“Reading Rainbow” Cancelled
It’s the end of a 26-year story. According to NPR, Children’s show Reading Rainbow has been cancelled. The winner of more than two-dozen Emmys, it is the third longest-running children’s show in PBS history — beat out only by Sesame Street and Mister Rogers. We can all remember the theme song:
“Butterfly in the sky, I can go twice as high,
Take a look, it’s in a book — reading raaaaaaaainbow!”
The show’s contract has expired, and neither PBS nor Reading Rainbow’s home station, WNED Buffalo, will pay the several hundred thousand dollars required to renew the show’s broadcast rights. John Grant, who is in charge of contact at WNED Buffalo, says that the decision to end the show stems from funding difficulties, but also a shift in the philosophy of educational television programming. The Department of Education under the Bush administration wanted to focus on things like phonics and spelling – actually teaching kids to read.
Reading Rainbow was more about teaching the love of reading. It featured a children’s book in each episode that inspired an adventure with the show’s host, actor LeVar Burton. After his trademark line “But you don’t have to take my word for it,” kids would give their own reviews of the book.
As a kid who rented out as many books as the library would let me, I probably owe a little bit to LeVar and his butterflies…