About this project
A version of our video with CLOSED CAPTIONS is available here.
Jul 1 - FINAL ADD-ON REWARDS IN UPDATE 26: For our final 24 hours, we've added limited edition DODOcases, Picnic Blankets, downloadable episodes of the original series and a live online event with Donald Glover & LeVar... from a boat!
Jun 27 - MORE HUGE NEWS IN UPDATE 22: We've entered the Top 5 Kickstarter Projects... and the other four (Pebble, OUYA, Pono, Veronica Mars) have ALL offered special new rewards to help us get into more schools! Read more now!
Important updates, in case you missed them:
STRETCH GOALS #1: What we can do if we reach $5,000,000!
- T-SHIRT DESIGNS: Three limited-edition designs to choose from!
- ADD-ON REWARDS: Instructions for adding more rewards!
- ORIGINAL DVDs: Now available as reward add-ons!
Hi. LeVar Burton here. You may know me as Kunta Kinte, from ROOTS, or Geordi La Forge, from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
You also may have grown up with me on Reading Rainbow.
It was my mother who taught me that, by picking up a book, I could "go anywhere" and "be anything." Ever since Reading Rainbow began in 1983, I have dedicated myself to fostering a love of reading in children, just as my mother did for me.
Over the past year, I have watched Kickstarter bring communities together to support artists and inventors. Again and again, I have been inspired by watching like-minded people team up to accomplish impossible dreams, and to change the world.
Now, I am hoping you will join me on my mission: to bring Reading Rainbow back for every child, everywhere.
Together, we can change the lives of millions of children. But you don't have to take my word for it: just keep reading!
I believe that every child has a right, and a need, to be literate. We have a responsibility to prepare our children… and right now, the numbers show that we, as a society, are failing in that responsibility.
And here’s the problem:
And: numerous studies reveal that children who can't read at grade level by the 4th grade are 400% more likely to drop out of high school.
And: as of 2011, America was the only free-market country where the current generation was less well educated than the one before.
These problems won't solve themselves. Real change will require us all to work together. We cannot afford to lose generations of children to illiteracy. And if we work together, we don't have to.
Through Reading Rainbow, we've been working to solve these problems for over three decades. Starting in 1983, Reading Rainbow successfully used television to turn generations of kids into lifelong readers... with great results.
Of course, when Reading Rainbow began in 1983, we were using television to bring books to kids, meeting them where they wanted to be. In 2014, TV is not that place anymore. Now, we’re trying to reach a new generation of digital natives.
That’s why, two years ago, I launched the Reading Rainbow App for tablets. Building on the basics of the television series, we put hundreds of quality books – and educational video field trips – right in a child’s hands.
The response has been encouraging:
But despite this progress, there are big challenges left to face.
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, on mobile devices, on game consoles and on connected televisions.
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 with your help, we'll provide it to thousands of disadvantaged classrooms for FREE.
Every Home. Reading Rainbow’s digital collection already contains hundreds of books and video field trips… but with your help, we’ll be able to make the Reading Rainbow library available on more of the devices modern kids use to consume content. Now that we've met our initial goal of $1,000,000, we will be able to launch a new version of Reading Rainbow on the single most-used digital platform: the web. And now that we've reached our stretch goal of$5,000,000, we'll also be able to bring the service to mobile phones, Android, game consoles like XBOX and PlayStation, and set-top boxes like AppleTV and ROKU.
Every Classroom. Together, we want to provide Reading Rainbow to as many classrooms as possible FOR FREE! Now that we've reached our stretch goal of $5,000,000, we'll be able to provide year-long subscriptions in over 7,500 classrooms – and every additional $100K we raise lets us help 500 more!
No matter how much we raise, we promise that every dollar you pledge will bring Reading Rainbow to more platforms, and provide it for free in more classrooms.
We can make sure that millions of kids learn to love reading, but we can’t do it without you. That's why I hope you’ll join me in making a difference!
I believe that spreading the love of reading is its own greatest reward. But if you're going to join our cause, we also have some wonderful prizes. But you don't have to take my word for it... Take a look!
Aside from the signed book, the rewards above will be available to anyone who pledges!
But we also have several LIMITED EDITION rewards... so be sure to get them before we run out! (And if we DO run out, keep checking back -- we'll do our best to add more when we can!)
Or, if you prefer, you can also pledge for a reward package that will be gifted to the classroom or school of your choice!
And, if you're just interested in Star Trek related rewards, and don't want all of the Reading Rainbow goodies above, we've also got a few special reward levels created just for you:
This Kickstarter – and Reading Rainbow – couldn't happen alone, so I want you to meet the full team behind our Kickstarter.
Everytime I walk into the office, I am reminded that the Reading Rainbow team is made up of passionate, talented artists, producers, engineers, and so many more. Most of them grew up on the show, have families of their own now, and dedicate their working day to improving the lives of the next generation.
It's an honor to be surrounded by my Reading Rainbow family every day, and we can't wait for you to join us. And if you do, you'll be hearing from several of us throughout the campaign, and after that, in our backer updates. Click on the picture below to learn more about us!
Risks and challenges
The real risks and challenges we face don't lie in completing this project, but in the problems that we'll face without it.
If we raise our minimum funding goal, we do not anticipate ANY significant challenges or risks in completing the project.
As with all Kickstarter projects, there is always a risk of delay in delivering some of the rewards, but we've been careful to give ourselves MORE time than we think we'll need – so we hope we'll have some, or all, of the rewards out SOONER than listed.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
When this campaign reaches the minimum funding goal of $1,000,000, we will be able to:
1. Build a new version of the existing Reading Rainbow app, designed specifically for classrooms and teachers.
2. Make the existing (home) and new (classroom) versions of Reading Rainbow accessible on the web.
3. Provide free year-long subscriptions to the full Reading Rainbow library to AT LEAST 1,500 classrooms.
That’s a great question — especially since, together, we reached the $1,000,000 minimum funding target on the FIRST DAY of the campaign! Now that we have, we’ve announced a new STRETCH GOAL of $5,000,000, which will let us accomplish two more BIG GOALS.
1. MORE PLATFORMS. As of now, we’ll be able to deliver Reading Rainbow across selected tablets (iPad, Kindle Fire) and on the web. When we hit our next goal, we’ll be able to expand to more new platforms — including mobile phones, Android devices, and selected game consoles and set-top boxes.
2. MORE CLASSROOMS. Right now, we’ll be able to provide at least a year of FREE ACCESS to the FULL READING RAINBOW LIBRARY, to over 1,500 classrooms that can’t afford it. When we hit our next goal, we’ll be able to provide it for free in an additional 6,000 classrooms, for a total of AT LEAST 7,500 CLASSROOMS!
And no matter how much the Kickstarter raises, ALL of the money will be spent on the same two goals: making Reading Rainbow accessible EVERYWHERE (on as many platforms and devices as possible), and to EVERY CHILD (by providing free subscriptions to US/Canadian classrooms that can’t afford it).
More money raised? More classrooms helped. It’s as simple as that.
Absolutely! If you want to volunteer your time, effort and talent, we'd be thrilled (and honored) to have you help out. Just go to our VOLUNTEER FORM (http://bit.ly/RR-Volunteer) and provide some basic details, and our team will follow up with you. :D
REWARDS - I don’t need the free subscription. Can I give it to another child, or donate it to families in need?
YES! If you don’t want or need your free subscription to Reading Rainbow, you’ll be able to give it to another child in your life, or apply your subscription toward helping a classroom in need. It won’t go to waste!
REWARDS - What if I don’t want some/all of the rewards? Can you just use the money to help more classrooms?
YES! If you don’t want some (or all) of the rewards, we will use the funds to help provide more classrooms with free access. Here’s how it works.
IF YOU DON’T WANT ANY OF THE REWARDS:
1. If you haven’t pledged, click the green button at the top of this page that says “BACK THIS PROJECT.” Or, if you have pledged, click on the blue button at the top of this page that says “MANAGE YOUR PLEDGE.”
2. On the next page, make sure you’ve entered the amount you wish to pledge at the top. Then, select the top package (“No reward”), or the $5 reward package (to be thanked on our website).
3. Click the green button at the bottom of the page that says “CONTINUE TO NEXT STEP.”
4. Make sure the pledge says “No Reward” or “Reward: $5”, and click the blue CONFIRM button.
IF YOU DON’T WANT SOME OF THE REWARDS:
You don’t have to do anything until the campaign is over. Once it ends, we’ll contact you to get more details about your reward preferences, and details such as shirt sizes and shipping addresses. When we do, you’ll be able to choose whether you want each of your rewards, or prefer that we donate that part of your pledge to supporting more classrooms!
As long as your pledge level includes the rewards, you don’t have to do ANYTHING until the campaign is over. Once it ends, we’ll contact you to get more details about your reward selections, and details such as shirt sizes and shipping addresses. You’ll be able to tell us which rewards you want!
Absolutely! In the PICK 2 and PICK 3 reward packages, you can choose whichever items you want. Just want t-shirts? No problem. Want 2 mugs and a tote bag? You’re in charge. Once our Kickstarter campaign ends, we’ll contact you to get more details about your reward selections, and details such as shirt sizes and shipping addresses. When we do, you’ll be able to tell us which rewards you want!
YES! If you would like to pledge for MULTIPLE REWARD PACKAGES, the easiest solution is to set up multiple Kickstarter accounts. You’ll need a different email address for each account, but all of them can link to the same Amazon account to make payments.
However, if you decide to do this, PLEASE don’t forget to check the other email account once the campaign ends, so that we’ll be able to reach you, and to get the information we need to fulfill and deliver your rewards! (If you don’t check the other email account often, we suggest setting it to auto-forward to an account you DO use.)
We’re pretty excited: we’ve got some fun, exclusive designs that will ONLY be available through this Kickstarter campaign, including both vintage and new designs!
We've now shared the designs for the t-shirts: you can see all three exclusive designs in Backer Update #7 (http://bit.ly/RRshirts)!
We're still finalizing the options for COFFEE MUGS, TOTE BAGS, BUMPER STICKERS and FRIDGE MAGNETS, so keep checking back to find out about those!
(Also: it's possible that there might be small changes to the designs between now and when we manufacture and send them, but we'll always keep you informed so you know what to expect!)
SIZES: We'll definitely have shirts in sizes from S - XXL, as well as childrens' sizes. We're hoping to offer XS and 3XL, and will know more about that soon.
COLORS: Shirts will be offered in multiple colors. We'll provide more details on that before the campaign ends, but it won't JUST be plain white tees!
STYLES: We’re not sure yet whether we’ll be offering UNISEX shirts or separate MENS and LADIES styles. If you have a strong preference, let us know in the comments!
You can find out more about the EXCLUSIVE T-SHIRTS in Update #7: http://bit.ly/RRshirts
If your rewards include a free subscription, they will NOT expire — so if you want to save them for a year or two until your children are the right age for Reading Rainbow, you can!
KICKSTARTER - What about families or classrooms that don’t have computers or web access? You should also be on... MOBILE PHONES / ANDROID / XBOX / PLAYSTATION!
We agree! Even being on the web won’t ensure that we’re accessible to ALL children — which is why, when we passed our initial $1 million goal, we announced a STRETCH GOAL.
If we’re able to reach $5,000,000 before July 2, we will also bring the Reading Rainbow app to: mobile phones, Android devices, selected game consoles (e.g. XBOX, Playstation) and some popular set-top boxes (e.g. Apple TV, Roku).
If there are platforms that will make us accessible to MANY more children, we’ll do our best to add them to the list. For our initial stretch goal, we’ve focused on the platforms that are available in the highest numbers of homes, but we know that there will always be more platforms worth considering. Our team will look into it!
Generally speaking, Kickstarter pledges aren’t tax-deductible. (This is one reason it’s called a PLEDGE instead of a DONATION.) Since Kickstarter projects offers reward packages in exchange for pledges, your pledge is considered to be a transaction, rather than a donation. But we hope that won’t keep you from getting involved -- even if you just pledge $5!
THE APP - Will a Reading Rainbow subscription work ACROSS ALL PLATFORMS, or will I need to different accounts (and subscriptions) for the WEB and APP versions?
YES! All Reading Rainbow subscriptions will work across ALL available platforms — tracking each child’s progress, books read and achievements. You’ll be able to use the same login on the web and in the tablet app — and, if we reach our next stretch goal, across all of the other platforms as well!
YES! The Reading Rainbow app and service WILL be available everywhere in the world, unless the countries themselves have regional restrictions. We have no plans to limit where Reading Rainbow can be accessed.
However, while this Kickstarter will help us ensure that Reading Rainbow is AVAILABLE everywhere, the funds raised in this Kickstarter campaign will be used to provide FREE ACCESS to classrooms in the United States and Canada.
If you live outside the United States or Canada and want to guarantee that a specific classroom or school get free access, consider the ADOPT A CLASSROOM or ADOPT A SCHOOL reward packages, which can be used to sponsor classrooms and schools anywhere in the world.
We would love to expand the reach of Reading Rainbow, and are exploring possibilities to add foreign language books into the Reading Rainbow app. As of now, we have no immediate plans to translate the application itself (i.e., the user interface) into non-English languages.
Like the original television series, we believe Reading Rainbow’s app and content are best suited for 3-9 year olds. (However, we find that many older children enjoy the app too!) This is also a difficult question, since reading level is not actually tied to AGE: many children between 3 and 9 read at, above and below grade level.
Of course it will. It never left.
LeVar will be hosting solo RRL events in Los Angeles, New York City and Toronto.
The RRL with PATRICK STEWART will take place in NEW YORK CITY.
Unless otherwise specified, ALL OTHER RRL events will take place in LOS ANGELES.
We will start figuring out the location and schedule for each Reading Rainbow Live! event as soon as the Kickstarter campaign has ended, but we expect ALL of the events to take place between August 2014 and June 2015. We’ll do our best to give you at least 60-90 days notice before the event, so that you have time to book travel and hotels, if needed.
We are hoping that all of LeVar’s friends and special guests will be able to participate in their Reading Rainbow Live! events as expected. If a scheduled guest is unable to participate for any reason, we will do our best to find a comparable replacement, and will keep you informed as soon as there are changes. But everyone is excited to participate, so we hope there won’t be any unforeseen changes!