Friday, August 28, 2009

The End of an Era: Reading Rainbow

Being a reader and a teacher, I feel like I have to write something about the end of an era. Reading Rainbow started in 1983. I was 5 years old. I don't remember the first episode I saw, but I saw quite a few. I had a voracious appetite for books, even as a 5-year-old. I loved the section where there were kids sharing their favorite books! I hunted down quite a few of those recommendations to read myself, not to mention the featured books.

I loved LeVar Burton. He was a magnificent choice for a host. I did a fangirl dance when LeVar showed up on Star Trek:TNG (Oh, you didn't know I was a geek? Surprise! Card-carrying, thank you very much!) a few years after Reading Rainbow started. Geordi, LeVar, Geordi, LeVar. I couldn't get enough.

I haven't seen an episode for quite a while, but I'm very tempted to troll PBS for every episode that they have online from now until December when they cut off access to the show's website. I have no doubt that I will enjoy them as much now as I did when I was a kid. I feel sorry for the generations to come who will miss out on the book love that is Reading Rainbow.

Would it be weird to say that Reading Rainbow was a book review blog before there were book review blogs? In my mind, that's kind of what it was.

It just today occurs me to wonder if LeVar is as much of a reader as I imagine the host of a show about reading should be. Was he part of the impetus to start the show? How much of a hand did he have in creating the show? He is one of the people I follow on Twitter, and he seems to be an amazing person in real life. I think that he would be on my top 10 of famous people to meet. He has an amazing legacy! If I were him, I would be proud to have been host of such an influential show for a 26(!) year run. I think it should be at the top of his list of accomplishments. Then again, I'm a teacher in addition to being a book lover.

Take a look, it's in a book...


JC said...

Well, maybe PBS will put them on DVD by season and you can support Public TV by buying them. Hope all is well with you. Have a great weekend.

Jennifer said...

I was so sad to hear about the show's end. I'm the mother of a boy (now 6) who started reading at 3, and loves books! I'll never forget hearing him call Levar "Levarber" when he was little. The show's sincerity brought me to tears many times, and the passion for reading still inspires. There should be DVDs of allt he episodes (and MR. Rogers!) available somewhere -- I know we are not alone!

Emily said...

I loved Reading Rainbow so much! I'm sad that it's ending, as well. And I second Jennifer's desire for Mr. Rogers DVDs, too!