Monday, September 19, 2011


Reading Rainbow which ran for over 20 years was an educational show that strived to encourage kids to read books. For those unfamiliar with Reading Rainbow, it was originally hosted by LeVar Burton, a former cast member of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The PBS show launched in 1983 and ran until November of 2006 to many children’s delight. However, PBS was forced to shut down the show in 2006 due to the network’s financial problems.

But all is not lost in Reading Rainbow land. Back in March of 2010, Burton tweeted that “Reading Rainbow 2.0 is in the works,” and is seems we now know what Burton had cooking up. Burton will be bringing it back, but this time, it’ll be on iPad screens instead of TV screens. The Reading Rainbow iPad app will be launched by Burton’s for-profit business, RRKidz.

The app will feature voice-over-enhanced children’s books, videos of Burton in actual places (like NASA stations!), and games. Burton said he’s “on a mission go to get kids hooked on books.” The app’s digital library will feature 300 books at launch and will include voice-overs and animations in addition to the games and videos.

Three-hundred books sounds like a lot, but Burton said that RRKidz has a technology at its disposal that lets it enhance a PDF children’s book with multimedia content in just a few hours. There aren’t very many details on this technology yet, but it apparently will allow people to digitally enhance enough content to add several books each month after launch.

The iPad app will be subscription based, and users will have to renew each month as more and more titles are added.

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