We’re not even 48 hours into LeVar Burton’s Reading Rainbow Kickstarter campaign and it has already raised $2 million dollars. The original goal was set at 1 million dollars. To give you an idea of the pace that Reading Rainbow is on, Kicktraq has the project trending towards raising $35 million dollars. While the team won’t be able to keep up this pace, I am confident they will be able to beat out The Pebble watch which raised $10 million back in 2012.
Reading Rainbow was a TV show that aired on PBS from 1983 -2006 that encouraged children to improve their reading. The show, which received over 200 awards during its air time, featured a theme in each episode centered around a book. Episodes also featured a celebrity who would narrate a book to the audience.
After the show ended in 2006, and reruns in 2009, Burton launched a Reading Rainbow iPad app which debuted in 2012. Within 36 hours of it’s launch, it reached #1 in the App Store rankings for educational apps.
Why Reading Rainbow Needs Money
Since there is still so much demand for the popular children’s show, Burton wants to revolutionize the Reading Rainbow material for todays technology focuses kids. While 30 minute programming was the key medium during it’s long run, Burton is working to digitize all the content Reading Rainbow possess, and provide it for classrooms – for free.
Still extremely passionate about his mission to help kids learn to read, this campaign is unlike any other. Burton brings the star power and present fan base that is only seen in the movie campaign like Veronica Mars, Zach Braff movie, and Spike Lee movie.
However, what sets Burton and this campaign apart from the previously mentioned campaigns is the emotional pull. Burton is still fighting childhood illiteracy 31 years after the debut of Reading Rainbow. He’s not only touched the lives of thousands, if not millions of kids, but also invites you to be apart of the fight.
Here’s an excerpt from the online community interview (Ask Me Anything) Burton held on Reddit by user YayTheRedHead:
As a child, I struggled with reading. Watching all of my peers around me excel in what looked like such a simple task for them was so difficult for me, but no matter what I tried, letters just didn’t fit together in a way that made sense for me. I loved books – the way they smelled, the way it felt to open up a brand new cover, and how the crisp pages sounded with every turn – but they were this awful labyrinth of impossibly jumbled letters that I had no way to navigate myself. Struggling so much to read my own books, it’s no wonder that Reading Rainbow was my favorite TV show. I loved watching the books brought to life and the descriptions of the stories continually pushed me to try to learn so that I didn’t just have to “take your word for it”.
Clearly if there is one thing to take away from this campaign, it’s this:
Burton had tons of outpouring comments thanking him for all the work his TV show for them when they were kids. You can genuinely feel the passion on both ends of the conversation. You can read the entire AMA here.
So, will he break the Kickstarter record of $10 million? I believe he will break the record and raise just under $13 million. He possesses the most lethal combination for a crowdfunding campaign, star power + present fan base + emotional project = record breaking campaign.
In the time it took me to write this article, Reading Rainbow raised $45,000.