On June 6, 1983, the series Reading Rainbow premiered on PBS. Conceptualized as a way to keep kids interested in reading over the summer months, PBS aired 150 episodes of Reading Rainbow over 26 years and taught kids how to love reading. Each episode featured a theme from a book that inspired an adventure and recommended books for kids to look for when they visited a library.
Reading Rainbow filmed its last new episode in 2006, although it aired in reruns until 2009. Lots of us grew up with Reading Rainbow, whether we watched it or have children or grandchildren who did. Let’s celebrate Reading Rainbow with some fun facts about it and its star and creator, LeVar Burton.
- Reading Rainbow was the third longest running children’s show in PBS history behind Sesame Street and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood
- Celebrity guests include Patrick Stewart, Julia Child, Kermit the Frog, Jane Goodall, Run DMC and James Earl Jones, among others
- There are two versions of the theme song; one was performed by Chakha Khan but the version that most of us are more familiar with was performed by Tina Fabrique
- Show ended partially because of money; funding was not available to renew the broadcasting rights
- LeVar Burton still owns the rights to Reading Rainbow and launched a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2014 to bring it back
- Reading Rainbow won over 200 broadcast awards, including a Peabody and 26 Emmys
- A Reading Rainbow app launched in the iTunes store in 2012
- In March 2016, LeVar Burton launched a new online educational service called Reading Rainbow Skybrary for Schools integrated the mission of the television series in to classroom curriculums
If you’d like to watch episodes of Reading Rainbow and share the love of reading and the show with your kids, request one of the Reading Rainbow DVDs from our catalog! You just might find yourself having your own book-related adventure…but don’t take our word for it!