Fans of LeVar Burton‘s long-running PBS show Reading Rainbow rejoiced Wednesday morning when the host and actor launched a $1 million Kickstarter campaign to expand upon its extended educational app. Within hours, those fans showed love with their wallets by helping Burton reach his goal and the money is continuing to pour in even now.
Burton and his RRKIDZ development team hit big with the Reading Rainbow app when it was launched for iPad users back in 2012. Calling itself the “#1 educational app,” the program boasts an unlimited library of books geared for children and other features designed to keep readers engaged.
To be clear, Burton is not trying to revive the television show, but instead wants to expand the Reading Rainbow app to other formats such as desktops and have it become part of the classroom structure. Further, Burton realizes that for poorer families access smartphones or tablet devices may not be an option but Web use is far more widely available.
Burton explains the idea behind expanding Reading Rainbow below:
“First, not all families have access to tablets. Our goal is to cultivate a love of reading in all children, not just those that have tablets. To reach kids everywhere, we need to be everywhere: we need to be on the web.
Second, a resounding number of teachers have told me that they want Reading Rainbow in their classrooms, where they know it can make a difference. We will provide it, along with the tools that teachers need, including teacher guides, leveling, and dashboards. And in disadvantaged classrooms, we’ll provide it for free.”
Of course, Burton uses the show’s success as part of his pitch to appeal to donors but doesn’t hide the fact he’s asking for funding to support his venture. Like most Kickstarter campaigns, supporters are awarded with varying perks based upon their level of contribution.
One of the quirkiest ones is that for $10,000, a pair will have a private dinner with Burton and get to wear the Geordi La Forge visor the actor wore on the Star Trek: The Next Generation series.
You hear that, Trekkies? Pony up!
Check out LeVar Burton’s Reading Rainbow Kickstarter video below.