A generation of people who grew up on "Reading Rainbow" have a chance to help the show reach a new generation of young readers.
LeVar Burton, who hosted the educational series and served as an executive producer, launched a Kickstarter campaign on Wednesday, May 28, to bring the show back. The goal is to raise $1 million to put "Reading Rainbow" online as well as fund a specialized classroom version of the show and deliver it free to schools that could benefit the program.
"I believe that every child has a right, and a need, to be literate. We have a responsibility to prepare our children ... and right now, the numbers show that we, as a society, are failing in that responsibility," Burton wrote in a message on his Kickstarter campaign page. "And here's the problem: Right now, 1 out of every 4 children in America will grow up illiterate."
He later added, "These problems won't solve themselves. Real change will require us all to work together. We cannot afford to lose generations of children to illiteracy. And if we work together, we don't have to."
In addition to the message featured on his Kickstarter campaign page, there is also a funny video, which can be seen below, that explains what Burton is trying to achieve. The video also includes a cameo from one of Burton's "Star Trek: The Next Generation" co-stars, but we won't spoil that here.
In 2012, Burton helped launch a "Reading Rainbow" app. However, Burton wrote in his Kickstarter message that not everyone has access to tablets and in order for the program to reach a broader audience, it needs to become available online and in classrooms.
"Reading Rainbow" aired between 1983 and 2006. The show won a total of 26 Emmys and a Peabody award. The campaign reached its $1 million goal on the first day of its launch and already has over 22,000 backers. It still has 34 days left to raise even more money for the show.
The campaign also has several incentives for backers of the project depending on how much they donate. People who donate $5 or more can receive a special thanks on the show's website. Those who donate $1,500 or more can attend a group picnic with Burton and a small group of fellow backers.
Five lucky campaign backers scored a private dinner with Burton in Los Angeles for their $10,000 pledge. The gift package also includes the chance for the individual to wear the visor that Burton's "Star Trek: The Next Generation" character, Geordi La Forge, wore on the series.
Take a look at the Kickstarter video for the "Reading Rainbow" campaign below.