- 20 Seasons
Reading Rainbow was an award-winning children's educational television series that originally aired from June of 1983 through November of 2006. Produced by Public Television, the series starred veteran actor LeVar Burton, who served as host to introduce each segment of the show. Every episode spotlighted a particular theme as it pertained to real life, similar to a field trip. For example, a show might portray an 1820's living history museum, and the theme of the episode would then feature historical children's fiction and nonfiction about that era. Another segment featured a children's book reading, narrated by a celebrity and typically presented with animated illustrations. The goal of Reading Rainbow was to encourage a love of reading and reading comprehension. The final segment of the show Reading Rainbow was focused on book reviews. In this brief component, children offered personal summaries with an opinion on how they felt about the book they were recommending. Similar to an oral book report, Reading Rainbow reviews explained the plot to the audience in the presenting child's own language instead of using a script. Children of many different ages and backgrounds were filmed for this segment, which always began with host Burton's introduction of the theme and the words "but you don't have to take my word for it." This was to encourage viewers to find out for themselves at the library. Though designed to appeal to elementary-age children, Reading Rainbow was entertainment in which even adults found enjoyment. Due to its quality, the show won an astounding twenty-six Emmys, a Peabody, and countless other broadcast awards. The formula the producers used was perfect for the series: Episode themes were neatly presented and engaging, while celebrity presentation of the featured story gave the feel of an intimate story reading. Book reviews were honest, brief, and at times amusing, and every episode ended with the encouragement of host LeVar Burton enthusiastically stating, "I'll see you next time!"