Reading Rainbow Coming To Consoles?
For the past couple of days, LeVar Burton and the rest of the Reading Rainbow team have had a Kickstarter set up and then fully funded in a matter of hours. This is very impressive and says a great deal about the rather large concern children literacy. Not to mention, it feels as if more could have been done so much sooner in this day and age where the internet and games are just about everywhere...and yet little is being done to help children maintain an interest in reading and learning, to help foster that spark of discovery.
Another group that could benefit from the app being everywhere:
The Literacy Council. Allow me to explain. One of my grandmothers had worked some years at the Jackson County Literacy Council and there they helped many adults that were illiterate and looking to them for help in learning to read and write. But not everyone can go to these places or even know to look for them for aid. These places would be in need of some more help in fostering that love of reading as well. It isn't just children that may not get to understand the joy of reading or never got the chance to find out.
So what is this Kickstarter for? What do consoles have to do with this?
Currently, the Reading Rainbow tablet app is free and comes with a huge library of books and video field trips. The Reading Rainbow app needs help to get to children in more ways than just an e-reader. The team says that they want to be everywhere that children are and that includes the internet and gaming consoles as well as phone and android.
In this day and age, the internet is the lifeblood of many of us, so what would happen if gaming consoles were given this app? I can see that parents would have an easier time allowing their children to spend time on the consoles, yet not have to worry so much about the games they play if they are more interested in Reading Rainbow and have fun learning.
Of course games are fun, but these days not all parents know what their children are playing or may not have too much of a worry, that is until they find out just what is out there that their children have found. The lack of good games for children is also worrisome. It is my hope that this gives them more power and insight to what their children can have that they can take with them the rest of their lives. To have something they can use with their children and have as a way to spend time with them, whatever they may be doing online.
My ideas of what I'd like to see here
Personally, I'd really love to see them branch out a bit when coming to consoles. Would it be a good idea, or even possible, to also have a library of child-friendly games and interactive stories listed on the app that the RR team has looked over and decided fit with their ideas on how to get children interested in reading again? I'm sure some game developers, especially indies that want a larger reach for their games for a younger crowd. Maybe the team will have some of their own as well, that would be interesting.
So how is this kickstarter doing?
I'd say the amount of money that poured right in for the first couple of days says a lot. They had originally asked for one million dollars to get the app out to more schools for free and have some personalized material to aid teachers in their lessons. But what the RR team received in less than two days was well over three million dollars and still going!
They have their first stretch goal listed as being five million dollars to get the app out further onto the internet, phones, android, and gaming consoles ( as well as wanting to add foreign books to the ever-growing library! ). The Kickstarter has thirty-one more days to go, so there is plenty of time to still to reach that goal. I wish them all of the luck in the world and know that no matter what happens, they still have quite a bit of money to get their plans rolling. If the stretch goal isn't completed, that doesn't mean that they won't be able to reach consoles at a later date if not right away!
The Reading Rainbow team is watching the comments on their Kickstarter page, so any thoughts, ideas, or questions you may have may be answered there. Not quite sure just yet on how they plan to have it on gaming consoles but it is worth mentioning that it is their 5 million stretch goal. I hope we get to hear what they have in mind for it soon and if they are looking for more thoughts and ideas of the subject.
So this is nice and all, but why is this so important that so many have poured out their hearts and given money towards this?
Reading Rainbow used to be a television show on PBS (Public Broadcasting Station) and stayed for many years until it was cancelled in 2006 and stopped airing reruns in 2009. In the time that it aired, many, many children were given that window to the world of reading. Now, with everything being online, this is where the team wishes to go and believes will get seen by more children. With the internet always in need of more places for children to safely enjoy without the worry of their parents from finding anything else that could be a danger to them online, I can see how powerful a tool RR can be.
I used to be one of those children back in the day that watched Reading Rainbow when it was still on TV and absolutely loved it! It was a very big part of my young life that got me interested in reading and still reading and writing to this very day. I'm proud to see what RR has become in the years since I stopped watching it and hope that many more children will see in it what I, and many others, have.
If you would like more information, check the links below!