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[[caption-width-right:350:"Take a look, it's in a book..."]]

->''"I think reading is part of the birthright of the human being."''
-->-- '''Creator/LeVarBurton''', actor and children's literacy advocate.

American children's EdutainmentShow that aired on Creator/{{PBS}} from 1983-2009[[note]]The last new episode was made in 2006.[[/note]], and whose goal was simple encourage children to read. It was hosted by co-creator Creator/LeVarBurton (yes, ''that'' [[Series/{{Roots}} Le]][[WesternAnimation/CaptainPlanetAndThePlaneteers Var]] [[Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration Burton]]).

Each episode featured a children's story, usually narrated by a [[SesameStreetCred celebrity]], that focused on a specific theme (i.e., the importance of teamwork or learning about dinosaurs). The show would explore the theme further through various segments, live-action and animated. The last segment of the show would feature children providing recommendations of other books to look for at the library, preceded by [=LeVar=] saying "But you don't have to take my word for it." Every show ended with "I'll/We'll see you next time."

This show was part of PBS' "triple crown" of children's programming in TheEighties and TheNineties, along with ''Series/SesameStreet'' and ''Series/MisterRogersNeighborhood''. It would be difficult indeed to find an American of a certain age who didn't watch this program at least occasionally, if not regularly. It's in the same sacrosanct category as Rogers rarely parodied (but if it is, it's always [[AffectionateParody the positive kind]]), and insulting it will cause [[FlameWar swift and nasty responses]].

''Rainbow'' won a Peabody Award and 26 Emmys, and ended its run as the third longest-running children's program in PBS history (behind the aforementioned ''Sesame Street'' and ''Mister Rogers' Neighborhood'').

Five years after the show ended, Reading Rainbow has since been making a comeback as an internet-based outreach project. The project was started in 2012 with the goal of making Reading Rainbow content available on the iPad to everyone in the world. But as it progressed, feedback came in asking for the app to be available to more than just the iPad, and their ambitions grew, and the existing funding method of an optional low monthly fee for premium content proved to be insufficient (since said fee was already being used for funding the server space and content royalty). A Website/{{Kickstarter}} [[https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/readingrainbow/bring-reading-rainbow-back-for-every-child-everywh campaign]] for the project was started, and it reached its $1,000,000 goal ''[[SugarWiki/AwesomeMoments before the first day was finished]]''. As you can imagine, [[https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/readingrainbow/bring-reading-rainbow-back-for-every-child-everywh/posts/858121 Burton is overwhelmed by this support]]. In all, the project received over $5.4 million in donations and set a record for [[http://www.latimes.com/books/jacketcopy/la-et-jc-reading-rainbow-the-most-popular-kickstarter-ever-20140702-story.html most individual backers]] for a Kickstarter campaign.

Reading Rainbow has a Youtube Page. You could get your Reading Rainbow fix [[https://www.youtube.com/user/readingrainbow/featured here]], however at this time almost all content has been removed and the future of the above-discussed efforts is in flux due to [[http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/reading-rainbow-owner-accuses-levar-burton-theft-extortion-lawsuit-1027372 an ongoing lawsuit]] by producer/PBS station [=WNED=] alleging that Burton is capitalizing on the show's name, having hosted the show but not actually owning the rights to it ([=LeVar=] had thought that he had bought out the entire franchise, which turned out to be incorrect). In October 2017, however, [=WNED=] announced on the show's [[http://www.readingrainbow.com official website]] that "Recent legal disputes between WNED and [=LeVar=] Burton/RRKIDZ have been resolved and RRKIDZ no longer licenses the ''Reading Rainbow'' brand from WNED. WNED is currently working on the next chapter of ''Reading Rainbow'' and will continue its mission of fostering education for a new generation." Time will tell whether InternetBackdraft will have any effect on this reboot, as [=WNED=] did ruffle the feathers of a number of fans of [=LeVar=]'s.

!!This show provides examples of:

* AnimatedCreditsOpening: Used until 1999.
* AffectionateParody: One of them was produced by [[http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/c61f805aa7/reading-rainbow-s-new-theme-song-with-levar-burton Funny Or Die]], starring [=LeVar=] himself, showing the problems of taking the theme song's "I can do anything" too literally.
* BirthdayEpisode: "Miss Nelson Is Back", in which [=LeVar=] celebrates his birthday by being made up to look like a movie monster and being the star of famed magician Harry Blackstone's trademark bow sawing illusion. The episode ends with his SurpriseParty held in a bookstore, though given that the entire thing is an episode of ''Reading Rainbow'', it's likely it actually ''wasn't'' a surprise to him in real life.
* CatchPhrase: Three of them.
** "Hi!" (each episode begins with [=LeVar=] saying this word.)
** "But you don't have to take my word for it..."
** "I'll/We'll see you next time."
** "Today's Reading Rainbow books are...."
* ChromaKey: [=LeVar=] explains the technique in a 1991 episode about optical illusions.
** He does it again when discussing the special effects behind ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration''.
* ClipArtAnimation: Utilized [[OncePerEpisode one book per episode]].
* {{Crossover}}: The episode "The Bionic Bunny Show" took us behind the scenes of ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' [[note]]on which [=LeVar=] Burton, of course, played Geordi [=LaForge=][[/note]]. Notably, it included the only official HilariousOuttakes of TNG released for over a decade. TNG later completed the crossover by including this episode of ''Reading Rainbow'' as a bonus feature on the Blu-Ray of the second season.
* EdutainmentShow: One of the all-time greats; a TV show encouraging kids to read is not as hypocritical as it may sound.
* EverythingsBetterWithRainbows: Well, it would've been pretty lame to have a show just called ''Reading'', wouldn't it?
* ExcitedKidsShowHost: [=LeVar=] is Type 3 (informative, rarely condescending, not wacky/zany, speaks to children like adults).
* GoodAngelBadAngel: In the show's take on ''The Tortoise and the Hare'', this happens to [=LeVar=] as he struggles to pedal a bike up a hill in a race. The angel on the left wearing all white waves pom-poms and encourages him not give up and keep trying. The devil on the right, dressed in black and floating on a cloud of red, tells him to stop and smell the flowers and relax. When [=LeVar=] rejects this idea, the angel gives a cheer of "L-E-V-A-R, pedal that bike and we'll go far!" The devil doesn't give up, though, telling him that by the time he gets up the hill, everyone else will have crossed the finish line. [=LeVar=] rejects that too, saying that even if he loses, he'll feel like a winner for trying. The two later make a brief reappearance as [=LeVar=] trains on an obstacle course. Once again, [=LeVar=] listens to the angel. At the end, when [=LeVar=] finishes the race, the angel tells him that he knew he could do it.
* GreenAesop: The episode "Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message" has one about appreciating nature and taking care of the Earth. In fact, many of the episodes featured books of an environmental nature, with the other material in the episode based around it.
* LongRunners: Spent 26 years on the air before budget cuts killed it in 2009. Funnily enough, ''Reading Rainbow'' outlived ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' by a few years (when you factor in the movies). In 2012, the show came back as an Internet project.
* LosingYourHead: A pair of floating heads startle [=LeVar=] in one episode.
* PieInTheFace: In "Ludlow Laughs," [=LeVar=] is given a "comedy makeover." The pie-in-the-face is part of his routine.
* {{Pilot}}: "Gila Monsters Meet You at the Airport", which was shot in 1981, aired as the 8th episode of season 1 in 1983. It featured a completely different credit for a clean-shaved, younger-looking [=LeVar=], and a slightly different 3-note jingle for the book recommendation segment. Not to mention the videotape quality looks noticeably poorer in this episode, in contrast to the rest of season 1.
%%* {{Portal Book}}s
* ReadingIsCoolAesop: The entire point of the show.
* RogerRabbitEffect: Used in the classic intro, although not to the same extent as others.
* SesameStreetCred: Many. Celebrity narrators ranged from Creator/BillCosby to Wrestling/HulkHogan.
** Notably, the entire cast of ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' was featured in a 1988 episode that followed ''TNG'' behind the scenes...including a [[HilariousOuttakes gag reel]].
* TakeOurWordForIt: As the catchphrase indicates, averted.
* TitleSequenceReplacement: To the dismay of fans who know and love the original, trippy intro.
* TransAtlanticEquivalent: Long running BBC show ''Series/{{Jackanory}}'' which began in 1965 offered virtually the same format to British children.
* {{Uncancelled}}: For a certain value of uncancelled. The brand was relaunched as an Internet outreach project in 2012 with an iPad app, but thanks to the success of the Kickstarter campaign in 2014, the app was ported to other platforms (including web-browser-based), underfunded classrooms were given free access to all the content in the app, and [=LeVar=] even has the budget to film new segments for the project.
* VoiceClipSong: [[http://youtu.be/-FD1K8OvVCs In your Imagination]].

->''"We'll see you next time."''