Who doesn’t remember Reading Rainbow? This show holds a special place in my heart. As a kid, I loved to read. What a surprise, right? I was reaching chapter books in kindergarten, writing books of my own soon after, and continued reading everything I could get my hands on. Charlotte’s Web, True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, The Doll in the Garden, Stonewords… I used to charge my brother $10 to do his book reports for him. He usually waited until the night before to ask, and since I could blow through a book like a tornado, well, I may be the reason he got through school. That’s what I’m sticking to. 😀
Reading wasn’t so popular. I was teased mercilessly for always having my nose in a book, for loving to read and learn and get good grades. So many time I cried my heart out, wishing with all my might to wake up different and to hate reading and love the things everyone else loved (e.g. hanging out with the bad kids listening to Vanilla Ice pretending to be little thugs calling each other racial slurs I don’t care to type out). Belle’s treatment resonated with me more than I admit.
But when Reading Rainbow would be shown in class, the kids who taunted me and stole my books from me and called me a nerd and a geek back before it was cool, back when Saved by the Bell and Family Matters treated geeky kids the kindest…
For that 20 minutes, those kids thought books were pretty awesome, and I felt okay with myself. When the teacher asked who read the books featured in that episode and I could raise my hand, I felt like that butterfly in the sky flying twice as high for knowing the endings that the other kids wanted to know at that moment, even if most of them would never follow through with finding out on their own.
I was pretty crushed when the last episode was filmed in 2006. I was pretty excited when the iPad app was launched in 2012. I’m beyond myself with excitement that there’s now a Kickstarter campaign to launch it as a desktop application and to get it into schools! Watching the donations tick higher and higher makes me want to cry from joy, seeing how many people who remember the series, many who may not have read so much back then, some who were probably inspired and did start reading, either then or later, who are helping and want this brought to more kids. The only thing that could top this would be to find out Mr. Rogers is still alive and well and is starting to film new episodes on his wonderful neighborhood.
I’m rather ticked off at a writer at the Washington Post for her attempt to get people to not donate. Not only does she not understand why this project can’t be done for free, but she slams how the show isn’t teaching kids HOW to read (apparently there’s no value in getting kids excited to read in the first place). She tries claiming that this project has a goal of too much money based on PBS’s program director stating it would cost “several hundred thousand dollars” to start the show back up, meaning that RR is asking for too much now. Well, someone doesn’t understand that now only was that amount merely to get the show restarted and not inclusive of ongoing expenses, but the RR campaign now includes the fees Kickstarter will charge (if the campaign reaches $1mil, Kickstarter will get $50,000, and it’ll go up from there), plus the cost of the awards, some including a lot of travel, nor does she understand how expensive it is to hire people with the skills necessary to bring this all to fruition. Does she really think that delivering content is free? That maintaining it costs nothing more than well-wishes?
This is a big project, and it needs help. It needs to go far beyond the original goal. The higher it can go, the more classrooms that will have access to all of this. Estimates are anywhere between 25,000 and 30,000 classrooms in the United States. How wonderful if every classroom could have this. If you can, please consider helping!!