Believe it or not, there was once a time where not all kids shows was about goofy characters singing songs in repetition. Surely, we had “Barney,” and “Bananas in Pajamas,” but we also had shows that taught, educated, and brought us an experience. Before Elmo took over, “Sesame Street” was a great parade of puppets and humans learning together. There was also “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood,” and “Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?” The best among them though was “Reading Rainbow.” After the heartbreaking cancellation of “Reading Rainbow” in 2009 by (the gradually right leaning) PBS Network in America, Levar Burton fought to bring the show back, and despite his difficulty the series still lived on through memories and the love by fans of all ages.
I’m quite elated to see that “Reading Rainbow” is on the verge of coming back in full force, and I’d love to see how Levar Burton takes his love child and adapts it to the digital world. We’re now in a digital age where the world skims through most of their reading, and information has to be delivered in small sentences. I love Tweeting, but it’s really stifled the sheer thrill of reading. I’ve heard too many people declare “I hate reading,” or “Reading is boring,” and variations of that sentence, and with pride. For a long time during the mid aughts, it was pretty chic to completely avoid reading.
Especially with hip hop stars endorsing the notion of avoiding reading books. I was very lazy as a child and didn’t read at all. During most of my time in school, I did everything I could to avoid reading. And then in high school I learned how cathartic it was to write, and began reading. One of the better methods to sharpening your writing is to read. Read everything. Read anything. And then hone your ability.
While I learned to love and appreciate writing, I began reading everything I could. I even worked in a library during high school, and would constantly check out books to read. I read and write more now than I ever did in school, and I love it. I find it shocking that many people even marvel at the fact that I read so much. I have a stack of books in my room I still have to read, and it’s tough to pick out what I want to get to first.
Often times I walk around with a book marked with my fingers, and whenever one of my cousins or nephews asks about what I’m reading or why I read, I can’t recommend it enough. I encourage them to read a lot, and to always pick up a book to look for information you’re interested in. I can’t get enough and I try to be a cheerleader for it.
Levar Burton approached his audience at eye level and treated the young viewers with enthusiasm, excitement, and made learning look like an adventure. It isn’t reading that was just so much fun, but learning about new things in our wide world is amazing. Wax figures for local museums? Want to know how trash is recycled? You could see Levar Burton explore the processes and then you could also go to the library to read more about it. And what was even more unique is that Mr. Burton seemed genuinely entertained by everything he picked up, and inspired his viewers to learn more.
Want to learn more? Go to the library! Get a library card. It’s fantastic! In this day and age there’s so much information at our fingertips, we can read whenever we want. We can access whole libraries with one click. There are some online book stores that allow readers to download whole volumes of digital books. Levar Burton had the right idea about reading, and still does. Reading can introduce you to a new world and broaden your mind. Whether you’re reading about castles, or boy wizards, or fixing your computer, reading can supply lasting information, and really expand your mind in to whole new dimensions.
Yes, I know I’m getting all preachy, but I really do love reading. And it’s mainly because “Reading Rainbow” and Levar Burton made it look like so much fun. And it really is.