LeVar Burton's Reading Rainbow Kickstarter Project Reaches Goal in 1 Day

bradl

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Not only is this an absolutely stunning feat, the fact that it still has 34 days to go before the project ends and is still growing is even more so.

Many different outlets are covering this (the Verge, Jezebel, NPR, etc.), but I'll give the nod to ABC for the article:

http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment...tarter-boot-reading-rainbow/story?id=23903077

LeVar Burton Reaches Kickstarter Goal for 'Reading Rainbow' Re-Boot in One Day
May 28, 2014
By MICHAEL ROTHMAN via Good Morning America

Millions of children grew up to the show "Reading Rainbow" and now LeVar Burton, its host, wants to bring it back for a new generation. It looks like he'll get that chance.

The actor wants to re-boot the show via a Web series and launched a Kickstarter campaign Wednesday to do it. The campaign has raised almost $1.7 million already, surpassing the goal of $1 million in less than a full day!

"Hi. LeVar Burton here. You may know me as Kunta Kinte, from 'ROOTS,' or Geordi La Forge, from 'Star Trek: The Next Generation,'" the actor wrote. "You also may have grown up with me on 'Reading Rainbow.' It was my mother who taught me that, by picking up a book, I could "go anywhere" and "be anything." Ever since Reading Rainbow began in 1983, I have dedicated myself to fostering a love of reading in children, just as my mother did for me."

Burton said he has been inspired by Kickstarter over the last year and decided this was the way to get the show, which ran from 1983 to 2006, back on the air in some form.

"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," he added. "Right now, 1 out of every 4 children in America will grow up illiterate."

He continued, "Now, I am hoping you will join me on my mission: to bring Reading Rainbow back for every child, everywhere."

He noted that "Reading Rainbow" won 26 Emmys and a Peabody award.

"In 2014, TV is not that place anymore. Now, we’re trying to reach a new generation of digital natives," he wrote.

For donors to the campaign, $5 will get you exclusive updates and a special thanks on the website. For $200, you get a 2015 "Reading Rainbow" calendar and a signed copy of Burton's new book. For $600, you even get to chat with Burton for 5 to 10 minutes.
Better yet, The kickstarter page:

https://www.kickstarter.com/project...-reading-rainbow-back-for-every-child-everywh

Better yet, the video. Enjoy. And you Star Trek: The Next Generation fans will get a kick out of it.


Now if you'll excuse me, I'm need to find that "Shut up and take my money!" meme. :D

BL.
 
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bradl

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Burton is doing a wonderful job promoting literacy. I applaud his efforts.
The fact that he wants to do this for free should hit home for everyone. Through various ways, we are causing this spike in our illiteracy rate, and that it is going to get out of hand if something isn't done scares me more because of how panicked an uninformed populace can become, especially when they listen to rumours or hearsay instead of facts or finding out for themselves.

I'm definitely contributing to this, and as much of a Star Trek fan as I am, I don't know if I'm going to do the Star Trek rewards. When it was running, when I lived in Vegas I went regularly to Star Trek: The Experience. I saw all of the props there. they had on display the actual Mark VI torpedo they shot Spock off in. They had the Borg Queen's first suit from ST: First Contact. I was there 3 days before they shut down the exhibit. As much as I love Trek and would love for him to sign some of my Trek memorabilia, I'd love to take him back to my elementary school and teach the kids there. Seeing the looks of joy on the kids faces would mean more to me than increasing dollar value on memorabilia I have.

Besides.. he's instilled the want to read in us for 30 years. It's about time we pay that forward.

BL.
 

malman89

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Reading Rainbow (and Wishbone) were two great literature based shows of my childhood. I saw this yesterday morning and flipped out, sharing it with everyone I knew. Definitely had the Reading Rainbow theme song in my head at least half the day at work.
 

MacNut

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Reading Rainbow (and Wishbone) were two great literature based shows of my childhood. I saw this yesterday morning and flipped out, sharing it with everyone I knew. Definitely had the Reading Rainbow theme song in my head at least half the day at work.
It's in a book, take a look, reading rainboooow. Ya I was humming it today as well.
 

bradl

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It's in a book, take a look, reading rainboooow. Ya I was humming it today as well.
At roughly 2:20pm PT today, they hit $2 million. And they still have 33 days to go. If they let this go the entire course, they're going to be in the mid 20-30 million dollar range. Absolutely astonishing.

Even more astonishing: They were able to raise that much money faster than most PACs could in a day (yes, I'm looking at you, Crossroads GPS, Restore our Future, MoveOn, Americans for Prosperity, etc.). Seriously.. 2 million in less than 24 hours..

BL.
 

Scepticalscribe

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Fantastic idea and a most worthy cause, well worth supporting.

In any case, I'm a big fan of STNG (and so liked Geordi La Forge, needless to say; moreover, I had forgotten entirely that LeVar Burton had also played Kunte Kinte in 'Roots'.)

Wonderful that he is doing this for free - but it does not surprise me that he would be such an impressive role model.

Best of luck to the project, and long may it continue to exceed its stated financial aims.
 

bradl

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They have changed their goal. The new goal is $5 million. They currently have just under $3.2 million.
As of 1pm PDT, they are $3000 short of popping $3.4 million with 28 days to go. I definitely think they'll hit the $5 million mark, but it is slowing down from the initial fervor. And no-one has taken the VISOR level yet either. :)

BL.
 

bradl

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They are just below $3.6 million with 22 days left.
I keep joking with my wife about how no-one has taken the VISOR package yet.. though I just checked to see if it was still available to find out that they updated it. Now it's 4 1-day passes to any convention of your choice, all 4 people you bring will have a meet/greet with LeVar, who will already be your friend from having a private dinner with him and Brent Spiner. And wear the VISOR.

So now it's the VISOR package - with added Data. (not my pun!)

Oh.. and to make all of us feel old.. 6/6/2014 was 31 years to the day that Reading Rainbow started.

BL.
 

AustinIllini

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Sorry to be that guy...

:(

You might want to reconsider that donation to the Reading Rainbow Kickstarter

By now, you’ve surely heard the news that the irrepressible LeVar Burton — late of “Star Trek,” “Roots” and the classic children’s show “Reading Rainbow” — has launched a $1-million Kickstarter to get a Rainbow reboot/spin-off online.

It will not, let’s be clear, replicate the classic show that aired from 1983 to 2009. (Burton bought the rights to that show and its name and used them to spin off another company, RRKidz, which produces a Reading Rainbow tablet app.) The Kickstarter would essentially expand on that app, making it available on the Web and updating it with special tools for teachers — not for free, as the classic show was on PBS, but at a monthly subscription cost.


Although we first knew LeVar Burton for his roles on "Roots" and "Star Trek," he may be most well-known for bringing our favorite children's books to life on "Reading Rainbow." After the show went off the air, Burton decided it wasn't the end. He sits down with Nia-Malika Henderson to talk about his latest project, a Reading Rainbow app.
His company will, Burton suggests, “change the lives of millions of children.”

It’s hard to disagree with that kind of optimism. It’s so imminently, self-evidently agreeable, in fact, that within hours of the fundraiser going up, more than 13,000 people have donated more than $600,000. But all the enthusiasm raises some obvious questions: If Reading Rainbow is so epically popular, then why was the show cancelled to begin with? And now that it’s coming back — as a for-profit company, not a charity — is it really the best vehicle for teaching literacy to “millions of children”?

A bit of recent history is critical here. Reading Rainbow was cancelled abruptly in 2009 after nearly three decades on the air. Per John Grant, the content director at WNED Buffalo, which co-produced the series, it would have cost “several hundred thousand dollars” to renew the show — i.e. far less than what the Kickstarter is asking for now. But neither WNED nor PBS wanted to pony up because both believed that the show was no longer the best way to teach kids reading skills. And in the round of Education Department grants distributed before Reading Rainbow shut down, money went primarily to programs that targeted low-income kids ages 2 to 8. When the show went off the air in 2009, NPR explained it this way:


Research has directed programming toward phonics and reading fundamentals as the front line of the literacy fight. Reading Rainbow occupied a more luxurious space — the show operated on the assumption that kids already had basic reading skills and instead focused on fostering a love of books.

In other words, when Reading Rainbow began in 1983, the big question was, “how do we get kids interested in reading?” By 2009, that question had become, “how do we teach kids to read, period?”

Unfortunately, it’s unclear how the new, digital Reading Rainbow will address that disparity — if it chooses to at all. The current Reading Rainbow app, which the Kickstarter claims it will expand on, is built on the foundations of the classic show: book read-alongs, “video field trips” — the stuff that worked wonders in the ’80s, and requires lots of bandwidth in the present day.

In fact, while the Kickstarter promises to deliver more books to low-income kids, there are already some hints that it’s not totally up to speed with those same kids’ digital realities. It’s well-documented fact, for instance, that low-income households are disproportionately more likely to access the Internet by cellphone. And yet Reading Rainbow wants to put its app on desktop computers first — which requires both computer ownership and high-speed Internet access. (Less than half of households earning less than $30,000 a year have high-speed broadband, per Pew.) To further complicate this Reading-Rainbow-as-literacy-charity narrative, WNED also claims that the show is already popular, and therefore available, in “classrooms nationwide.” It’s definitely available, at least in part, on YouTube.

All this adds up to a criticism that has been levied at high-profile Kickstarter campaigns before: Crowdfunding is theoretically supposed to bolster charities, start-ups, independent artists, small-business owners and other projects that actually need the financial support of the masses to succeed. It’s not supposed to be co-opted by companies with profit motives and private investors of their own … which, despite Burton’s charisma, is exactly what the Rainbow reboot is.


Don’t get me wrong: Anything that puts books in kids’ hands is good, and anything that even incrementally helps them to read is wonderful. If you’re donating to the Reading Rainbow Kickstarter out of nostalgia for a show you watched and loved, by all means, proceed.

But if you’re donating to Reading Rainbow because of the grandiose charity rhetoric Burton’s employing on Kickstarter, you might want to look elsewhere — maybe the nonprofit Children’s Literacy Initiative or the Washington, D.C.-based First Book, both of which get high grades from Charity Navigator. They might not have LeVar’s nostalgia appeal, but there’s no doubt who those charities serve.
 

bradl

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dXTC

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So Mr. Burton's considering a subscription fee to cover the cost of server bandwidth, with potential for lining some corporate pockets. If it works out for his project, so much the better.

Those educators who want a Web-based reading program but can't fit the subscription cost into the classroom budget can always go to resources like Mrs. P, which is free (mainly because all featured stories are public domain) and also happens to have a relatively famous TV actor as star and co-creator:



Can't make out who she is? Perhaps you'll recognize her in another role:

 
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MacNut

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'Reading Rainbow' gets hand from Seth MacFarlane.
MacFarlane has promised to match up to $1 million in pledges made on the Kickstarter website so that an online version of "Reading Rainbow" can be made available without charge to an expanded number of underfunded classrooms, Burton said in a statement Thursday.

MacFarlane's offer is in effect through 3 p.m. EDT on July 2, when the online fundraiser is to conclude.
 

bradl

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I hope they make it.
Getting close.

4,570,317 as of this post, with 47 hours to go. It's going to be close..

But then again, if MacFarlane is matching, depending on how he's going to match, they may have it. If he waits until they get the last million, it will be close. If he matches as they go, they only needed 500K, which they'd be at now.

BL.
 
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