Thursday, September 10, 2009

No More "Reading Rainbow"?

I don't watch much PBS Kids programming these days (outside of a Teletubbies phase in college) but the myriad of those shows theme songs are embedded in my brain. Think of any of the shows (Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood et al) and you think but my favorite has to be Reading Rainbow. Just the mere mention of Reading Rainbow and I'll immediately start humming it in my head, soon I'll be singing it out loud.

I guess I'm not alone. This video has over 1.1 million views.

As host of the Reading Rainbow, LeVar Burton of Kunta Kinte in Roots & cool ass visor wearing Star Trek: The Next Generation fame contributed heavily to anti-illiteracy campaign in youths of America. For that, and the upper case V in the middle of his name, I will never forget him and since this may be seen as sarcasm, it's not, I'm dead serious.

I don't remember specific segments of the show but I do know how to read. I still love to as I try to prove somewhat with this blog despite the terribly infrequent updates. I can't give LeVar and his cronies all the credit but they deserve some.

That's why it was a sad day when I flipped to the back page of this week's New York Magazine back page "Approval Matrix" that said "Reading Rainbow is ending after 26 years on the air." According to Wikipedia, the show has been close to perishing a few times but still survived as an icon and a cornerstone of children's educational programming along with the legendary Sesame Street.

One day Sesame Street will go off the air with infinitely more fanfare then Rainbow. It will be celebrated like Michael Jackson's death, something they haven't seen in years but are emotionally distraught when it is memorialized. The Sesame Street funeral will have a few more costumed character's along with puppets giving eulogies. There will be huge spreads on all the major news sites and newspapers (if they still exist). People will hold giant signs of Big Bird in the street singing the theme song in a chorus. The show will of course still live on on DVD and on the net. Despite Sesame Street's looming Reading Rainbow deserves to be commended & remembered for its intentions and lives that it enriched.

So as Reading Rainbow as it signs off into the sunset, hum the theme song and honor the show the best way you can, read a book. Remember the mental epiphany of when you just started reading, and continue to enrich your mind. I know I will. The show may be dead but books are alive & kicking.

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