Though I don’t usually post on the weekends, I wanted to write a bonus post today to talk about something that I find extremely important and truly amazing. But first, a question: how many of you grew up with (or your kids grew up with) Reading Rainbow? You know the show…Star Trek’s LeVar Burton hosted it and used the show to instill a love of reading into kids from 1983 to 2009. I grew up with the show, myself, and I was actually really surprised to find out that it went as long as 2009. In a world where we have about a million channels to choose from, I guess this show just kinda got buried under a mountain of filth (*cough*realitytelevision*cough*).
Anyway, the point is that Reading Rainbow fostered a love of reading into children for more than two decades, and they currently have a subscription-based app that has been rated as one of the most educational apps for children. They’ve done good for a long time, and personally I have great respect for anyone who encourages kids to read for fun. It’s common knowledge that kids today do not read nearly as much as they use to (or should), but even when I was younger I could already see a wave of illiteracy barreling down on top of us, and that’s depressing to me. Not all kids are going to be bookworms, of course, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t encourage kids to be literate and to enjoy all that reading can be. Even if I’m super busy I get a little skip of happiness in my heart every single time my three-year-old asks me to read her a book.
But I’m getting off topic. Reading Rainbow. Awesome. They do good things.
Which is why they want to get back out there are keep working hard to get kids reading for fun.
Three days ago, LeVar and the RR team set up a Kickstarter. LeVar posted a video explaining exactly what they wanted to accomplish, which was to make Reading Rainbow a free, web-accessed show (so that any kid who can access the internet can see it), with all new content and video field trips, and to design a classroom-based Reading Rainbow program that they would then distribute – for free, mind you – to 1500 schools. Their goal was $1,000,000. With one mill, they said they could reach these goals. When I first stumbled across the Kickstarter they were at about $600,000 and I thought to myself, “This is great! I’m so glad that people are behind this! They’re totally going to reach their goal!”
Little did I know that when I wandered by and saw that $600,000, the Kickstarter had been live for less than a day. And the funds just kept going up and up and up. That’s right, as LeVar and his team sat and watched in amazement, their goal hit the $1,000,000 mark in less than 24 hours. I was flabbergasted, to be honest, but as my husband often says, “If something is a genuinely good idea, people will get behind it.”
I’ve been watching the Kickstarter ever since, and as I write this it is on it’s third day and has risen to $3,039,041. The RR team is amazed and overjoyed, and were nearly brought to tears in their follow-up video.
And here’s where you come in. It is traditional for a Kickstarter that reaches it’s goals early to add “stretch” goals. Since the internet has show that it is more than happy to get behind this particularly program, RR has recently scrambled to add their own stretch goals. They are now aiming for $5,000,000, with which they will be able to bring their (FREE, remember) web-based show to many more platforms (they’re talking Android, XBox, and media boxes like AppleTV), and instead of bringing their (FREEEEEEEE!!!!) school program to 1500 classrooms, they estimate they’ll be able to bring it to 7500 classrooms!
People, this is not a stretch. The internet ponied up 3 million dollars for this program in less than three days, and there are 32 days left! You can pledge as a little as $1, but there are also plenty of incentives to pledge more. Pledging only $5, for instance, gets your name on their website under a list of benefactors. $10 gets you in a group thank-you tweet, plus you get an exclusive set of digital wallpaper downloads. The list goes on. Jump up to $50 and, amongst other things, you get to choose a t-shirt, mug, or tote bag. Jump up to $250 and you get a personalized signed photo from LeVar. There are tons of options, but all that really matters is that you donate something. $5 might not sound like a lot of money, but 13598 people donated just that, and that amounts to just under $68,000!
So if you grew up with Reading Rainbow, if you think that it’s important to encourage kids to read for fun, or even if you just want want one of the awesome incentives that LeVar and his team are offering, please drop by their Kickstarter, check things out, and consider dropping a few dollars in their laps. “If something is a genuinely good idea, people will get behind it”…and this…this is a genuinely good idea.