Monday, February 27, 2012

But you don't have to take my word for it

For many of us, just the first few beats of the Reading Rainbow out is enough to bring back fond memories of the long-running PBS children's' show that fostered a love of learning and reading.

For Reading Rainbow's entire run from 1983 to 2009, it boasted the same host, the imminently likable LeVar Burton. The world may know Burton as the actor who played the slave Kunta Kinte in the blockbuster TV miniseries Roots and Trekkers (or Trekkies) may know him as Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge in the Star Trek: The Next Generation TV series, but Reading Rainbow fans know him as the guy who always always said, "But you don't have to take my word for it," before segueing to book reviews from kids like ourselves.

(Want to revisit some of those Reading Rainbow book picks? We've got a fair number in our collection.)

The show may have gone off the air three years ago, but Burton's stayed busy with other TV-related projects. He also made an especially memorable cameo on the quirky NBC show "Community" last year, playing himself — much to the distress of a hilariously shell-shocked Troy Barnes, a character who has long adored Burton from afar.

Chatter around Burton has picked up in recent weeks due to news he's bringing Reading Rainbow back to the masses, only this time reconfigured for the digital age. As part of the effort, last month Burton successfully nabbed the @readingrainbow Twitter handle. On Burton's website RR Kidz, he reports that the show will be reincarnated as a book-related mobile app, ensuring that Reading Rainbow continues its mission of teaching kids that, just as the song says, they can go anywhere and be anything.

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