[[quoteright:329:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Readingrainbow_logo.JPG]]
[[caption-width-right:329:"Take a look, it's in a book..."]]

->''"I think reading is part of the birthright of the human being."''
-->--'''[=LeVar Burton=]''', actor and children's literacy advocate.

American children's EdutainmentShow that aired on Creator/{{PBS}} from 1983-2009, 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 DudeNotFunny 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'').

Reading Rainbow is making a comeback as an internet-based outreach project. A Website/{{Kickstarter}} [[https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/readingrainbow/bring-reading-rainbow-back-for-every-child-everywh project]], for the campaign reached its $1,000,000 goal ''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 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.

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!!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.
* 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."
* ChromaKey: [=LeVar=] explains the technique in a 1991 episode about optical illusions.
* 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).
* 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).
* LosingYourHead: A pair of floating heads startle [=LeVar=] in one episode.
* OutOfOrder: Two season 4 episodes that aired in 1986, "Animal Cafe" and "Watch the Stars Come Out", were actually shot during season 3 in 1985. The tell-tale signs are the style of end credits, and [=LeVar=] sporting a mustache and afro (he was clean-shaved and sporting a flat-top in all the episodes that ''were'' shot in 1986).
* {{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: Obviously.
* ReadingIsCoolAesop
* RogerRabbitEffect: Used in the classic intro, although not to the same extent as others.
* SesameStreetCred: Many. Celebrity narrators ranged from Bill Cosby to Hulk Hogan.
** 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.
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->''We'll see you next time.''