Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Reading Rainbow Goes Mobile

By Kristen Palmer, Communications Intern

Want to go twice as high as a butterfly in the sky?

There’s an app for that.clip_image002

“Reading Rainbow” has now made a comeback on the iPad. Reading Rainbow was an American children’s television series aired by PBS for 26 years! It encouraged reading among children and was hosted by this guy, LeVar Burton:

Yeah, now you remember.

Each episode, Burton focused on a theme from a book and further explored it through a number of stories. He also provided book recommendations for kids. Reading Rainbow was the third longest-running children’s series in PBS history (after Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and Sesame Street, of course).

The show first aired in 1983. “What were [kids] doing in the 80s? Sitting in front of the television,” stated Burton, in an official release. “So we went where they were to steer them back in the direction of where we wanted them to go.” And in 2012, Burton is targeting a generation obsessed with tablets - a generation of which half of kids under 8 have access to some sort of mobile device.

So, 36 hours after the Reading Rainbow app was released, it became the #1 educational app on iTunes. Designed for children ages 3 to 9, the app (built by Burton himself, along with his company RRKIDZ) “allows children to read unlimited books, explore video field trips starring Burton, and earn rewards for reading.”

“Reading will never go out of style, but the tools used for learning are changing,” said Burton. So he’s keeping up with today’s digital kids – kids who are more likely to read text messages, magazines, emails and websites than books.

So visit the iTunes store and plug into Burton, who is here to stay, reminding all of us that we can go anywhere and be anything.

Now that the app has been out for a few months, have your children tried it out?  If so, what did they think?

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