015
Watch it, but you don't have to take my word for it! No seriously, this is the epitome of PBS's educational shows, the ultimate package of variety. Levar Burton is a great host and thanks to him, at the age of 4 I started reading books and I'm now a book lover and writer myself. This show covers a wide variety of subjects besides reading such as science, history, sociology, and much more. The actual book reading by a variety of celebrities never gets old, and everyone does a great job bringing each story to life. There's too many good performances it's difficult to pick a favorite. I tapes about 10 volumes (you heard right 10 volumes!) and like Bill Nye I used it a lot in my life. This is my most treasured educational show.
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Butterfly in the sky...better than butterflies in my tummy
AsifZamir13 November 2013
I was recently told that I shouldn't push reading so much, because that can be very intolerant of those who have trouble reading. I have moderate dyslexia, which sometimes makes it a struggle to read properly. I was several grades behind in my reading abilities and the solution to that wasn't to be tolerant of my lack of skills, but rather to read much more. I read at least one book per week and watched Reading Rainbow.

Reading Rainbow is a children's television series. Reading Rainbow was aired by PBS in 1983-2009. The series encourages a theme from a children's book in each of it's episodes and explores this theme through a series of segments/stories.

Actor LeVar Burton (ROOTS, TNG and Star Trek) acted in each of the 155 episodes produced in 23 years. Awards for Reading Rainbow include 26 Emmy Awards, the Peabody Award and over 200 broadcasting awards and was created by Lancit Media Productions.

The world of reading is a whole new world for children, it helps them explore their creativity, takes them on untold adventures through imagination and provides educational assets. Reading Rainbow is a valuable treasure for any child.
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An excellent show!
ultramatt2000-131 August 2009
This is one of the first shows I saw when I was a kid. This came right after SESAME STREET or THE ELECTRIC COMPANY one of those. I learned A LOT from this show. It inspired me to do a lot of things. For example the episode, "Digging Up Dinosaurs" inspired me to like dinosaurs. "Louis the Fish" inspired me to love and appreciate the beauty of underwater life. "Miss Nelson's Back" inspired me to make masks and stuff. "Ty's One-Man Band", inspired me to make music. "Three by the Sea" inspired me to appreciate my imagination and use it. "Gila Monsters Meet you at the Airport" inspired me to like nature. "Arthur's Eyes" got my curious side going and made me try out something different (like sign language when "A Show of Hands" was reviewed). These were the best episodes, I saw when I was little. In the late eighties and early nineties, the show never went wacky. It didn't fall into the wacky bandwagon like SESAME STREET. In the 90's it still was maintaining it's former old faithful self. Levar retired and the show was over. Now I heard that they are going to take it off the air.

So as a tribute, I made a little video that is my tip of the hat to the show.

Copy and paste it on your url or address bar. Reading Rainbow 1983-2007 Long live that show.
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Ah, the memories…
Michael DeZubiria21 March 2008
I should admit that I haven't seen Reading Rainbow for probably 15 years, but it is such a milestone in my development that I have to say something about it. I only stumbled on the series on the IMDb when I was looking up a mediocre thriller starring Hillary Swank, and even after all these years just the title of the show brought a smile to my face. I remember being enraptured with all the new books and stories and illustrations and everything, and while I don't watch the show anymore, I have become a voracious reader in my adult life, probably in no small part because of this show.

I don't think we have shows as healthy and fun and well made as this one much anymore, this one seems to continue to be the only major broadcast show that encourages kids to read, which is really sad. Then again, I watch so little TV that there could be others that I don't know about.

Either way, I doubt very much that many modern shows have the same kind of appeal to the young and old alike as the Reading Rainbow, which makes me wish there was some kind of TV forum like this geared more towards maturer readers. I have a feeling that there are plenty of authors who would bring a pretty big audience were they to give interviews and talk about their books the way they are discussed on this show.

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Reading and Hope
eric_nhti19 March 2008
Reading Rainbow is an American institution and so is Levar Burton no matter what happens the legacy good values and believing in ourselves as people will never go away regardless of what a silly net work may decide and we all have Levar to thank for that he is a clearly carrying person who knows the value of reading and writing.

I remember my childhood we didn't have much money and cable TV was a no go so my brother and I didn't have Atari and all the toys that were big in the 80's but there was always one thing we did have and that was the capacity to be boundless with our imaginations and go where ever we wanted and to a child that is a powerful thing because if you don't have that kind of hope what do you have.

Me personally I always had epilepsy as a kid growing up so I was shy and in a bit of a tunnel but reading rainbow helped me over come that and gradually I grew and became more outgoing and I even wrote a children's book in elementary school.

Now at 28 years old I have my Bachelors degree in English and I am a published author of my first poetry book entitled Finite Verse I owe a lot of my writing success to Reading rainbow and now I consider Levar Burton a colleague of sorts now that I am a writer.

If someone were to ask me to sum up what Reading Rainbow means to me I would say "It means timeless innocence , and faith in ones self." Eric Miller
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Good show which is very educational
Catherine_Grace_Zeh2 August 2006
I used to watch this show when I was a little girl. When I think about it, I remember it pretty well. Two other things I remember pretty well the opening sequence and theme song. If you ask me, it was a good show which is very educational. In addition to that, LeVar Burton was the perfect host. The stories were good, too. My favorite song was the main theme. I hope this series stays on PBS for years to come. Before I wrap this up, I'd like to say that I'll always remember this show in my memory forever, even though I haven't seen every episode. Now, in conclusion, I hope that you catch it one day before it goes off the air for good.
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You DO have to take my word for it!
miles-husoy26 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I've forgotten what a great show Reading Rainbow was. I broke my foot recently, and where I live, there's nothing to watch but Reading Rainbow. Now I am 20 years old and am more of a name in the workplace (so most of my co-workers probably have kids who enjoyed this show), so I can't really call it a guilty pleasure. There are some moments I'm not crazy about (e.g. stupid songs, too-childish stories), but along the way, I also get a good look at science, history, culture, etc. So while Reading Rainbow may be geared towards a children's audience, it's still got something for everyone (today, I even saw the episode with Liang and the Magic Paint Brush and got an insight into Chinese culture - I'd forgotten all about it!). Anyway, Reading Rainbow seems unlikely to go away soon, so it's still enjoyable for all ages. I'm starting to like it again myself!!!!
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What I used to watch all the time-LONG AGO!
hyrulenick11 March 2005
Since I am nearly 17 now, it was around '93 I watched this show a lot in my spare time. I only really remember the opening themes to it and all of the activities that were done (sort of).

I even went to the museum of it in NYC (or maybe it was just a dream).

I think I saw a movie about it as recently as '99, but by then it was not something I enjoyed.

But back when I was five, I really enjoyed the theme song to it! But I am sure today kids have a lot better activities to do than this! I am sure the show was quite popular in the early 90's though-now I never hear a word about it.
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Classic 80's kids show with LaVar Burton!
Movie Nuttball2 September 2005
I always caught this show on television every now and then. LeVar Burton was the host and he hosted quite well! The show was put together and written well and the people that was on show was good. I am surprised that this show has aired in TV for such and great length of time. Reading Rainbow was/is one of the most watched by the youngsters. The show would have like little teachings for them in various formats for them such as animated and such. There is some funny stuff on this show. I would only recommend this television show to young kids because of its educational value unless the adults are interested in seeing the actors and the hilarious characters or if you want watch something you haven't seen for a long time as young boy or girl then this can bring memories back from the past make you feel like your a kid again. If that is the case then I recommend you watch this show!
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LeVar Burton's greatest achievement still stands today for millions of kids
raysond16 October 2003
THE THEME SONG TO READING RAINBOW.................... "Butterfly in the sky,I can fly twice as high, Take a look,it's in a book it's Reading Rainbow..... I can be anything,Take a look,it's in a book,it's Reading Rainbow!!!!"

If anyone were to come up to you and asked you this question of what was actor Levar Burton's greatest television series to date and possibly his best of work of all time,what would you say?

Could it be his debut performance as Kunta Kinte in Alex Haley's Roots for which he won an Emmy for back in 1977?

Could it be his role opposite the great Steve McQueen in "The Hunter" which was a moment in time starring one of the best Hollywood actors of all time?

Could it be his role for the seven seasons he played Geordi LaForge on Star Trek:The Next Generation?

**The answer for his best work and possibly the greatest children's television show of all time is none other than "READING RAINBOW". This show set the standard for what would become the basis of all children's programming and also to change the course of it as well. In other words,Reading Rainbow is way better than some of the crap that is destroying the minds of kids with some of the foulness that is on children's television today. And also to point out that Levar Burton did something what no other children's show has ever done---KEEP THE KIDS MINDS IN THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF READING----and he did just that too. By introducing children to the wonderful world of a book,it kept them interested in other things as well too by telling children that a book can open minds and also take them to a magical place where they can be anything they wanted to be,as long as it was in a good book---in other words,instills the value of reading as a whole in young kids and also install values that will go on throughout the course of their lives. Also,the show was a great educational tool as well by helping children figured out some of what is going on within the story and it adds for a very good discussion with the kids. I should know---I'm a teacher who used these episodes on video a lot with my kids and it really works in the setting of the classroom and also it works at home too.

Some of the episodes are very good especially with Levar in them,including one episode where he went into a jungle,and the other,which was very good introduce audiences to his other job at the time,Star Trek:The Next Generation where he guided them through some of the sets and stuff behind the show,and just before everything was in order,you have special guest stars from the show just to lend a helping hand like Patrick Stewart and Jonathan Frakes. Very good episode! The others were where Burton makes a pizza,flies a plane and takes us into the Library of Congress in Washington,DC was just great stuff and you'll learn something for each of those episodes. Some of the episodes are now out on video or DVD for your pleasure.

But here what gets me............. About two years ago,they changed the opening and changed the theme song for some dumb reason,and why? Why did they do that? Then what really mess it up was the unethical and silly as hell computer animations that were added to the old episodes which really destroy the quality of the show. For a previous comment that was said about that,and I do agree with it..It was just plain wrong! Then about last year,those bureaucratic ass-holes at PBS cancelled the one show that made a different in millions of kids after 20 years on the air!! 20 Years!!! What gets me is this: They kept the worst of the kiddie garbage on the tube like "Barney","Teletubbies",and "Sesame Street"(which now a days has really lost it with me on what they did to this landmark series by destroying the entire concept of what it stood for by killing off the beloved characters)on the air which is unadulterated kiddie garbage,including one kids show that features bits of homosexuality,but these liberalistic morons at PBS really let the axe fall on this series and really cancelled "Reading Rainbow". Anyway,some PBS stations maybe have "Reading Rainbow" still on the air,but please check local listings if it is still available. As for parents,don't let your kids watch shows like "Blue's Clues","Barney","Sesame Street",and "Pee Wee's Playhouse",because these shows are pure garbage. Let'em watch "Reading Rainbow" so their minds can grow and prosper. Kudos to Levar Burton for making this series happen!!! A treasure for millions of kids around the world.
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