From 1983 to 2006, Roots and Star Trek: The Next Generation actor LeVar Burton showed legions of elementary school-age kids the joys of reading with Reading Rainbow. Now Burton is using Kickstarter to try and bring Reading Rainbow into the future. After the success of an iPad app they launched in 2012, Burton and his team want to create a fully interactive Rainbow online, with free subscriptions going to classrooms all over the world.
After raising $1,000,000 in a day, with the usual Kickstarter lure of T-shirts, tote bags, and signed books, Burton has now upped the ante, rounding up a number of his former Star Trek colleagues to reward top donors. Rewards now include four separate private readings by Burton’s fellow former Trek actors, who will read from classic children’s books and meet and greet those make top-tier contributions. The first of these events, “The Men of Star Trek,” includes Burton’s TNG costars Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, and Michael Dorn, plus Voyager’s Robert Picardo. The second, “The Women of Star Trek,” features TNG’s Marina Sirtis and Gates McFadden, plus Voyager’s Kate Mulgrew and Jeri Ryan. The third and fourth events are solo shows with Enterprise captains William Shatner and Patrick Stewart.
As of press time, the Kickstarter was already closing in on $4,000,000, and Trekkies worldwide are certain to keep pushing those numbers up. If you’ve ever wanted the chance to hear Worf growl out Goodnight Moon, or hear Patrick Stewart tell you to “make it so”—or you simply want Reading Rainbow to go back to celebrating the joys of reading—engage those wallets.
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