Reading Rainbow Gets App-i-fied

column | Language Arts

Reading Rainbow Gets App-i-fied

Mar 30, 2014

TAKE A LOOK, IN A BOOK: Or, you could just look on the App Store. Why? Because LeVar Burton, former Starship Enterprise engineer/host of Reading Rainbow, is jazzed about the Reading Rainbow App. Burton reports that kids are reading "about 137,000 books a week on the app." For a $9.99/month subscription fee, the app provides kids with access to hundreds of full-length books and video field trip features LeVar as tour guide.

In an interview with EdSurge, Burton expressed his frustration over the literacy gap ("Only 31% of our 4th graders are grade-level proficient in reading," he says) and his desire to faithfully translate the television show into app form:

"We've stayed true to the essence of what Reading Rainbow is all about. We do our best to provide inspiration to teachers to become lifelong leaders, and how we address the literacy gap."

But why the transition from the screen to the tablet? Burton insists that "television is a great visual medium," but that "it is only one of a long line of technologies that we have used to tell stories to one another. If you want to reach kids, you have to move to a tablet device." He adds: "I'm the chief engineer of the Starship Enterprise--I love technology!"

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