updated 06:11 pm EDT, Wed June 20, 2012
LeVar Burton on board for Reading Rainbow relaunch
Popular children's literacy program Reading Rainbow is returning to the screen in the form of an iPad app. Reading Rainbow, cancelled after 26 years on the air, was a casualty of cuts to government funding for public broadcasting; but the show has been revived due to the efforts of RRKidz, a startup co-founded by former host LeVar Burton and producer Mark Wolfe. Speaking with TechCrunch, Burton and Wolfe said users can expect the same focus on child literacy, but with an interactive flair that wasn't possible when the show was on television.
RRKidz teamed with a number of children's book publishers to bring interactive children's books to the iPad under the Reading Rainbow brand, which Burton and Wolfe believe still holds cachet with many of today's parents of young children, who likely grew up watching the show on television themselves.
The free version of the resulting app gives kids access to one book and one video -- done in the style of the old television show -- for each of the game's multiple floating islands. Users can pay a subscription fee of $10 per month for unlimited access to more books.
The app is available for free in the iTunes App Store. Burton and Wolfe claim that the new app is just a first step for RRKidz: the company will be continually adding new content to the app, as well as more educational apps with a wider focus than just reading.