“Reading Rainbow”, an iconic children’s television show, aired its final episode yesterday. The show lost support from PBS and the Department of Education, as the former Bush administration shifted its funding priorities to phonics and spelling, rather than supporting a general love of reading. “Reading Rainbow” first aired in 1983 and was hosted by LeVar Burton.
I feel sad over the loss of “Reading Rainbow” to a generation of kids, past and present. I grew up watching PBS alongside network and cable cartoon and kids’ shows (including another PBS favorite, “Wishbone”) and dreamed of appearing on-air with LeVar Burton to talk about a great book I enjoyed. While I’m certain that other reading-focused shows will replace “Reading Rainbow” in the spectrum of kids television, nothing will ever spark a joy for reading quite the way “Reading Rainbow” did for over two decades.